Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Today’s the day for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. Hop to this page, if you’d like to sign up and join. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Try to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for November are: Ellen @ The Cynical SailorAnn V. FriendJQ Rose and Elizabeth Seckman!

The submission period has closed for this year's anthology contest and now it’s time to make the selections for the judges, which is always challenging. Kudos to those who entered!

Are you on Instagram? We run a different prompt for each day of the month. Participants are welcome to comment or post on their own feed. If you’re posting, use the #theiwsg hashtag and also tag @theiwsg. You can use images, words, or a combination to answer each prompt. Each prompt is explained in more detail on the day it is posted. 

This month's optional question is: How has your creativity in life evolved since you 
began writing?

My process now is a far cry from what it used to be. In the past, I did an outline (sometimes very detailed) but nowadays, I don’t always have that luxury. So, while I’m going through my day, the story will percolate in my head until it’s time to sit and write. Other aspects have changed too, but I find one of the biggest challenges is getting back to the point where I write each day, no matter what’s happening.

So are you doing the Instagram Challenge or Nano? Has your process changed over the years? 

Gemini Rising ... A Powerful Story From a New Voice

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Gemini Rising is a powerful story of one woman fighting adversity, despite terrible odds. We meet sweet Aisha just before she turns ten. Her situation changes with the death of her father, and things grow unimaginably worse when she gets a new ‘guardian’, Angel.

Aisha’s story pulled me in from the opening paragraph and didn’t let me go until the last page. Zephyr, the hero, lives up to his name and is a refreshing wind of change in Aisha’s life. The pacing and suspense kept me hooked as I rooted for Aisha to overcome her circumstances.

Gemini Rising is not for the faint of heart. The ‘hard parts’ are not graphic, but still enough to move you to tears, and there’s hope between these pages. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Although this is a debut offering from the author, Scott's style is so powerful, it’s hard to believe this is her first book. 

I’ll be waiting for more from Ms. Scott.

Cover Note: Love, love, love the cover.

Source: Paperback purchase 

Amazon Link:  Gemini Rising

Bankrolled on Fab Friday!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Today, the ever gracious Chelle Ramsay is hosting me on her blog, Undeniably Chelle.
Bankrolled is in the spotlight today for the Fab Friday feature. Hop on over to learn a bit more about the latest book in my catalogue.

You can also go directly to lrd.to/Bankrolled to check out the book on Amazon.

Bankrolled is Live

Monday, October 15, 2018

So, today, I have a new book on the market. I'm grateful to Xyla Turner for allowing me to write in the Lady Guardians world. 

Bankrolled took my writing in yet another direction and gave me a chance to dabble in my first love, romantic suspense. The research was eye-opening, yet fun and interesting. There are things about the biking world that um, I would have been okay not knowing. And on the other side, you can’t beat the fierce loyalty among this particular group of people.

While Bankrolled is not hard-core biker stuff, I hope lovers of romance will like how I’ve handled the story. The jury’s still out and I guess I’ll know how readers feel when the reviews start coming. The good part of working on new stories is that they usually lead to something else. 

However, this is the part where I discipline myself and go back the second book in the In Medias Res series. For now, I give you Bankrolled.

Strong-willed and independent, Bo 'Spice' Casserly will do what's necessary for her family’s well-being. She's wary of relationships, but when she meets Imari Newsome—who holds the key to keeping her business afloat—she can't help thinking he might be the man to change her mind. 

Bo is unlike any woman Imari has ever met. She's used to doing things her own way and isn't about to change her lifestyle to suit him. He doesn’t understand the bond with her motorcycle club and thinks there's a connection between The Grove Lady Guardians and the person who's stalking Bo. 

Either there's something sinister about the club or Bo is keeping secrets that may put both their lives at risk. Imari must decide whether he can stand the heat or walk away from the woman who has come to mean the world to him.

Bankrolled is available in both ebook and paperback format lrd.to/Bankrolled

#SundaySample Bankrolled

Sunday, October 7, 2018

In the parking lot, he waited until she sat astride Pink Passion before he stepped in close and dropped a kiss to one side of her mouth. "I'm sorry you didn't allow me to pick you up earlier. It would have given me more time with you. I'll touch base later."

Bo came too close to wheezing for her liking and all Imari had done was put his mouth on her for a not-quite-there kiss. Not one to lose her composure easily, she blinked and then said, "Sure."

Although he would have seen her information on file, she had her reasons for not letting him pick her up at home. She was conscious that after she got her helmet on, he watched as she pulled out of the parking lot.

After riding a hundred yards, she came to an intersection. Although it was clear, she slowed a fraction and then kept going.

A couple of minutes later, a screech alerted her to a vehicle behind her. She glanced in the mirror to find a blue Yaris gaining on her. The car had a deep tint and wasn't familiar.

She sped up and as the car gained on her, Bo kept her thumb on the horn. When the Yaris didn’t slow, her heart rate doubled. She gassed the bike again but it was too late, the car accelerated and bumped her back wheel.

In slow motion she tumbled to the ground, cursing. The bike skidded out from under her and she rolled on the asphalt a couple of times. As she landed, the helmet smacked the cement.

Then, her vision went hazy.

Bankrolled is coming on October 15, 2018. Pre-order your copy at lrd.to/Bankrolled

Coming Soon - Bankrolled

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Today, I'm sharing a sample from Bankrolled. It's a suspenseful story about a banker and a biker. Pre-order at lrd.to/Bankrolled

When Bo looked up, Imari’s gaze was fastened on her. “Everything okay?”

She nodded, though she was suddenly uncomfortable, and swallowed some Sprite. Bo didn't understand what was happening. Their connection was too tenuous to be defined, but here she sat concerned over misleading him. What was up with that?

Minutes later, Imari escorted her outside. When they sat in the car, he switched on the engine and reversed from the parking spot. He stopped, with his head cocked to one side.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“The car feels weird. Gimme a sec.”

Imari got out and walked to the back tire on her side. Then, he stooped for a closer look.

A vicious swearword met her when she got out and rounded the car. “What’s wrong?”

Imari's face cleared. “Just a flat.”

His reaction was a bit much, but she put it down to the inconvenience. For the most part, Imari was calm, which was one of the things she admired about him. She liked her men strong and in control of their emotions.

Within fifteen minutes he’d changed the tire. As she sat next to him again, he said, “I’ll come and get you later.”

She shook her head. “Don’t put yourself out of the way for me.”

“That’s not what I’d be doing.”

She had her own agenda, so she patted his arm. “Trust me, I’ll be okay. The clubhouse isn’t far from home. Darius will be okay to take me.”

Imari glanced at her as if he didn’t believe her, but didn’t respond.

In front of her house, Imari walked her to the door, pulling her to him with one arm and kissing her to one side of her forehead. “Call me later.”

Sliding both arms around his neck, she pecked him on the mouth. “I will.”

She kissed his chin, opened the door, turned and caught him watching the street. She didn’t remark on it, but it raised a question mark in her mind.

“Inside.” His tone was gentle but firm.

She raised her brows. “This is my home, you know? I get to call the shots here.”

“You just want to run things. Period.” Imari chuckled and shook his head.

“Bye, Imari,” she said, letting him know he was dismissed.

He reeled her in by the back of her neck and planted another one of those sizzling kisses on her.

When she was breathless and clinging to him, Imari stared her in the eyes asserting his dominance. After one last searing kiss, he sauntered down the walkway.

Cheeky bastard.

Coming October 15, 2018. Pre-Order Bankrolled at lrd.to/Bankrolled 

IWSG Anthology Contest

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I can hardly believe it’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. On the first Wednesday of the month, the members share their fears and encourage others. It’s easy to join, click here to sign up. Try to visit a few new blogs and leave a comment. Alex’s co-hosts for today’s posting are DolorahTanya MirandaChemist Ken, and Christopher D. Votey.

Optional Question this Month: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

When unexpected things happen my writing is the first to suffer. Weeks will pass before I realize I’ve hit a slump and something needs to change. Writing is cathartic for me, so yes, when I sit the world and its problems fall away and I’m immersed until I come up for air. What about you?

And in other news:

The 2018 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest needs your stories!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Theme: Masquerade
A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. 

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

Story Pacing

Monday, October 1, 2018

Every so often, I read reviews where a reader says the book feels rushed. I sometimes read the same novel and come away with a different perspective.

At times, what we perceive to be a rushed book is something else. The ‘rush’ I’m referencing is not how quickly people meet, fall in love, and get into bed. What I’m talking about is pacing.

Writers recognize that every tale has peaks and valleys. We structure them this way to give readers a chance to breathe. Unless, of course, we’re writing a high-stakes, suspense novel.

A skilled writer will drag the reader along by the nose, whether he/she wants to go or not. However, not every writer takes the reader where he/she wants to be. Not immediately anyway. The mark of a good writer is the ability to make you so invested in the character you want to know this minute what’s the next step for him/her.

At the start of the next chapter, the average reader expects to pick up at the pinch point where the MC was a minute ago. The writer may bring another character’s predicament to centre stage – but hey, you still want to know what’s next for the person you left a chapter ago.

Sooo, you race through the current chapter because you want to get back with your favourite character to see if/how they made it over the hurdle. This is how suspense and good story-telling works. I hardly hear readers complaining about this structure in suspense novels. Even so, I’ve had a man tell me he couldn’t fully appreciate Contraband because he didn’t have the chance to catch his breath.

One thing we’re advised not to do is end a chapter with the character going to bed. This creates a natural inclination for the reader to lay the book down. For me, this is true. A sleeping character gives me the leeway to do something else.

The next time you read a great book, work out for yourself whether it’s the character, the sequence of events, or both, that keep you spellbound. What some consider a rushed story is actually the writer doing what he/she does best – crafting a compelling tale.
And no, I haven’t received any bad reviews lately. These thoughts came out of two nicely-plotted stories I’ve read recently.

Agree? Disagree? What say you?

This Can’t Be Us – Spice Anthology

Friday, September 14, 2018

“When did you stop loving my mother,” Li’l Greg asked.

The kids, all six of them, seemed to work each other’s nerves and their parents’ too,a few of them didn’t respect Greg and Karen’s marriage. After one year, it was time to stop ignoring the issues. The weekends were the only time when they were guaranteed to be in the same house. 

“I won’t discuss the issues that destroyed our marriage,” Greg continued. “That’s not the purpose of the meeting. If you want to know the details, you should take that up with her.” Greg snatched up his glass of orange juice almost spilling some. He stormed into the spacious family room and plopped down on the leather couch.

Li’l Greg pushed back from the table; ten pairs of younger eyes following his progression as he joined his father in the family room. He dropped onto the ottoman across from Greg, leaned in elbows resting on his knees. “When can I divorce you?” he asked, as his chest puffed out. 

Greg’s hope seemed to disappear when his broad shoulders fell, his lips pressed in a disapproving line. 

“You left and now you want us to come over here and play Brady Bunch with y’all every weekend?” the teen snapped. “I’m not doing my mama like that.”

As usual everyone, all the way down to the seven-year-old, let Li’l Greg spew his anger speaking for the crew; the only time they seemed united. 

“It ain’t nothing to do out here,” he said, with a sweeping gesture of his lanky arm, “all the way out in the boondocks. It’s like you’re trying to change who you are. But, we’re still the same.” He jabbed a finger in his chest. “You can’t change me. You can’t change us.” 

And just when Karen didn’t think the man/child could go any further, a comment, which in her house growing up could’ve gotten her teeth knocked out, was blurted out of Li’l Greg’s mouth and in his father’s ear. “And she ain’t my mother,” gesturing in Karen’s direction as though referring to some trick in the street.

Karen gripped the edge of the dining room table.

Greg lunged toward his son, screaming, “You’re out of line.” He pulled up short, mere inches from his son. “Get it straight; your mother stopped loving me, not the other way around. When will you understand that?” Greg’s sudden movement wiped the smug look off his son’s face. 

Li’l Greg didn’t respond. His expression went from arrogant to humble. Even though his towering stature meant he could’ve stared directly into his father’s eyes, he wisely avoided his glare. He had been all mouth a few minutes earlier, but he wasn’t that crazy. 

When Karen angled to place herself between the two Gregs, Ava looked up to see who would make the first move and what the move would be, her eyes poised to type. At fourteen, she never said much but that didn’t mean she didn’t have a voice. Karen was totally aware that the tween was her mother’s spy. 

She only came over to the house so that she could provide information to Greg’s ex since information about what happened under their roof always found its way into Nicole’s ear and out of her mouth. If Karen received more than a “hi” or “bye” from Ava, that was a good day. Karen was a non-factor in Ava’s life and she made sure to show it at every point. 

Karen’s fifteen-year-old son, Jalen, stepped forward to speak but paused for a moment. He was what most people would consider a nerd, but the Black Lives Movement had given him a certain bravado that he’d never had. Ta-Nehisi Coates had replaced the science fiction on his bookshelf.
Jalen removed the white earbuds from his ears, in what Karen thought would be an effort to defuse the stand-off. Instead, Jalen erupted with a surprising, “Ma, you like this dude. We don’t have to.” 

Wait. What? This dude?

Counting to ten first, Karen didn’t address his disrespect toward Greg, the man of the house. Because if it was a diversion, it worked. Greg turned his head away from his son and glared at hers. His face became a mask of confusion. 

She’d talk to Jalen later and get him straight on the proper way to address his stepfather, but at least Greg wasn’t about to stomp a hole in his own son.

Greg’s stare bounced between Karen’s son and his, before he snatched his keys from the coffee table. “Karen, I’ll be back.”

“Wait.” Karen tried to grab his arm before he stormed out of the house. Unfortunately, the only thing she caught was the smell of freshly mowed grass as the storm door slammed in her face. She pushed it open and yelled, “Where are you going?”

Greg jumped in his SUV. The passenger side window lowered. “I need some fresh air.”

Karen needed the same.

The next thing she heard was the tires screeching as he sped up the street.

In the anthology, SPICE, readers get a taste of the most anticipated fiction offerings of the year. Readers will enjoy this eclectic blend that will stay with you long after the pages have been turned.
#Fiction #Thriller #Erotica #Goodreads #BookAddict

The Spice of Life

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Here's my contribution to the Spice Anthology ...

Nyoka’s thoughts wandered to Anif as she chatted with the celebrity chef who had the next guest slot on the morning show. Days later, she was still thinking about that handsome Jamaican author who had swept in and captured her with one simple look and intriguing conversations. 

As the filming progressed, she leaned against a wall watching, but her mind drifted to Anif. She breathed in hard, remembering the hint of cinnamon on his breath and the shape of his juicy lips surrounded by the stubble on his face.

The segment ended and she roused herself. The last time she’d been interested in someone, she’d gone overboard. Given her current situation, who had time for that?

He’d be a nice diversion though, as long as he doesn’t get too close.

When she got to the lobby, Judith, the other makeup artist, brushed shoulders with her on the way into the building. She smiled wide, but the gleam in her eyes put Nyoka on alert. “Haven’t seen you since you came back from the coffee shop the other day.”

“I’ve been around,” Nyoka said, but a boulder dropped in her stomach. 

The woman had seen her with Anif.

As her mother would say, Judith was dangerous, like a snake in the grass.

In the open air, Nyoka inhaled the summer. This was part of what she liked about Miami, the weather was similar to home. Minutes later, she skipped up the steps to her ground-level townhouse and instead of going next door to Aunt Gem’s house, she went home. Her heart ached knowing Gabrielle was a few feet away, but it was better to visit the clinic before collecting the baby. If she stopped in, Gabrielle would fuss when she left again. The thought made her teary, but Nyoka threw her bag on the bed, then stepped in the shower. She had a thing about getting clean before going in for treatment.

While Nyoka was bathing, Sierra, her bestie, came into the apartment using her key. Her job as a flight attendant meant she kept odd hours, but she was dependable and supportive. 

After her shower, Nyoka found Sierra sitting on the bed. She had slicked her naturally wavy hair away from her face and her deep-brown complexion and bright eyes glowed with health. Pointing to the clothes on the bed, Sierra said, “You’re going out for treatment?”

Nyoka nodded. “Yep, today’s the day. Remember I’m doing it at home soon.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve blocked it on my calendar,” Sierra confirmed.

“Great.” In the mirror, Nyoka threw her a smile. “What if I told you I met a cool Jamaican guy today?”

Sierra’s jaw dropped open, then she squealed. “For real?”

“Uh-huh. He’s a writer who did a segment on the show this morning.”

“Are you seeing more of him?”

Smiling wide, Nyoka teased Sierra. “Maybe.”

“Come on, spill it.”

“There’s nothing to tell yet. But, if I go and mess about with him I could lose my job. The station frowns on staff and clients fraternizing. Anyway, you know how I feel about men and relationships.”

Sierra sucked her teeth. “Pschaw. Don’t let your experience with that bum make you miss out on a good thing.”

“Honestly, after the way he used me for a leg-up with his career, it’s not easy to trust anybody.”

“I know, but it’s been almost two years,” Sierra said, “and you got a beautiful daughter out of it.”

The thought of Gaby softened Nyoka’s heart. “True that.”

“Enjoy the ride and forget that wanna-be photographer,” Sierra said, “He isn’t worth your time.”

“Good advice. I think I’ll take it.”

At the clinic, Nyoka had time to think but she hated letting DeWayne occupy space in her head and hoped he wouldn’t turn out to be a problem. He’d followed her Instagram account and liked pictures of Gabrielle. The message he sent yesterday jarred her.

Can I see my daughter?

She hadn’t responded and didn’t plan to acknowledge him.

The door of the treatment room opened and the technician entered to check the machine and her vitals.

Nyoka rested against the back of the chair, swiped the screen on the Kindle, and checked her social media accounts. Two additional messages from DeWayne awaited her on Instagram.

I need to talk to you.

If you haven’t changed your number, I’ll call you later today.

Her heart thumped in a slow, painful rhythm.

Nothing good could come of him contacting her. After ending their relationship without a word, what reason did he have to talk to her now?

In the anthology, SPICE, readers get a taste of the most anticipated fiction offerings of the year. Readers will enjoy this eclectic blend that will stay with you long after the pages have been turned.