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Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Interview with Glynis Guevara, Author of Under the Zaboca Tree

Author’s Bio:  Glynis Guevara was born in Trinidad. She completed a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree in London, England and was also admitted to the bar of England and Wales and Trinidad and Tobago. She moved to Toronto, Canada in the 1990’s and is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers Creative Writing Program. She also completed a Technical Communication certificate (George Brown College), an IT Diploma (DeVry), as well as a Teacher of Adults Certificate (Centennial College). Her YA manuscript Barrel Girl was a finalist for the Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Her debut YA novel, Under the Zaboca Tree was published by Inanna Publications in June 2017. Her second YA novel, Black Beach is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in the fall of 2018. 

What inspired you to write your book?
GG: Many years ago, after signing a contract to buy a townhouse in Toronto, I lost my job. I was extremely stressed about the possibility of losing my down payment. To deal with this challenging situation, I started to write. I wrote for many hours every day and couldn’t stop. I eventually took a writing course at Humber College. Even after I got a new job I continued writing. Under the Zaboca is the second manuscript I completed, and I am grateful to God for guiding me through this difficult time.  

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
GG: No, I don’t think my writing was influenced by any particular author or book, but some of the authors I admire include Elizabeth Nunez, Edwidge Danticat and Monique Roffey. I try to write the type of books that I longed to read as a youngster.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
GG: Under the Zaboca Tree is my first published novel. It took about a year to write the initial draft. I then put it aside and worked on several other projects. It is difficult to specify exactly how much time I spent on it. What I can say is that it took a bit more than ten years from the completion of the first draft to the June 2017 publication date.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
GG: I never write with an outline. I usually start with an idea and let it flow organically. Usually, my manuscripts end up totally different than I initially expected.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
GG: No, I don’t listen to music when I write. I prefer to write in complete silence, but when I’m at the editing stage I sometimes listen to music.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
GG: As a debut author, I am still in the learning process, trying to figure out the keys to success, but what I have learned so far is that firstly, you need to have a quality product. Having a presence online is also very important. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Being focused on who is your target audience and making contacts in the writing community is helpful.

What advice would you give to new authors?
GG: If you want to be a writer, you need to have a thick skin. Be open to constrictive criticism and don’t let disappointment deter you from your craft. Again, as a debut author, I am still open to advice from others on this topic.

How about sharing an excerpt from Under the Zaboca Tree?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve stared at the women who’ve walked past me and wondered if any of them could be my biological mother. The week after I turned ten—as I sat next to my dad eagerly awaiting our flight—the longing for my real mom was as strong as ever. That day, despite my excitement for the changes about to take place in my life, the green-eyed monster within me poked its head out as I glared at a tall, slender woman holding a young girl’s hand. I secretly wished I were that little girl with my mother’s hand clutching mine.
Suddenly, my father eased out of his seat and nudged me. I grabbed my carry-on bag, jumped to my feet, and stepped ahead of him. Dad and I were leaving the cold winters behind and heading to the tropics—sunny Trinidad and Tobago, to be exact. The thought that I’d soon be free to roam the streets all year long without a coat, woolly hat, and pairs of boots and gloves gripped me and, in my wild imagination, I felt thick beads of sweat trickle down my skin as I played and laughed and had fun with hordes of new friends I hadn’t yet met. My heart thumped loudly against my chest, so I pressed my sweaty palms against my thighs and tried to calm myself; instead a burst of energy overtook me, and I rushed even farther ahead.
“Baby Girl, wait,” my father said very softly, calling me by my pet name. Back then he hardly ever called me Melody. I spun around and, as Dad stepped toward me, I heard the babbling voice of a nearby infant. The baby’s mother’s eyes caught mine, and I saw her smile as she glided by me, the gurgling baby in her arms. I was instantly overcome by a sense of loss as I remembered the animal sounds my dad would make when he used to play with me. He’d bark like a dog and moo like a cow; he was especially good with his trumpeting elephant noises. The first time I heard him bark, I tried to imitate him. My bark didn’t sound as real, but in time—and with his coaching—I improved. Dad, however, stopped playing those games shortly before my stepmother, Charm, left us.
What’s next for you?
GG: My next project is to begin writing a sequel to Under the Zaboca Tree, and also to resume working on an unfinished manuscript tentatively called, Shady Lane that I started writing several years ago, but put aside due to ill health. I have four completed manuscripts still to be published. Inanna Publication will publish my YA novels, Black Beach in 2018 and Barrel Girl (Hopefully in 2019).

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.glynis.guevara.com
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorglynisguevara/
·         Twitter: @GlynisGuevara
·         Book buy Links:

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Review of Six Easy Pieces by Walter Mosley

Wow, if you are an avid Walter Mosley fan of the Easy Rawlings series then this book which is a collection of six short stories about Easy will leave you very fulfilled. For starters, you get a great snapshot of Easy and his family and friends who become key players in other novels and the backstory primes you for future adventures.

The major thing I enjoy about Mosley’s books is his love of colors and how the titles conjure up what’s to come. In Smoke, a fire breaks out at the school where Easy is the supervising senior head custodian and he has to figure out who is behind it. Here Easy’s investigative skills are at work, maneuvering the streets of L.A. and solving crimes. Mosley continues to thread the drama from one short story to another In Crimson Stain, Silver Lining, Lavender, Gator Green and Gray-Eyed Death.
Overall, this is an excellent read!

Some of my favorite lines:
            “I don’t know what he said, but I’m no criminal, and I haven’t been involved in any crimes,” I said. That wasn’t completely true, but it was close enough for Brown and I knew it. “It’s true that I’ve known some pretty bad men, women too. If you go out your door down here you’re likely to meet some bad folks, cain’t help that. But what your captain might have meant is that I used to be in the business of doing favors.”
            “What kind of favors?
            “People, black people, got all kinds of difficulties, you know that. A kid gets mixed up with the wrong crowd, a car goes missing. Calling the police, many times, just makes something bad that much worse. In that kinda situation I would come and give a little push. Nothing criminal. Nothing bad.”
            “Like an unlicensed private detective.”
            “Exactly like that. But you know I’ve been outta that business since coming to work at Truth.
            Brown smooth out one side of his mustache with a long slender finger while he peered into my eyes. “Okay,” he said at last. “All right. What can I do for you?”                I          
Rating: 5 stars

Monday, November 20, 2017

Interview with Charles Stokes, Author of Love Pain & Poetry

Author’s Bio: Charles Stokes is an avid writer and military veteran from Baltimore, MD who served as a paralegal in Iraq and Afghanistan. His time served at war and his interactions with others throughout his life have given him a deeper understanding of the human experience. In his free time, Stokes is a car enthusiast, appreciates sports, and target shooting. Love Pain and Poetry is his first book.

What inspired you to write your book?
CS: I don't know what inspired me. I was writing daily.  I’d written 50 poems in ten days. It was the most productive thing I'd done in eight months.  It eased the worries of depression and cleared my head.  The thoughts of a book came after allowing my brother to hear it.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
CS: No, honestly it was music if anything that got me writing. As far as writing poetry goes, there is Dr. Angelo, Tupac, and Langston Hughes. I really like their poetry however, I had been writing for years before actually reading any of their work.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
CS: This is my first book.  It took me three weeks to write. I had no training in writing poetry, but I worked through it and I used some older poetry in this book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?   
CS: Depends, I am currently working on eight books and two books have an outline.  

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
CS: Yes I do listen to music, but there’s no theme. It ranges from Drake or similar artists playing in the background.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
CS: I am too early in the game to comment on keys to success… but social media, book bloggers, radio, marketing and using a publicist is what I’d suggest.  I tried everything to include Amazon and Goodreads reads giveaways.  The most important thing is to have an organic following.  You build that by starting your own Blog, FB page, Twitter, Instagram and word of mouth. Try to impact everyone you meet. Sell yourself not your product.

What advice would you give to new authors? 
CS: Write it and worry about everything else later. Pay someone to format it.  Start writing the second book.

How about sharing an excerpt from Love, Pain & Poetry?
CS: I love excerpts so, here are two:

a.       Money can't buy me/I'm a cut above the rest/promise me with a diamond/show me in your last breath

b.      Love did prevail/despite your disgusting attacks/cleverly veiled at destroying me/I still love us/still love you/and still love the idea of we.

What’s next for you?
CS: I have already selected the poetry and developed a theme for book two and three. Book two will be further thoughts and reflections.  Book three will focus on situations in New York City with a heavy focus on Brooklyn.   

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 
·         Website: www.lovepainandpoetry.com
·         Facebook: @lovepainpoetry
·         Twitter: @lovepainpoetry
·         Blog: www.lovepainandpoetry.com and Writeforlife on apple news
·         Book buy Links: https://www.createspace.com/7288700

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Interview with Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, Author of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box – relationship advice that your father didn’t tell you and your mother didn’t know

Author’s Bio: Valerie J. Lewis Coleman serves women who struggle to experience a fulfilling relationship by revealing The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box to attract and keep lasting love. She helps women identify the four types of male hunters, avoid 70% of men who only want the goody box and win the heart of Mr. Right-For-You. With proven techniques to help you get off the crazy cycle of relational demise and advice from men women would be crazy to ignore, you, too, can become a man whisperer. Request your complimentary copy of Every Man's Private Marriage Check List at TheGoodyBoxBook.com. #TheGoodyBoxBook

What inspired you to write your book?
I was tiredand this next statement must sound familiarof making the same relationship mistakes over and over. Like many women, I vented to my mother, sister, and girlfriends, but their advice was tainted with broken hearts, betrayal, and disappointment. I had left my relationships to chance instead of intentionally designing the relationship I desired and deserved, so I went straight to the source. For years, I researched, surveyed and interviewed men to find out why they do the things they do to women in relationships. When I realized that I didn’t have a man problem, but rather a me problem, I committed to sharing this man-cave, barber-shop, locker-room relationship advice with other women. I wrapped the real, relevant relationship advice into fictional characters and The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box was born!

Is there an author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Dan Poynter, Victoria Christopher Murray, Lynnette Khalfani Cox and Tressa Azarel Smallwood are amongst the “celebrity” authors who have presented at my publishing conferences. However, the author who had the most direct effect on my writing career is Vanessa Miller Pierce. In the late 90s, I worked with Vanessa to write, publish and promote The Rain Series as a self-published author. She now writes for three traditional publishers, topped Essence and Amazon bestsellers lists and earns her living as a writer.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
The Goody Box Book is my third book and first novel. It took four months to write (excluding the years of research) because the characters came to life in front of me. The story flowed without restraint. I have published over 30 books for clients through QueenVPublishing.com.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
My method of composition for The Goody Box Book was to capture inspirations in my cell phone. Once I was ready to write, I transferred the notes into MS Word, organized them by character and then composed on my laptop. I didn’t use a formal outline because the process was organic.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
OMG! Yes, I listen to music! Depending upon the mood I want to create in a scene, I may listen to Jasmine Sullivan’s I Bust the Windows Out Your Car, Maxwell’s Pretty Wings or Kirk Franklin’s He’ll Take the Pain Away. As I coach my clients, music, and water are great conduits for creativity (I’m hosting a three-day writer’s retreat near a body of water next year). As for a theme song, I had an original song written and produced. Your guests can hear it as part of the book trailer at TheGoodyBoxBook.com.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Marketing accounts for 60% of the time, energy, and money invested in your book (writing is 10%; publishing is 30%). Although a bazillion options are available, below are seven of the top tips I share with my PenOfTheWriter.com mentoring clients:
·       First and foremost, produce a quality book. Great content coupled with professional editing and cover design are an author’s best defense.
·       Author website. You must have a “home” for your books that you can control (unlike social media) to connect, communicate and convince your fans.
·   Amazon Author Central page. Having your book on Amazon is essential, but maximizing the platform is critical.
·     Interviews. Like this wonderful opportunity to be a guest on Dee’s blog, your book success is contingent upon reaching as many potential readers as possible. My proven strategies have landed features in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and online.
·      Speaking engagements. By far, my most-effective strategy is speaking engagements. When executed correctly, the face-to-face interaction is powerful.
·    Book Reviews. Every author believes (or at least should believe) that their book is amazing. Readers want to know what other readers think about your book, not you. Book reviews offer credibility that convinces others to buy (or not buy) your book.
·    Book Fairs. This tool allows you to interact with readers, make your awe-inspiring pitch and then close the deal. Caution: Before investing time and money into a book fair, solicit feedback from previous attendees to ensure it’s a good fit for you. My event, the Dayton Book Expo, the region’s premier book event, has served over 500 authors and thousands of book lovers since its 2010 inception. For a minimal investment, authors get access to some of my POWERful strategies, corporate marketing with a media reach exceeding 4 million impressions and more. DaytonBookExpo.com

What advice would you give to new authors?
Research the industry. Understand the nuances of publishing. Recognize the great service providers from the so-so and downright awful ones. Hire a seasoned mentor with a track record of repeating success to help you navigate the mysterious labyrinth of self-publishing. Many of my clients tried to go it alone only to make costly mistakes, produce a subpar book and lose thousands of dollars.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box?  
Chapter 1 For the Love of Vincent
Sunday-morning service stirred Debra Hampton’s heart. The poignant message convinced her to resolve a matter that had her torn for almost a year. She had been undecided about whether to marry her live-in boyfriend, Vincent. He didn’t share her religious beliefs and refused to go with her to church, but she knew that he was the best man for her. He laughed at her silly antics, talked with her about her ambitions and encouraged her to greatness. He made her the focal point of his life and involved her in every decision no matter how minute. But it was his touch that held her hostage, kept her toying with God’s love by giving herself to a man who was not her husband.
With her head bowed to hide the free-flowing tears, she exited the church without speaking to anyone. She sat in her Mercedes S550, took a moment to freshen her makeup, expelled a sigh of relief. She looked to Heaven through the panorama sunroof, smiled, closed her eyes, gave thanks. The decision to accept Vincent’s proposal resonated; filled her with peace as she trusted the Lord with her soul mate.
The thirty-minute drive from the inner-city church to her suburban home gave her ample time to reflect upon the life they would build together: three children, business partnership, and unlimited mind-blowing sex. The rush of blood to her southern bell—the name her mother called her vagina when she was a child—gave her pause. Fortunately, she was stopped at a red light. She clicked through the Sirius Satellite stations and then opted to enjoy tunes Vincent had downloaded to her iPod a few nights prior.
            As she turned into Creekwood Estates—a lavish community north of Dayton—she admired the mansion-sized homes set hundreds of feet from the street. Manicured lawns featured rows of exotic trees, shrubbery, and blooming flowers. Cobblestone driveways boasted luxury cars and backyards had customized gym sets or in-ground pools.
              Her stucco and brick palatial home was small in comparison to those of her neighbors, but it was big enough for her family-to-be. She loved the side-entry, three-car garage because it camouflaged the unpacked moving boxes from passersby. She parked in the usual spot—closest to the mudroom door— and then she smiled wide. “He’s home.”
Debra grabbed her purse and Bible and then jaunted into the house. She placed her belongings on the granite countertop, careful not to make noise. Since the television wasn’t locked on a sporting event, Vincent had to be resting in the master suite. A 3,500-square-foot home and he preferred the family room and bedroom.
She slipped off her stilettos, tiptoed up the stairs. Her heart beat faster with each step. She wiped her palms together to dry the sweaty moisture, pressed her ear to the door. His subtle snores seeped through. She giggled and then covered her mouth to halt the escape of more laughter.
She opened the door, peeked in, swung it wide. “Vincent! What the devil?”
“Debra, what are you doing here?” After a quick dismount, he rummaged the floor for his Fruit of the Looms. “When’d you get home?”
“Who is this woman and why is she in my bed?” She ran to the side of the bed, towered over her betrayer. Breath stalled in her throat, eyes widened. “Catherine!”
Catherine—the first person to welcome Debra to the neighborhood—reached for her clothes, scurried to dress.
Debra lunged at her, snatched her by the ponytail, drew back her fist. Just as she connected with Catherine’s right jaw, Vincent grabbed Debra around the waist, pulled her away. She flailed her arms, kicked at his shins, head-butted him in the mouth. When he released her, she pursued Catherine who was halfway down the stairs, underwear in tow.
Debra leapt from the top stair, using Catherine as a landing pad. Spewing expletives, she pummeled her in the back of the head, until Vincent pulled her off.
He tightened his grip on Debra’s arms, spun her around to look him in the eyes. “Stop it!” A trickle of blood oozed from the corner of his mouth.
“I cannot believe you had that female up in my house.” The same channels that had released tears of joy now flooded her face in sadness. “Vincent, how could you?” She watched Catherine sprint through the backyard; battered, bruised and butt-naked.
“I tried to tell you, but—”
“You tried to tell me what? The last thing I knew, you were looking for an engagement ring.”
“It was…for Catherine.” Debra’s head danced like a bobble-head doll, her vision blurred. Her body quivered and then went slack as she collapsed in Vincent’s arms.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few minutes later, Debra awoke on the family-room couch. She picked up the note that sat on the table.
Debra, I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I’ll be back to get my things. I love you, but not enough to make you my wife. Vincent
As she let the note float to the floor, the back door opened and then closed. The man whom she was willing to love forever had tiptoed out of the house and driven out of her life.
The agony of unreciprocated love left Debra in despair. Virtual restrainers confined her to the bedroom—the viaduct of deceit. She cried until her body heaved and the reservoir of tears was empty.

Chapter 2 Wallow
Depression infiltrated Debra and she withdrew into an abyss of desolation. She called off from work using a flare-up of Crohn’s disease as the reason. Given that her body responded with similar symptoms—loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, fatigue, and diarrhea—she resolved that it was a legitimate excuse for at least a week of sick days.
Unable to lie on the bed stained with the passion of another, she walked through the French doors that separated the bedroom from the sitting room: her “Me Time” room. On chilly nights, she’d cozy up in the oversized chair next to the crackling fireplace, sip on hot chocolate and admire the wooded backyard through the picture window. On occasion, deer emerged to nibble on bark.
Debra rested on the chair and would have slept away her sorrows but for the fact that memories of Vincent invaded her dreams. When she tired of the torment, she forced herself to walk past the bed to the walk-in closet. She changed out of her church clothes into black satin pajamas. The soft material alleviated the itchy sensation that spread across her arms and legs like poison ivy on a scantily dressed trail hiker: a side effect of stress.
As she stood in the closet, she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She rationalized that her actions caused this life disruption. “Why did I come home early? My life would be so much easier.” She bowed her head, released a sigh from the depths of her belly, cried.
She wiped the tears with the back of her hand and noticed Vincent’s dress shirts—pressed with light starch—hanging on wooden hangers. She stared at the array of shirts, most of which she had purchased. She caressed her face with each shirt, inhaled hoping to get a whiff of his scent: Dolce & Gabbana. She slid her size-six feet into his favorite dress shoes and then reached for a necktie. When she contemplated using it as a noose to dangle strange fruit from the loft balcony, she fell to the floor. After a minute or so of unbridled tantrum, she sat up, pulled her knees to her chest, rocked back-and-forth, side-to-side. The movement lulled her into a brief nap.
Having relaxed the tension in her neck, her head jerked and startled her awake. She left the comfort of the closet floor only to be assaulted by a recall of Vincent and Catherine. Unwilling to revisit the experience with each glance of the bed, she made the arduous trek to the family room. She grabbed the trashcan from the powder room in case her dry heaves manifested into something more than mini convulsions and then positioned herself on the couch.
She skimmed through the channels, but didn’t see anything to complement her melancholy mood so she let reruns on the Lifetime channel keep watch over her.
Debra alternated between bouts of nightmarish sleep, crying and reminiscing. She recalled Vincent’s attentiveness. He loved to cook. He often had dinner prepared and the table set when she walked in the door. And on those days when the demands of the job overwhelmed her, he massaged her feet, caressed her hands, made love to her.
In return for his passion, she upgraded him. Lavished him with expensive gifts, exposed him to exclusive restaurants, fine arts, and music. He often traveled with her on business trips and enjoyed the lifestyle of the rich and famous at the expense of her clients: first-class airfare when private jets weren’t available, five-star hotels, limousine service and meals by world-renowned chefs. While Debra prepared for trial, Vincent spent her money on clothes, cologne and probably Catherine.
Instead of bringing her a semblance of peace, the memories served only as weapons of destruction. How could he love her the way she wanted and needed to be loved, yet give his heart to another? Why wasn’t her love enough? What could she have done differently? Where did she fall short?
When the house phone rang, Debra let it roll over to voicemail. She turned off her cell, disconnected her laptop. Like a tree planted by the water, Debra took root on that couch and left only to relieve her bladder.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Want to know how Debra handled this situation? Get your copy of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box today and understand…
·         Five secrets to attract and keep lasting love
·         How to eliminate 70% of the men who only want to play games
·         The top three things every woman should know about men
·         What makes a woman irresistible to a man

What’s next for you?
I’m traveling the nation and abroad empowering women with the message of how to attract and keep lasting love. I am committed to helping women experience fulfilling relationships by catapulting their relationship success beyond the average woman. As a result, testimonials of engagements, marriages and being happily single pour into my email and inbox. I will continue to conduct keynotes, facilitate workshops and host live events as I serve women who desire and deserve more. The audio production is available as a free download and I hope to complete the sequel to The Goody Box Book soon.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: TheGoodyBoxBook.com
·         Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com/author/valeriejlewiscoleman
·         Facebook: Facebook.com/valeriejlewiscoleman
·         Twitter: Twitter.com/penofthewriter
·         Book buy links:
o   Autographed copy: TheGoodyBoxBook.com

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Review of Loose Ends by Electa Rome Parks

This is the sequel to The Ties That Bind where I was first introduced to Christian, Brice, and Mia. Christian and Brice are best friends and Brice and Mia on the surface appeared to be happily married. But Brice had a temper which he sometimes couldn’t control and Mia got the brunt of it. When Brice beat her for the very last time, and she ended up in the hospital, it was there she finally mustered up enough courage to divorce him.

In Loose Ends, Mia has moved on with her life which included finishing college and she and Christian are now married with a beautiful daughter. Everything seemed to be going nicely until Brice reached out wanting to make amends to both of them. Brice wanted his homeboy back and he wanted to see Mia again. Mia was against them meeting Brice and his new wife, Kree because while she wanted to move past the hurt, she was still drawn to Brice.

Let’s just say it wasn’t smooth sailing as Brice has reared his ugly ways again by beating on his second wife. And if that wasn’t enough, he still lusted after Mia who finally caved into his whims. The end result…broken trust, broken marriages and a yearning by Mia to get Christian back.

I thoroughly enjoyed this roller coaster of a novel that dealt with love, lust, and lies. The characters were well developed, the drama was real, and the dialogue was spot on. However, I felt that Brice’s death could have been explored in a little more depth. However, the emails he left Christian, Mia, and Kree before his death did speak to his state of mind, but I wanted more.

Overall, this is a very good read!

Some of my favorite lines:

            “Your woman just walked in. Yeah, she found us okay. You wanna speak with her?  Okay. Hold on.”

            Brice handed me the phone; reclined in his rolling chair and scrutinized me slowly while I talked to my husband. I could feel him taking in my body inch by inch, but this time it didn’t make me feel nervous. This time it made me feel sensual and sexy as I ran my fingers through my short hair. In my jeans, midriff T-shirt and tennis shoes, I felt sexy-cool.

Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, October 23, 2017

Interview with Blaque Diamond, Author of The Stacey F Series of Children’s books which include She Named Me Stacey, A Temporary Home for Stacey, Stacey F. My Forever Mommy and the newly released Stacey F. Coloring and Activity Book

Author’s Bio: Blaque Diamond is the author of the Stacey F. children’s book series, She Named Me Stacey, A Temporary Home for Stacey, and Stacey F., My Forever Mommy as well as a Stacey F. coloring and activity book. Diamond graduated from Morgan State University School of Social Work, where she earned her BSW and MSW degrees and was an all-American Collegiate Scholar. In addition to writing children's books, she is an advocate for children waiting to be reunified with their biological families. Diamond has three biological children and has raised nine nieces and nephews, two of whom she was granted custody and three of whom she adopted from the NYC foster care system. She lives in Maryland with her children.

DL: What inspired you to write your book?
BD: Actually it was my nephew. He asked me why did I want to adopt him and why was he in foster care? After explaining to him; his truth, I realized his younger sibling was sitting nearby and I knew someday I would need to tell her; her truth as well, so I decided to write it down. And in doing so, I realized as a social worker that there are hundreds of children in foster care or adopted who don’t understand their journey, so I decided to write a children’s book series pleasant enough for children to read and easy enough for prospective foster/adoptive parents to understand.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
BD: Yes, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume. As a young girl, this book has given me first insight to GOD.

DL: Are these your first books? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
BD: No, my first book was my memoir, In My Mother’s House. In My Mother’s House took a few months to begin and nine years to finish, However, the Stacey F series took a few minutes to begin and two years to finish, which resulted in the series being released within the same year.  

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
BD: I let it flow. The decision to display an outline of events in any order due to the nature of the book and the series is not a priority for me. Letting it flow allows my words to be free and my thought pattern to release.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
BD: I do listen to music sometimes. For the series of Stacey F books, there was no theme song, just life experience.

DL: What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
BD: Know your target audience, ensure your book(s) are appealing i.e. book cover, fonts, graphics, and designs. Link your book to current topics, advertise, optimize your profile, build your social media platforms and decide when and what you would like to share and most importantly be honest with your audience. 

DL: What advice would you give to new authors?
BD: Document, Document, Document. 

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from Stacey F My Forever Mommy?                             

“What is a biological mother?” Stacey asked.
“A biological mother is a Mother who gives birth to you,” said Paige.
“Was Mrs. Penny my biological mother?” Stacey asked.
“No,” said Paige, “she was your Foster Mother.”
“Is Mrs. Grace my biological mother?” Stacey asked.
“No,” said Paige “she will be your Adoptive Mommy”
“What is the difference?” Stacey asked.
“Biological Mothers give birth to you. They love you unconditionally and sometimes have to make hard decisions,” said Paige.
“And Mrs. Penny was your foster mother, and foster mothers make a choice. They love you and want to take care of you temporarily,” said Paige
“And Mrs. Grace is your adoptive Mother, and adoptive mothers choose you. They love you, and they want to take care of you permanently,” said Paige.    

DL: What’s next for you?
BD: What I am most excited about is The 2nd Annual It’s a Family Affair (IAFA) in celebration of National Adoption Month held November 18, 2017, 10am - 2pm at Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center, Dundalk, MD 21222.  IAFA is an incessantly endless passage for individuals and families who would like to gain insight into foster care/adoption. You will speak to a panel of professionals with first-hand knowledge of foster care/adoption, Current foster/adoptive parents who love children unconditionally, and former foster/adoptive youth who has journeyed through the foster care/adoption system.    

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.authorblaquediamond.com
·         Facebook: Author Blaque Diamond
·         Twitter: @BlaqueDiamond03
·         Book buy Links: www.authorblaquediamond.com, Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and Xlibris.com

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.