Category Archives: Spotlights/Book Blasts

Spotlight: Welfare Grind by Kendall Banks

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Cold-hearted Keema takes the world by storm as she navigates her way through every trick and scam she can pull off. With four kids in tow, living off the welfare system had become her life along with the extra cash, sex and violence, her gangsta boyfriend Dupree brought into her life. Soon, chaos erupts, causing Keema’s secret past to become a problem. When the chips fall, they fall hard, leaving Keema willing to do whatever it takes to keep money in her pocket. She’s willing to go that extra mile, even if it means selling her kids, or setting up her man.
Excerpt

Finally the door to the back offices opened up. Ms. Vines, my caseworker, stuck her head out. She was wearing an out dated pant suit too tight for her fat frame, and a pair of run over heels, which she seemed to have on each and every time since the very first day I met her. Her dark skin was dry and acne filled, which came from drinking too many of them Cokes she always had on her desk. And today her short, bob styled wig was matted to the left side of her head.

“Keema Newell !” she called.
“Bout time,” I whispered as I stood from my chair and quickly walked past her, anxious to find out when I was getting my kids back and get this visit over with. The two of us headed to her tiny office. As we walked I could smell a double cheese burger with extra onions seeping from her pores. Once we reached her office she plopped down behind her desk, opened a drawer and pulled out my case file. She opened it and sat it on her desk next to the half-empty bottle of Coca Cola.
“Was my Medicaid application accepted?” I asked as I sat down. We’d discussed me getting full coverage during the last visit. I was hoping I’d be approved before the next check, which would be here in ten days. I was always trying to milk her ass for whatever I could get. “Deniro’s doctor really thinks he may have a disability,” I lied.
“Keema, right now the Medicaid application is the least of your worries.”
Here she goes. My eyes wanted to roll but I forced them to remain still. Despite how much I hated her, Ms. Vines wrote the checks so I had to be cool.
“We need to begin this visit with you telling me about why the children are in Baltimore City custody.”  She eyeballed me like she was better than me or something. “That’s the reason I requested the meeting.”
“The police kicked my door in two days ago pointing guns at me and my kids,” I told her. “They told me somebody lied and said I was selling drugs out of my apartment. Can you believe that?”
“Why would someone do that?”
“You know how people are, Ms. Vines. They nosey and always want to get stuff started. Just because I don’t associate with none of them, they want to mess with me. I’m out looking for jobs every day and they hatin’ on that. That’s all that is.”
“Keema, the police don’t just kick in doors for no reason. They do investigations before they do something that extreme.”
“Not this time, they didn’t. They kicked mine in for nothing.”
Ms. Vines gave me a smirk and looked down at my case file. “Keema, the police found a gun and marijuana in the apartment,” she said raising her head to look at me.
“But it wasn’t mine,” I said, trying to sound convincing.
“Then whose was it?”
“Shane’s.”
“Your boyfriend’s son?”
“Yeah, I didn’t even know he had the stuff.”
“You had no idea, huh?” she asked pursing her lips.
“I really didn’t.”
“Doesn’t he have autism?”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m so surprised. I’m starting to wonder if the autism thing is an act. You know autism is a brain problem that makes it hard to communicate. But if he selling drugs then he communicating just fine.”
“Keema…”
I cut her off since she hadn’t been convinced yet.  His father told me that his autism only meant he’d have social impairments and some mild character flaws, but this is too much. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about telling his daddy he needs to find Shane another place to stay. I can’t have that kind of stuff around my kids.”
She stared at me for a moment, causing me to nibble on my nails again. I always did that when I was nervous. Right now I didn’t quite know what was going through her mind but the look on her face showed me she still didn’t quite believe me.
“Ms. Vines, I miss my babies,” I whimpered. “They’re my world. I haven’t even been able to sleep since the cops took them.” I stopped to snivel before continuing, “And it’s breaking my heart so bad I went to church this morning and prayed on it. That’s why I was late to see you. Oh God, Ms. Vines, when will I be getting them back?”
Ms. Vines leaned forward and folded her hands on the desk. “Keema, do you have any idea how serious this situation is? There was a gun underneath one of your children’s mattress and drugs in a cereal box.”
“But they weren’t mine,” I whined. “I didn’t even know the stuff was there. I swear to God in Heaven I didn’t.”
“I find that hard to believe, Keema.”
“Do you think I would actually have a gun and drugs around my kids?” I asked in disbelief.
“You tell me,” she said. “The police have also stated they found a lit blunt in your apartment.”
“That was Shane’s too.”
“You mean you didn’t smell him smoking?”
“I told you that autism thing may be a front. He’s real slick.”
She leaned back into her chair and looked at me strangely.
“I’m not lying, Ms. Vines. I would never put my kids in harms way like that.”
She exhaled. “Keema, I’m going to be straight forward with you. “You’ve been on assistance for several years. You haven’t shown any urge to find gainful employment.”
I slammed my hand on the desk. “I go on job interviews all the time!”
“Let me finish, Keema,” she said sternly. “You’re always late for our appointments. You’ve failed drug tests. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for the kids, I would’ve taken you off of assistance a long time ago.”
I looked at her pitifully, biting my nails again.
“The system is in place to empower you, not enable you Keema.”
“I know, Ms. Vines. That’s what my mother tells me all the time. And I swear I’m trying my hardest. I’ve made mistakes but I’m a good person and I love my kids.”
She looked at me with no emotion. She was pissing me off but I didn’t show it. I stayed in character despite the fact that she was trying to give me such a hard time.
“It’s so hard out here for a single black mother, Ms. Vines.” Tears appeared in my eyes.
“I’m sorry Keema. No money this month until your case is reviewed further.”
I almost fainted.

kendall banks
Kendall Banks, Executive Assistant by day, bartender by night is the proud author of Rich Girls, One Night Stand, Another One Stand and The Welfare Grind Series. She originally hails from both Georgia and North Carolina and presently resides in Washington, D.C. Her long time goal was to produce movies, however after writing her first movie script and failing, she turned it into a manuscript and submitted it to LCB. Ironically, after the success of One Night Stand the novel, an independent studio picked up the project and is now in pre-production. Kendall enjoys the success of her hard work but participates in community service activities often.
Get to Know Kendall:
1. Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?Welfare Grind starts off with an explosive scene that shows Keema, the main character not taking ownership of something that has the authorities at her front door. When her kids are taken away from her this starts a downward spiral for tons of tricks and scams that Keema pulls off to get them back…all in the name of  getting those Welfare Benefits. The money is good..REAL good and she can’t stand the thought of not collecting the funds.  Keema’s character is very authentic and has readers wanting to choke her!Treasure is Keema’s daughter who subliminally acts just like her mother. At ten years old she’s had to grow up all too soon becoming an apprentice in their project based home. Treasure is quick, witty and extremely intuitive. Unfortunately for Keema, karma may come from her own child. They say- the apple never falls far from the tree.

2. Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?

I can mostly identify with the ten year old character, Treasure. Forced to grow up without a father and ultimately be responsible for her younger brother’s well-being, Treasure often takes the ‘mother role’ and is allowed to use her own judgment to solve problems at such a young age.
I myself was one of those kids who didn’t have a relationship with my father, so I knew this was a subject that a lot of readers could relate to.

3.  Is this the book you intended on writing or did it take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?

It definitely took on a life of its own because the character, Keema became so dramatic and entertaining after the first chapter. She became far more dimensional that I ever imagined and has several variations. She became so exciting, and so absorbing, I couldn’t stop writing. Even with her flaws, the readers seem to love her.

4.  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?

I want readers to walk away with the understanding that being on the system is a choice and getting off is a lifestyle change. It’s easy to get complacent when you’re getting income to live with little effort. The money may seem good on the surface, but is it really self gratifying and what message does it send to your children? For those who really need it, I’m hoping they use it to help them get on their feet then get off of it.

5.  We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next?  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?

My next project is the third part to Welfare Grind. Readers everywhere are talking about parts 1 and 2 (Still Grindin’) of this Series. This book is going to explore the aftermath of Keema’s decisions and what effects they had on Treasure.

Find Kendall at:

Instagram –  authorkendallb
Twitter – @authorkendallB
Facebook – LCB
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Book Blast & $100 Giveaway: Gracier by Milissa R. Bailey

Gracier by Milissa R. Bailey

Everyone around her knows. Everyone she trusts has lied. And the one man who held the key to Jessica McCabe’s past is dead.

Welcome to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Lives are peaceful, streets are quiet, but behind the tranquility is many a tale to be told. Veterinarian Jessica McCabe has returned, but it is not the homecoming she had expected. Her grandfather, Jonas McCabe and Gracier’s longtime vet has died, leaving behind the practice they had hoped to share.

The reading of Jonas’ will sets off a series of events that bring into question Jessica’s birthright, the truth surrounding her mother’s untimely death and her grandfather’s sanity. With her world turned upside down she is thrown into a partnership with Matthew Cassidy, the man who chose his family’s wealth over Jessica’s love.

Her determined spirit leads Jessica to stay, continue the veterinarian practice and return to the life and the community she loves. But a secret loft and a box filled with a hidden past change the course of her life once again.

Longtime family friends, Dr. Andrew Harrison and retired Sheriff Chester Caughlin know the truth. A promise made to a dear old friend to protect the girl they helped raise is one they intend to keep. But the wheels of fate have been put in motion. The people entrusted with protecting Jessica from the past are losing control. The small town of Gracier, Iowa holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Book Trailer

Praise

“Milissa Bailey has set the perfect stage for the next book in the series with her intriguing characters that are as unpredictable as an Iowa tornado and as genuine as the county fair. The labyrinth of their lives makes you want to learn more about the secrets of Gracier”.  - D. Bahrenfuss – Editor

“I was pulled in with the depth of this story and couldn’t stop myself from finishing the second half in one sitting. GRACIER is a beautiful reminder of all that is important in life. Bailey has a wonderful gift and I hope she will continue to “breathe”!”

–Leisa Anslinger, author of Forming Generous Hearts, Here Comes Everybody

“…think Jennifer Chiaverini or Jan Karon” – Burlington by the Book

“It was one of those books that I stayed up late reading and picked back up the minute I woke up! ” -Mari Kait

“Milissa Bailey’s depiction of small town Iowa is both charming and mysterious–the perfect combination to captivate readers.” -C.G.Reader

“Add to that a group of supporting characters you can’t help but love. Gracier is a must read.” -Shari

 ”I couldn’t put the book down…can’t wait for book #2!!!!” -RJW

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Author Milissa Bailey

Milissa Bailey grew up among the rolling fields of rural Iowa, where she continues to live with her husband, and three children. In her debut novel she draws upon her rich knowledge of the Midwest as she welcomes us to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Readers are introduced to a cast of characters they will come to know, love and hate. Vivid descriptions, palatable anguish, forbidden romance and touches of humor lend itself to the stories weaved in this idyllic setting. The small town of Gracier holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Milissa, along with her husband, own a marketing firm located in Iowa. She is currently at work on the second book in the Gracier series.

Author Interview

$100 BookBlast Giveaway (starts January 9th)

Ends 1/20/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Enter the giveaway here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGEwMDk2ODM4YmEyM2MyMzNmNmEwNjhkYWFjNGMwOjY3OQ==/

Join the Challenge: Faithful Fit & Fabulous by Connie Sokol

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Faithful, Fit & Fabulous

Filled with humor and “I can relate” life experiences, Faithful, Fit, and Fabulous is the ideal 8-week life boost that will refresh any woman’s life. Create a personal and effective life plan, and learn how to readily apply it in your busy daily life. Establish holy habits, feel fit and fabulous, and get organized. Just one goal a week for eight weeks—it’s simple and fun.

Message from Connie

Hi Ladies,

This is the moment. This is the year. You can be your best self, your most beautiful self, your most faithful, fit, and fabulous self. Ever. Twelve months are before you-what will you do with them?

Years ago, after bearing several children and feeling overwhelmed, I created and lived my “Year of the Change.” During twelve months of taking life by the horns, I lost weight, got organized, and discovered more joy. Since then I’ve tweaked and taught the principles I have learned and now share them with you.

So make this your year of fabulous change by joining us on the “8-week Challenge” starting on January 8th! The 8-week Challenge is an online success program of “8 goals in 8 weeks in 8 areas of your life,” including fit and fabulous, get organized, balance womanhood and motherhood, and more. Using the Faithful, Fit and Fabulous book, each week you set and achieve a goal, with help from my podcasts, video segments, blog posts, and motivational emails!

Simple, fun, and productive. This program works (see testimonials below). And this year, we’re giving our new 2013 Fit & Fabulous podcast series FREE to those who sign up with a friend! Both of you receive weekly podcasts and posts on weight loss/energy gain tips and strategies. Jill Holmes, our online marketing director, has lost and kept off 50 POUNDS! She’ll share her personal tips and secrets to make weight loss work for you, even eating chocolate daily.

Here’s what women have said about the 8-week Challenge:

“I have learned so many things about who I am and what I want to do in my life. I have also gained a new sense of happiness. My husband and girls have noticed just in the last week the change in my attitude and they have told me that it is nice to hear me laugh again.” C.Adams

“Thank you so much for giving me the needed push to do something I’ve wanted to do for months & never completed. That has never happened for me with goal setting. THANK YOU!” B.Bird

“If I wouldn’t have been doing the challenge I never would have thought to [accomplish this goal]. I am so glad I did this 8 week challenge! I want to continue these small goals for the rest of my life.” C. Rose

So join us now and jumpstart your ideal life. Get that closet organized, start that exercise program going, find that joy in daily living!

Join now and, because you’re reading this blog post, receive your 8-week Challenge for only $29, thru Jan. 8th only!

http://8basics.com/store/books/start-the-8-week-challenge-refer-a-friend-discount.

Sign up a friend and BOTH receive the 8 podcast series of “Fit & Fabulous”.
Email us for more information at connie@8basics.com.

Learn more here: http://8basics.com/b2b-life-coaching-support

So what are you waiting for? Join us for a fun and fabulous life-changing experience!

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Author Connie Sokol

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly contributor on KSL TV “Studio 5,” and regular blogger for KSL “Motherhood Matters.” She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated romance Caribbean Crossroads, the 8-week Challenge program of Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.

Website * Facebook

Spotlight: Absolute Obstruction by C. Elizabeth

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Being lonely isn’t anything new for 45 year old Rose Terrance. After all, that’s what she signed up for when she married beautiful, 33 year old movie star, Michael Terrance and in spite of her loneliness, their love stays strong. However, their love, nor Michael’s vehement overprotectiveness, can shield Rose from a threat that is beyond Michael’s comprehension, one that annihilates his heart and lines his soul with guilt.

Michael has murderous intentions that lead him to a place he has already asked Rose to forgive him for, taking the phrase “I would die for you” to the extreme.

* * * * *

C. Elizabeth lives in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and during her short writing career she’s learned a lot about herself, sometimes to the point that she wonders how the heck she got this far in life and know so little about herself.

For the majority of her life she dabbled in many things, such as drawing, photography, sewing, only to find that after a while, she would lose interest, but writing is a different story – it found her and continues to be an addiction, as well as a most wonderful, incredible passion.
Not only does she write novels, but she does whatever she can to hone her craft. Such as attending the New York Pitch Conference, seminars and the like, as well, she writes for online magazines on the topic of… you guessed it, writing.

You can learn more about C. Elizabeth at her website at http://www.celizabeth.ca.

Book Blast & $50 Giveaway: Faith by Heather Bixler

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Faith – 4 Week Mini Bible Study

In this four week mini Bible Study you will examine your faith and what it means to have faith in God. He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 Our faith begins with what we know and believe about God. Our faith will carry us how far we are willing to let it take us. Faith is a choice and we need to begin by choosing to believe in Jesus and His power to move mountains, heal the sick, and save us from all our sins through His sacrifice on the cross. When we believe in God we then learn to walk in faith and trust God. But first we must believe, and it’s up to us, we can either choose to believe in Him or not. But faith will mean nothing until we believe with all our heart that God is who He says He is.

Praise for Faith
Don’t have time to read a long book on faith? This study will give you simple tools to understand faith and help you to develop a closer relationship with God. ~Lorilyn Roberts

This is a great book that allows you to start looking deeper into faith. I love the fact that there is a lot of scripture reference so one can look into the Bible and further study the word. ~Shraon

This study was a wonderful lift to my faith. I encourage others to take this short journey to an increased faith. ~Shirley Strait

Purchase
Author Heather Bixler
heather bixler
Heather is a Christian Stay at home homeschooling mom of three, married to a firefighter, and a writer. She is founder ofwww.CSAHM.com among other websites for Christian mothers, and women. Heather is passionate about sharing God’s word in a practical and loving way.

Blog * Twitter *  Facebook

BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/3/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Book Blast: Snow by Kathryn Hewitt

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Book Description:

Snow is a fiction novel, based on true events, about the struggles of a teenage girl and the consequences of a devastating mistake. Whether readers are young adults, exploring their sexuality for the first time, or an older adult, struggling to understand their teenage daughter, everyone will have a character in which to relate.

Young adults will be gripped by the reality and bluntness of it’s characters. Parents will appreciate the censorship of otherwise “uncomfortable” topics. With sexuality among young adults beginning at an early age, “family values” are now being pushed back into the forefront of parental teaching.Snow influences people with Christian values, such as sexual abstinence, pro-life advocacy, and prayer, without pushing God as the subject of the book. Biblically based information is strategically scattered throughout the novel with dialect and personal thoughts.

The protagonist’s quest to discover the path she needs to take unearths findings of a secret life, lead by her boyfriend. With two lives at stake, readers will eagerly anticipate the outcome only to find themselves with lessons and warnings about the consequences of making detrimental mistakes. Comfort will be found in understanding that God is bigger than any situation and He catches ever tear. Miracles so often go unnoticed, yet powerfully affect those they touch. Snow will set the stage for future novels reflective of countless miracles and divine intervention.

Excerpt:

For a moment she thought about what it would be like to have sex with Luke. This was such a perfect setting. Nothing could be more romantic than just the two of them alone on the beach under the moon. She closed her eyes and pushed aside the guilt in her heart for betraying her commitment to stay pure until marriage.
Her thoughts were interrupted with his lips pressing the top of her head. He caressed her back and arms as he kissed her forehead.
“You do love me, don’t you? I love you so much; I don’t know what I’d do if you ever left me. I don’t know how I could survive without you. Please just love me, Ruth. That’s all I ask.”
“I do love you,” she said as she lifted her face to his.
He pulled her down on the blanket he spread in the sand and held her like she’d never been held before. She burned inside. She burned with desire for him and burned with guilt for what she was willing to give him.
She’d never felt this way before, and it frightened her. Before she had a chance to stop him, they heard Robins shouting from the other side of the sand dunes.
Luke’s mother was on the phone and furious with him and the girls for being out so late. She demanded that Amy and Ruth return to their room immediately.

Ruth felt humiliated as she entered the condo, but fortunately for Amy and her, the Davis’s were in their room. The girls tip-toed their way to their bedroom. After Amy entered, Ruth paused at the door, directly across from the Davis’s room, listening to the heated argument taking place behind the closed door.
“All I’m saying is that we don’t need another incident. I mean, my God! He’s changed schools once this year already. We don’t need him changing again. He needs to at least graduate.”
“Marie, calm down. We took care of that situation. He can handle himself here. He’s a teenager. Let him live a little. He’s going to have girlfriends, you know. No matter what has happened in the past.”
“That’s real easy for you to say. You didn’t have to see that little blonde beast last week. You didn’t have to make those phone calls or control yourself when what you really wanted to do is slap those little curls right off her head.”
“It’s been taken care of Marie. I don’t know how many times I need to tell you that. He’s not going to be around her again.”
Ruth heard a glass being slammed on the dresser.
“Go to bed, you’ve drank enough tonight.”
“No. I think I need another after tonight’s escapade on the beach with his newest prize.”
Ruth stepped into the bedroom and closed the door just as Mrs. Davis made her exit. Her heart pounded inside her chest. She leaned her head against the door and tried to catch her breath.
His newest prize? She thought. She can’t possibly be talking about me! What in the world could that mean?
She stood there, her feet cemented to the floor. Ruth wanted to ask Mrs. Davis what she meant, but she was clearly drunk. Ruth took a deep breath and decided that must be the reason behind Mrs. Davis’s behavior. She was talking in circles because she had drunk too much that night.
Still unsatisfied with the explanation she invented, Ruth climbed into bed with Amy, said goodnight, and attempted to sleep. She had a restless night with visions of waves washing her away from shore and drowning her in a sea of darkness.

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Author Bio:

Kathryn Hewitt was born and raised in the small town of Camden, South Carolina. Breaking away from becoming a statistic, she was an Honors Graduate from Camden High School and went on to study British Literature and Sociology at Charleston Southern University, inspiring to teach High School English.

Kathryn has a passion for teaching teenagers and reaching out to those who seem as though the world has closed the door. Because of her own experiences, including becoming a teenage mother at fifteen, Kathryn knows the value of life and the blessings it contains. Understanding the importance of making wise decisions, Kathryn passionately seeks to instill that wisdom into the minds of every young lady she encounters. The inspiration for Kathryn’s writings comes from her own experiences, and she is never afraid to speak the truth that others refuse to acknowledge.

Kathryn married in 2005 and is a stay at home mom with her four sons. She and her family currently live in the same town she grew up.

Author Bio Summary:

As a teenage mother, Kathryn Hewitt understands the consequential trials and sacrifices resulting from teen pregnancies. Leadership positions throughout high school, college, and church provided a forum for her activism in promoting premarital abstinence and accountability, and pro-life support.

Kathryn currently lives in Camden, South Carolina with her husband and four boys.
Website | Facebook|Twitter

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Today’s Spotlight: Split Image by Anna Black

 

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Synopsis

Juliana Valentine had it all, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy her thirst for love from the one and only man that she couldn’t have, Reginald Towers.  She thought giving him the one thing that his wife Lisa couldn’t would make him leave and marry her, but instead it made the situation worse and Reginald went to the extreme to cover his infidelity and secrets. Putting her identical twin sister Julia who no one knew of into a situation she’d never thought she be in. Unwilling at first to go along with Reginald’s evil scheme, he is forced to threaten the lives of Julia’s loves ones to keep his secrets hidden and Miles, her twin sister’s other lover is the only one who can help Julia escape the snare that Reginald has her trapped in.

Excerpt

She had an agenda that had her living in the mansion Lisa lived in. She knew it was only a matter of time before she was going to make that happen because Reginald was stone cold and he wasn’t an easy win so she was going to have to put on the show of her life if she was going to take him from Lisa Towers.

“You okay?” he asked because Juliana was quieter than usual.

“Yes, I’m okay; well, I hope I’m going to be okay,” she said ready to tell him the best news of his life.

“You don’t look okay. You look like you just lost your best friend and after what just went down you should be smiling from ear to ear,” he said and got up to go to the kitchen to get himself a beer, and when he came back she was ready to tell him.

“Reg, come sit down, baby,” she said. He looked around for his boxers and wondered what she wanted this time.

“Juliana, spit it out, baby. I know you’re getting ready to ask me for something. What is it, baby? A new car, a trip, shopping spree? What do you want, baby?” he asked and leaned over to kiss her.

“I want you to sit down so we can talk,” she said, and he sat down. Juliana was beautiful, and he cared for her, and if things were different, he’d make her his first lady because she was not only beautiful but had a voice of gold, and Reg knew he had to keep her happy to keep her making the company the money that she made. “Do you love me, baby?”

“Of course, I do, you know I do for the hundredth time.”

“Then why won’t you divorce Lisa and marry me? You know you don’t love her like you love me, and I know her stuck-up ass ain’t sucking your dick like I suck your dick.”

“Jules, please, we’ve had this discussion a thousand times. I can’t leave Lisa, and I don’t know why you keep coming at me with this. It’s like you can’t be happy for shit, Jules. You are the number-one R&B female artist in the world. You live an affluent life. I give you whatever you want, yet you’re still not content.”

“I want you, Reg, and I want to be on your arm at the awards. I want what we have to be public, and I’m so tired of sneaking around with you and Miles, poor Miles. I hate doing this to him. I hate pretending to love him, and I don’t. I love you, Reg, and I want to be your wife. I know you give me everything, but it’s not enough. I want you for me, and Lisa is a bitch, and every time she sees me she gives me attitude.”

“Lisa is like that with any woman that is around me, Jules, so please, baby, I don’t want to hurt you, but I will never leave my wife, and if you can’t get that through your head, you and I may need to chill,” he said, and she couldn’t believe her ears.

“What . . . what, Reggie? You know that’s not what I want. You are the only man for me, and you know this. Tell me, do you like me b

being with Miles?”

“No, but you have to be. Miles is the greatest song writer in history, and if he knew that you and I were together he’d be gone, and I am not ready to give up any of what I have or what we have. Now, come on, baby, let’s not talk about this anymore, okay? Let’s just enjoy what we have and continue to make each other happy the way we have and just chill, baby,” he said kissing her tenderly.

“Reg, I’m afraid things are going to be different,” she said because she had to tell him.

“Different how?” he asked wondering what she was up to.

“Because I’m pregnant,” she said, and Reginald almost passed out.

“You’re what!” he yelled getting up from the bed.

“Pregnant, baby. You’re finally going to have a baby. You’re finally going to be a daddy,” she said hoping he’d be thrilled.

“No, no, how could you get pregnant, Juliana? I trusted you were taking birth control. You know damn well a baby is not what I want.”

“Then why is Lisa paying top dollar to see fertility specialists around the damn globe if you don’t want a child, Reg?”

“Hey, that is me and my wife’s business, Juliana. What we are doing has nothing to do with your ass, and it’s not your damn business!” he yelled. He was furious because every time they spoke of children he made it clear that a baby would be a bad idea and it would mess up everything, and she goes and breaks the agreement they had.

“Don’t yell at me, Reg,” she cried. “I’m sorry, okay? I just thought you’d be happy. I thought this would be good news for you. I thought—,” she cried.

“Why would you think something so crazy like that when I’ve stressed to you how important your career is and it would be bad not only for your career, but people’s lives will be destroyed if we brought a baby into this,” he said pacing, because he had too much to lose if it got out that she was pregnant by him and that was a bad thing for her to be pregnant.

“I’m sorry, Reg, please, baby, don’t be mad. It’s going to work out. It’s probably better this way. Lisa will leave, and you and I—,” she tried to say but he cut her off.

“Juliana, are you out of your fucking mind? It’s not that simple, and you are going to ruin my marriage!” he yelled.

“Reggie, this is our child,” she cried.

“No, this is your child. How do I know it’s mine? You have been with Miles; it could be his. How do you know it’s not his?”

“Because Miles uses condoms. Miles sees that I’m not too fond of his son, so he knows that the last thing I want to do is have his child, Reg. Why would you say that? You and I have been together for forever, and you know I’ve been in love with you since the first time I laid eyes on you. You are the one who told me to get with Miles. That wasn’t my idea and to make you happy I did what you asked. I did what was best for business,” she cried.

“Yes, you did, but then what did you do, Jules? You go and get pregnant—do you think that was good for business?”

“I thought this would be good for us, Reg. I was thinking of us,” she said sobbing.

“No, you were thinking of yourself because you know this is not what I wanted, and I don’t need this shit right now. Look, I love you, Juliana, but you can’t have this baby.”

“Why?”

“Because this will ruin everything!” he shouted, and she was confused. He was on top of the world, and all he had to do was leave Lisa and marry her and raise their baby.

“For who, Reggie? I know you love me, and I know this baby is a good thing,” she said trying to touch his face.

“Get rid of it,” he said coldly and pushed her hands away.

“What? You can’t be serious.”

“I am dead serious. You cannot have this baby, and I’ll have an appointment set up by the end of this week,” he said and started to dress.

“No,” she said because there was no way another man was going to make her have another abortion. That would be her third one, and she wasn’t going to go through with another abortion.

“Juliana, I’m not fucking around. You are not having this baby.”

“Yes, I am, and I’m not having an abortion. I can’t believe you’d asked me to do that, Reggie,” she cried in disbelief.

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”

“No, please, baby, please don’t do this to our baby, please,” she begged with her face drenched with tears.

“At the end of the week,” he said and stepped into his shoes.

“I will not, Reginald, and if you try to make me, I will go to Lisa and tell her.”

“Don’t fucking threaten me, Juliana. You do not want to fuck with me. Trust me, you do not want to fuck with me,” he said walking up on her like he was about to hit her dead in her face, and it scared her.

“Please, I don’t want this to get ugly. I want to work this out. You, me, and the baby can be a family. You have nothing to lose; we can be happy,” she said reaching for his hands, but he snatched them away.

“Listen, Juliana, you are beautiful, and you are at the height of your music career. Do you know how a baby is going to change everything? You are not ready to be a mom, and you know it. To get pregnant to get me wasn’t the answer, so let it go. This baby is not going to be born, you hear me? Now I’ll be in touch,” he said and walked out.

She yelled out his name, but he kept on going. She hated him for what he had done to her and wanted to hurt him just as bad as he had hurt her. She was devastated that he wanted her to get rid of her baby, and she knew she had to do something to make him understand how much she wanted to be Mrs. Towers. Her child was going to be the start of his legacy, and he wasn’t going to make her get rid of her baby no matter what he thought.

She got up and showered and headed back to her house. When she got home she listened to her voice mail. She was happy to hear her sister’s voice telling her that she could come by the end of the week. She was happy because she didn’t want to be alone, and there was no one else she could tell at that moment about her pregnancy. She called her sister back, and Julia could feel something was wrong.

“Jules, what is it?”

“Nothing, darling, I’m fine.”

“You’re lying—I can feel it when you’re sad, plus I’ve been having some weird nausea going on, so out with it,” Julia demanded.

“Lia, babe, don’t worry, because I’m fine. I’m just a little tired. I had a show this evening so I’m just a little worn out, that’s all, but your sister is fine,” she said lying.

“No, Jules, there is something else. I can feel it.”

“Listen, I’ll call you tomorrow about your flight information and we’ll talk when you get here, okay?”

“You sure? Because I’ll be happy to listen now,” she offered.

“No, sis, get some sleep and I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Okay, Jules, I love you, and I can’t wait to see you,” Julia said.

“You too, sis, I can’t wait ’til you get here,” she said, and they hung up. The next day she got up and made arrangements for her sister to come out to L.A.

 

 

anna black

Best-selling and award winning author Anna Black is a native of Chicago and has done her duty to deliver page tuning romance novels, with a urban spin. Her first release Now You Wanna Come Back, released under Delphine Publications in 2009, earning Anna her title as best-selling author  and she didn’t stop there. Her follow up novels Luck of the Draw, Who Do I Run To, Now You Wanna Come Back part 2 and Who Do I Run To Now, has also top the charts on Amazon, coming in at number one for Amazon Kindle. Anna is not only a writer, but she is a radio personality for AAMBC Radio and she writes for her local community for their local monthly new. Soon to release her sixth novel Split Image, Anna is working on the final installment for her hit series Now You Wanna Come Back. The third and final novel is due to release April of 2013 and Anna doesn’t plan to hang her writing shoes on the shelf anytime soon, so readers keep your ears and eyes open for more to come from this romance queen. Anna currently resides in Groesbeck, Texas with her husband Chris and her daughter Tyra. She is currently the GM for a hotel in her area and hopes to one day have a publishing company of her own.

Please tell us about you and your book(s).

My latest book is titled Split Image and it is about a  woman from a small town that pursued her dreams of being a singer against her southern Baptist minister  father’s wishes and ends up in a very bad situation with a man she should have never gotten involved with. She lies about where she is from and her family and hides the fact that she has an identical twin sister, who will suffer for her sister’s bad choices.

Tell us why we should read your book(s)? Well my books are categorized as romance, but they offer realistic story-lines that average people go through. Since I don’t write fantasy romance more readers can relate, because the story lines are based on scenarios that could really happen.

Get to Know Anna:

1. What inspired you to write it?

A dream actually. I dreamed it and woke up looking for my pad and pen.

2. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Spending time with my family. We are close and we do a lot together. We are very competitive and we always have some type of game going on.

3. Do you have a motto?

Yes, it is you get what you put in. If you put in much work, you get much success, if you put in a little, you get a little.

4. What are your pet peeves?

Be a man or woman of your word. Do what you say you’re going to do.

5. If you had a chance to have a dinner date with anyone-dead or alive- who would it be? Why?

Christ, because I have a million and one questions for him.

6. What is one word that describes you?

Funny.

7. What is the best advice someone gave you ?

You can’t hold on to someone who wants to go. You should never have to convince someone to stay with you.

Web-Links:

www.annablack.net

www.twitter/annablack72

www.facebook.com/anna.black.790256

Email address: annablackreaders@ymail.com

www.amazon.com, www.b&n.com, www.smashwords.com, www.annablacknet/books.html, www.delphinepublications.com/home/component/rokquickcart/:view=rokquickcart

Today’s Spotlight: The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men by Rick & Chris Strickland

deep confessions cover

Synopsis:

Inspired by two of the biggest issues we face in America: marriage and infidelity. What if you could really know the deep down secrets that men keep buried inside that only God, themselves and a few close friends know about? What if you could really find out, why men cheat? In this book, men are finally at liberty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Women can finally get true confessions to questions they’ve always wanted to know. They learn not only to think like a man, but to be the kind of lady that men cherish in long term relationships.

Excerpt:

“A man does not come to know what type of woman he needs until he comes to know what type of man he is.”

Why write another book about male/female relationships?  Why regurgitate the same relationship myths and assumptions?  Why do we need another one? This book is for those who want to add structure back to their families, to make relationships stronger, to make marriages affair proof, and to provide a roadmap for change in the lives of our children.  We believe the way to accomplish these changes is through the hearts of men.

Since the beginning of time, men believed actions spoke louder than words. We are known to be action oriented individuals. We are protectors and providers. If there is a problem we try and fix it. If our family

is in danger, we protect them.  It is what we’ve been taught from our youth. We are taught to become a pro: a protector and a provider. We were never really allowed to express how we felt about certain things. When we were kids playing a sport, if we got hurt we had to tough it out. Crying was not an option. We may have stepped out for a play or two, but we had to get right back in the game.

We learned from a young age not to express our true feelings about things. As a result of this we stand in the position that we do today: though we are physically the stronger of the human creation, we are still unable to express our most intimate feelings. This is a real challenge to our manhood. It’s not so much that we are unable to express our feelings. It’s more that we are not “allowed” to express them. All of our life it has been prohibited. Part of it is due to our protective instincts as men. We don’t want to emotionally hurt the person that we are dealing with so we withhold the truth.  The other part of it is our upbringing. We just simply have not been raised to express intimacy or our true feelings. These true feelings are what make up the deep confessions of faithful men. It’s how we really and truly want to respond to things, but haven’t been at liberty to do so.

We believe that if we can uncover the layers of true confessions buried deep within men, our families will turn around. Our children will respect their elders once again. Our little girls will know the true worth of their bodies and not throw them away in an attempt to gain attention. Our young men will learn to respect themselves and others. Our marriages will be rooted in love and bounded by a spiritual truth that is blessed by God. The only way to begin the process of rebuilding families is to uncover the deeply rooted confessions of men. These confessions are only known to a few: God, himself, and his closest friend.

One must ask why it is or how is it that these confessions have laid dormant within the hearts of men for all these years? The answer is simple: all for the sake of trying to find a sense of peace. We bottle up a lot of things inside of us for the sake of peace. Now here is a way to begin to release all of the stress, all of the pain, all of the suffering that we’ve held onto for years. We want to give men the opportunity to be open and honest without being judged by the women in our lives. We want men to finally have the opportunity to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We want to give women an understanding of what men are faced with on a day to day basis. It does not matter what religious organization a man belongs to, he is still faced with the same challenges as any other man. Once you peel back all the layers of religion and race only one thing remains; a man.

Ricky D. Strickland was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 6, 1967 but grew up in Columbus, Ohio.  His Family includes four brothers and two sisters.  He is married to Andrea Strickland and has three children.

Rick served in the military from March 18, 1987 to June 30, 2012.

In January of 1998, he reported onboard Naval Station Bremerton where he distinguished himself as a top performer in his profession.  As the combined bachelor housing’s front desk supervisor and command drug and alcohol advisor, He took on several command and community tasks as follows: West Hill tutoring program, Petty Officer Indoctrination Team, Junior Sailor of the Quarter Chairperson, Seattle’s Feeding program on weekends and Drug Education for youth (DEFY). He was selected Sailor of the Quarter 1999 and Sailor of the Year, 1999.

rick-headshot

Chris Strickland was born in 1971 in the Columbus Ohio.  His Family includes four brothers and two sisters. He received his high school diploma from Northland High School.

Chris majored and graduated Cum Laude in Computer Engineering at Wilberforce University, the oldest historically black university in the USA. He is married with two beautiful daughters, 19 and 10.

Upon graduation, Chris began his career as a System Administrator in the automotive industry at EDS, a subsidiary of General Motors, in Pontiac Michigan.   After several successful years at EDS, Chris decided to return home to Columbus and began his career as a Network Technician with the State of Ohio.

It was in Columbus where Chris began digging deeper into the Word of God and getting the truth on family and relationships. His passion for helping others began to increase rapidly. Chris currently leads bible studies and spends most of his time teaching his children about the ways of God.

Get to Know Chris & Ricky

Tell us about yourselves with the older of the two of you going first.

Rick: I’m a 20 year military veteran of the US Navy.  While serving, I earned a degree in Human Resources from Webster University and shortly thereafter wrote my first book called, The Marks Left Behind.  Understanding that I could make a positive impact through writing, I decided it was time to attack one of the major issues we face today: Infidelity. What has caused the desire to have an affair to outweigh the benefits of being faithful? I became very interested in trying to solve this issue so I teamed up with my brother, a natural problem solver and we came up with our new book called The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men.

Chris: I am a Graduate of Wilberforce University, Cum Laude
with a degree in Engineering. I have worked for many years in my field of study, but left unfulfilled. My true passion is helping people. My heart’s desire is to make an impact in peoples everyday lives. As a result of this, I “stumbled upon” a new purpose in life: writing. I don’t believe one chooses their purpose, God does that for us. This God given purpose actually came by simply listening, which is something that I love to do. I’ve always been the “ear” for
people to vent to and as a result of this, I became somewhat of a problem solver (I guess this is where Engineering came in handy). I then realized that solving problems is what really gives me fulfillment.

Why Should I buy this book?

This book should be purchased because it gives females very honest and open information that will prove to be very valuable in present or future relationships.  It is like taking a test and having all of the answers at the same time. You will pass with flying colors! You will no longer have to wonder why your boyfriend will not marry you or how to keep him committed to you and ONLY you. You will now have the upper hand and can finally say game over or check mate. Also, this book comes to the defense of men, speaking truth those forbidden areas in relationships where men are typically forced to keep silent.

What motivated you guys to write this book?

The motivation to write this book stems from the divorce rate being over 50%. This means one out of every two couples getting a divorce. That is unacceptable to us. This should sound off an alarm in the minds of people. When a marriage breaks down there is a good chance that children will be impacted negatively in some way. We believe that through this book we can help keep families together and also help in rebuilding families that have been torn apart through divorce.

What is the meaning of the title, The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men?

The meaning of the title is an open door into the hearts of men, exposing the innermost and honest secrets which in turn lead to better understanding of what men really want in relationships and why things tend to go wrong.

What is your favorite chapter in the book?

Our favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 4, the Heart to Heart Confessions. In this chapter we surveyed numerous women and allowed them to ask one question each that they really and truly wanted to have answered by men. These women really poured their hearts into these questions. We took those questions to faithful men and in private we had men answer those questions openly and honestly. We created a heart to heart discussion between men and women, privately.

The chapter in the book called, The Brother Confessions, what is this chapter about?

The Brother Confessions is a chapter in the book in which we allowed men to openly confess any secrets, situations, or circumstances involving the opposite sex. These confessions may be about their own wives or girlfriends, or some other female. Confession is the beginning of freedom. The bottom line was to allow men to finally tell the truth about things that have been buried deep within their hearts. These are the types of things that they would never want their wives or girlfriends to know.

You mention something called “moments of stimulation”. What are these moments?

Moments of stimulation is simply the fact that men are being tempted daily by beautiful women that they come in contact with in malls, on the job, at the gym and many other locations.  Though these periods of contact are only for a “moment”, if not under control could lead to acts of infidelity. Each moment builds onto the next moment. How he responds in that moment is directly linked to his home life with his wife or girlfriend. The more and more a man gets stimulated, the more pressure he has to relieve himself of that pressure.

Find the author:

Twitter: @DeepConfession1
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deep-Confessions-of-Faithful-Men/299483886800999
Website: http://www.deepconfessionsofmen.com

Purchase site:
http://www.deepconfessionsofmen.com

Today’s Spotlight: Tears of a Hustler 4 by Silk White

 

Tears of a Hustler 4 picks up right where Part 3 left off… The Spades are a new powerful organization out to clean up the streets and put an end to drug dealing and crime in the community. The Spades leader, a dangerous man that goes by the name Wolf won t rest until his mission of cleaning up the streets and making the community a nice safe place to live is accomplished, but standing in his way is Pauleena and her deadly crew of killers and dealers. Pauleena is all about her money and could care less about Wolf or The Spades. With each side not willing to budge or come to a compromise a long trail of blood is sure to be left behind once the gun smoke clears… You ve been warned! Join Silk White as he takes you on another ride that you won t forget.

Excerpt:

 

From:              Pauleena Diaz

Subject:           The Consequences

Date:               September 16, 2012

To:                  Wolf

Wolf I’m going to keep this short and sweet…  Fuck you and fuck your consequences…  When you see me, you know what to do!

 From:              Wolf

Subject:           You’ve Been Warned

Date:               September 16, 2012

To:                  Pauleena Diaz

You have a real filthy mouth for a woman.  I just hope that your bite is as loud as your bark…  I’ve asked you nicely to stop slanging poison to my people.  You refuse so now me and The Spades will respond accordingly…  Ms. Diaz you’ve been warned!

 From:              Pauleena Diaz

Subject:           Fuck You!

Date:               September 16, 2012

To:                  Wolf

Mr. Wolf just by reading your e-mails I can tell that you are a clown and I look forward to running into you.  All I ask is that you keep the police out of this…  It started in the streets so lets keep it there…  This is how I feed my family.  This is how all my people feed their families so if you think for one second that I’m going to lay down, you my friend are in for a rude awakening.  This is what I do.  This is what I been doing and this is what I’m going to continue to do…  Like I said, I look forward to running into you Mr. Wolf.  Just know there will be shots fired on site….  You’ve been warned!

 

A native of Harlem, New York, Silk White began his writing career in 2006. He is the author of the three part Urban Fiction series Tears of a Hustler and Co-Owner of Good2Go Publishing and Good2Go Films. Silk has No Way Out and Black Barbie as a film credit under Good2Go Films and in his spare time, loves to write and act. He is currently producing a new movie and is hard at work on his next novel.

Interview with Silk White

1. Tell me about the finale to your critical acclaim trilogy Tears of a Hustler?

This book is the finale to a trilogy that was written 2 years ago.  We took our time with releasing part 2&3 to help build up our fan base in between releases.  It’s a classic finale that all our loyal fans have been waiting for.  I promised I wouldn’t let them down and according to the reviews we have received so far, everyone is happy.  Check amazon.

2. What made you decide to start your own publishing company rather than signing with an establish publisher?

Well after Tears of a Hustler PT 1 was released I had several offers on the table, but from a business standpoint it just made more sense to release my titles under my own company.  In the short term it’s a lot of work because you have to build your fan base one fan at a time, because you don’t have any distribution.  But once you’ve established your brand like we have, you make 100% of the profit. At the rate we’re going we should be one of the biggest independent african american owned publishing companies out there in a few years.  We’ve reached over 130,000 households in two years with no help.   Right now we have good2go publishing and good2go films our movie Production Company and Third Lane Marketing.

3. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing was a natural process for me, growing up in the environment that I grew up in and my life experiences help enhanced my already vivid imagination.  My ability to translate my imagination thru writing was a god gifted talent that I discovered when I was going thru unforeseen circumstances.

4. What’s the best thing about being an author?

I really appreciate all the love and support that I get from the fans.  They are the ones that keep me motivated.  It’s amazing to see all the support that I get from all parts of the country, outside the country also. Shout out to all my UK Fans. I never thought that one day my work would have reached over 70,000 households.

5. What are you working on now?

Well I just wrapped up my 5th book which is slated to be released Nov 25 2011.  Its called The Teflon Queen.   So be on the look out for that. You can pre-order an autograph copy now from www.good2gopublishing.com  I also just finished shooting my 2nd movie under good2go films its called Black Barbie.  The first movie is called No Way Out you can get that at www.good2gofilms.com

6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

This piece of advice is not just for writers but any aspiring entrepreneurs out there.  Especially, the youth coming from underprivileged communities.  Sometimes in life we get a bad hand to play with. You have to make the best out of the hand you’re given. The best piece of advice I can give is, spend all your time and energy focusing on accomplishing your goals whatever it may be, you’re going to get results.  Surround yourself with good people you trust, Sleep 5hrs work 19hrs.

I just want to say Thanks to everyone out there for the love and support.  Keep supporting me and Good2go Publishing

CONTACT INFORMATION

WWW.GOOD2GOPUBLISHING.COM
WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GOOD2GOPUBLISHING
WWW.TWITTER.COM/GOOD2GOBOOKS
Purchase Link:

Tears of a Hustler PT 4  http://amzn.to/OYvG6x
He Loves Me, He Loves You Not  http://amzn.to/SFSkRN

Today’s Spotlight: Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh

Synopsis: When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted  family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost  and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate  driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of  friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena  knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her  fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that  way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done  the same. But love’s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where  they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands  this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her  mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is  already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward  family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had.  And away from him.

Excerpt:

“Shall I send in Mr. Tanaka?”

The intercom jarred her back to reality. The notion of Daichi Tanaka having to ask twice to

enter her office had a sobering effect whose only equivalent was a pink slip.

“Jesus, of course!” Deena cried. “Tell Mr. Tanaka that there’s no need to ask. Please, send

him in.”

Breathless, she stood and rushed to the door, opening it with a potent sort of dread. A short

pause later, she was met not with the senior Tanaka, but the decidedly more favorable junior.

“If only I were welcomed so warmly everywhere I went,” Tak sighed as he stepped into her

office.

Deena stared after him.

“I thought you were your father. I thought—”

He held up a hand. “Don’t. You’ll spoil the warm feeling your gushing invitation gave me.”

He turned to the flowers.

“Did you like them?”

Her eyes widened.

“They’re from you?”

Tak shrugged. “Thought you could use a little sunshine. Was I right?”

The corners of her mouth turned up just a tad.

“Yeah.”

She turned from him, eyes suddenly wet. Counting backwards, Deena waited until the tears

abated, pretending to fuss over the larkspur. Once safely dry-eyed, she turned back to him.

“So, Mr. Tanaka, what brings you here?”

“Stopped in to see my dad.”

He smiled at her sudden blush, no doubt remembering the choice name  she had for the older man before the father and son link had been  established. Tak ventured over to the flowers and fingered them  halfheartedly.

“And to see you,” he said quietly.

“Oh?”

She heard the breathlessness in her voice and frowned. What was that?

“You know—”

He slipped a calla lily from the bouquet and held it up for inspection. The stem was long and

olive, the bulb mango and vaulted. It made her think of a ballerina in repose.

“I saw this thing,” he said. “And it made me think of you.”

“Thing?” she echoed.

He looked up.

“An article. About curry addiction. Have you heard of it?”

Deena shook her head, more confused now than before he’d begun to elaborate.

He stuck the lily back in its vase.

“Well, it’s a just a theory, really. Some people think that when you eat really hot food, that

the pain from it makes the body release endorphins.” He leaned against her desk. “Supposedly,

you get this natural high from eating hot foods and it leads you to want more and hotter curries,

the same way any other addiction makes you want more.”

“And that made you think of me?”

“Sort of. When I read it, I thought to myself, if anyone needs to get high, it’s Deena.”

She paused, unsure of how she should respond, certain she was supposed to be offended. But

she laughed. The boy had no idea how spot on he was.

Tak smiled, clearly pleased with himself.

“No rush to go curry hunting, mind you.” He nodded towards the flowers. “Maybe when the

sunshine wilts and you could use some of a different kind.”

Deena lowered her gaze, suddenly shy, exposed.

“Unless…”

“Unless what?”

She bit down on her lip, taken back by the automatic need to answer.

Tak shrugged. “I don’t know. I just hate to think that you’re going to spend your evening

alone in some apartment you’ve got decked out like this sad-looking place.”

Deena looked around.

“You don’t like my office?”

He stared. “You do?”

She laughed, despite herself. That made three—three times she’d done so since her brother’s

death—all three because of him.

“I think this place is cozy. Streamlined. And conducive to work.”

“It’s barren.”

Deena balked.

“What are you talking about? I have Hope and your bouquet. It’s positively radiant in here.”

He looked around. “Hope?”

Deena blushed. “She’s my bonsai.”

Now he would laugh. But he didn’t.

“Maybe one day you’ll tell me how she got that name,” he said softly.

She lowered her gaze once more.

“Maybe.”

They fell silent.

“So,” Tak said suddenly, loudly. “Dinner? Six? Meet you in the lobby.”

Deena sputtered. “Oh, I don’t know I—”

He held up a hand.

“Listen, you don’t even have to talk to me. Just a little company and good conversation if

you want.” He shrugged. “At least I hope it’s good.”

Briefly, she thought of the box

“And you don’t mind if I’m not good company?” she squeaked.

He was already heading for the door. “Not at all.”

She smiled at his back. “Okay then.”

He paused, a hand on the doorknob.

“Excellent. There’s a new place on Ocean Drive called Spiced. Everything’s lava hot. We

can burn a hole in our mouths then try to cool it with ocean water. You’ll love it.”

Deena grinned, watching the door slam behind him. Something told her she might.

 

Their first night together was filled with incendiary curries from India and crashing waves

from the Atlantic. Dinner ran long and the coffee cold, before Tak and Deena were ushered out

at closing. They returned again the next night and opted for decidedly more adventurous fare—a

black bean and squid ink soup for her, Moroccan sea bream and braised rabbit for him—all made

searing with a bevy of chilies, pastes, powders and spices. And after closing this time, they

walked along the shore with a sliver of moon illuminating the sky and plans for a third night on

their lips.

of tissues that had been her constant companion for the last

few nights.

 

Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now calls sunny  Miami, Florida home. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science  from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova  Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for  crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the  inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing  her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.

Get to Know Shewanda:

1. What’s unique about Crimson Footprints?

A few things. For starters, I’ve paired a biracial African American  girl with a Japanese American guy for a passionate romance. They connect on a multitude of emotional and physical levels, and you as the reader, have the opportunity to see that unfold. Second, I offer the “real” Miami as a setting, the contrary Miami where the richest and poorest of  Americans all live in the same glamorous city. Third, both hero and  heroine, Tak and Deena, are unique individuals that jump off the page  and into the heart. In other words, they’re really real.

2. Why interracial romance?

I have a thing for cultural boundaries. Interracial romance is only  one aspect of that. There are also economic  and/or religious  boundaries, too. You get to see that in Crimson Footprints, too.

3. What part of Crimson Footprints did you most enjoy writing or creating?

The romance between Tak and Deena, two contrary figures who didn’t  appear to belong together, but fit together perfectly nonetheless. I  also enjoyed fleshing out Deena’s career and making it a total  reflection of her character, beliefs, and hardships. There is symbolism  in her work as an architect, and that was something I enjoyed exploring.

4. What makes a good story?

Well-developed characters with motivations both big and small, old  fashioned plot development, a climax that makes sense, and a satisfying  ending. Throw in a cliffhanger or two and you’re working with something  blockbuster.

5. Who are your literary heroes?

Zora Neale Hurston, first and foremost. Toni Morrison and Amy Tan second.

6. What are you reading now?

Right now I’m in love with all things even remotely YA dystopian  romance. In the last few weeks I’ve read the Hunger Games Trilogy,  Divergent, Insurgent, and a ton of other stuff. I’m reading Matched by  Allie Condie, but by the time you read this, I’ll be done with that and  on to something else.

7. What’s next in the writing realm?

I have tons of stuff in the works. The sequel to Crimson Footprints  will release with Delphine Publications in a few months. Right now I’m  working on a genealogical history of my family. After that, I plan on  releasing a six book series about an African American girl and Asian  Indian guy whose families are the best of friends until they fall in  love.  Expect sparks!

 

Web-Links:

www.shewandapugh.com https://www.facebook.com/Author.ShewandaPugh

http://shewandapugh.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/ShewandaP

Shewanda@hotmail.com

http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Footprints-ebook/dp/B00885VJ9A/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crimson-footprints-shewanda-pugh/1100631063?ean=2940014715812

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