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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Ch. 2 Excerpt: A Good Dose Of Pleasure by Zuri Day


A Good Dose Of Pleasure by Zuri Day
 

 
One sexy Morgan man may have finally met his match in a talented and beautiful young widow. But will their ambitions come between them?

When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she’s finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.

Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant. The grant will make a new research center possible. . .once the beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is demolished. Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Can their red hot love survive this heated war of wills?


CHAPTER 2

On the other side of the country, 1,542 miles from Omaha to be exact, Dr. Gregory Morgan looked at his caller ID and thought WTH? Last week it had been Venita blowing up his phone after getting the number on the pretense of using him as a reference. Venita was a beautiful brunette and a capable nursing student who hoped to one day work alongside him. That would truly be fine with Gregory. Alongside him was one thing. Beneath him, which he’d discovered was her real MO, was quite another.

The month before that it had been Pamela, a woman he’d known since college. They’d run into each other on the streets of Beverly Hills. He’d been genuinely glad to see her and had readily accepted her request to have drinks and catch up. He agreed on sipping and reminiscing, but her thought was to get him caught up in the affairs of her life, and after hearing her hour-long diatribe about an abusive husband, a cheating ex, and a son just put on Ritalin, he knew that dating her was the last thing he wanted to do. He even turned down her request to give her son a professional diagnosis. “I’m an emergency doctor, not a psychiatrist,” he’d told her, before offering the name of a colleague in the mental health field. She declined the information. He’d had only three words for her when she invited him to continue their reunion in the comfort of her home. No. Thank. You.

And now it was his friend-with-benefits calling. Again. He and Lori Whitfield had known each other since childhood, after meeting as neighbors in the town of Long Beach. They’d dated in high school, kept in touch through college, and would scratch each other’s itch in between relationships. He liked Lori because they were both on the same page: driven professionals who believed love and marriage took a backseat to goals and aspirations. She was determined to succeed in Hollywood, so when he heard she was dating an up-and-coming director, he’d thought it was a career-enhancing hookup and wished her well.

But then she’d called a week ago, with doubts on whether or not her latest liaison was really a good idea. Already her producer partner was showing signs of insecurity and possessiveness. The last thing needed, she’d explained to the doctor, was an industry player blackballing her career. Gregory had agreed, and had gone over to make her feel better. After a hot and hearty “tune-up,” he’d brought his behind home like he always did, totally prepared to hear about the next guy not long from now. Instead, she’d invited him to breakfast the next morning.

Strange, he’d thought, considering that the bedroom was the only place they usually assuaged their appetites. But he went anyway. They were friends, after all, and a man had to eat. Ten minutes into the meal and he knew why his intuition had thrown up a warning sign. For the first time since he’d known her, Lori started talking about marriage and motherhood, about not getting any younger and about not wanting to grow old and die all alone. He’d listened and tried to offer consoling advice. She was a dear friend, one whom he couldn’t imagine trying to throw hints of interest in his direction. If anybody knew where he stood on family, it was Lori. He’d come from a good one and one day envisioned being a husband and dad. But that would come later, after he’d fulfilled his goal of becoming known as a pioneering physician and ensuring his late father’s legacy.

Women chasing Gregory was not a new thing. Since childhood he, his older brother, Michael, and his younger brother, Troy, had always had their share of attention from the females. The Morgan Magic, Michael used to call it. Michael had always taken full advantage of the attention, but Gregory had been too focused on school and work to have more than one woman at a time. Lately, even one woman had proved too much, which was why he felt the arrangement with Lori was so advantageous. Looking at the caller ID again, he thought maybe not. Maybe his FWB good thing was about to come to an end.

He reached for the phone and prepared to push the speaker button, realizing the irony of his life starting to look a little like the one his brother used to live, the life he’d teased Michael about before he got married. Michael used to juggle more women than could fit through the revolving doors during lunch hour at Macy’s. Gregory didn’t understand how Michael had done it. Because here he’d only been juggling a few women for a few weeks via telephone calls, and having a night of good sex every now and again, and he was emotionally exhausted.

“Hey, Lori, what’s up?” He made his tone sound busy even though at the moment he was only half watching ESPN.

“Shortly, I’m hoping it’s a certain part of your anatomy,” she purred. “I’ve got a light afternoon and thought I’d stop by.”

“You’re a tempting morsel, but unfortunately I have to pass.”

“I thought you were off on Tuesdays.”

“I don’t have to go to the hospital, but I’m still working, doing some research from home.”

“You know what they say about all work and no play?”

“And you know what they say about keeping one’s eye on the prize.”

“Please, you cannot be serious. You know that you’re already the hospital staff’s darling.”

“I’m talking about another prize—the research grant. They’ll be making a decision soon and I’m being proactive. If I get named as the recipient, hitting the ground running will be an understatement. I want to be able to start making a difference from day one.”

“Spoken like a true Morgan man.”

Gregory smiled. “You know it.”

“Speaking of, how are your brothers?”

“Busy conquering the world; you know how we do it.”

“Um-hmm. Do I ever know how you do it.”

“Listen to you, being a bad girl.”

“That’s the best kind.” A pause and then, “Oh, I need to take this call.”

“Is that your man?”

“I don’t have one of those.”

“Does he know that?”

“Ha! Bye, lover.”

“Bye.”

Gregory hung up the phone, turned off the television, and stretched out on the couch. He thought about the research grant, and how getting it would be the impetus to all of his dreams coming true. Helping people in a way he felt he couldn’t help his father had been a driving motivation since his father’s death years ago. Now, he was closer than he’d ever been to this dream becoming a reality. No one would distract him from this goal. No one would detour him from this date with destiny.

Nobody.

(  Continues…  )

 Copyright © 2013 by Zuri Day.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

About the Author
Zuri Day
is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, ZuriDay.com or on Facebook @ haveazuriday.


A Good Dose of Pleasure  by Zuri Day
Purchase your copy today: http://amzn.com/B00D4AKBGQ

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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Kiera Finds Peace and a Family by Kiera J. Northington

Kiera Finds Peace and a Family 
by Kiera J. Northington
~ Don’t GO through life, GROW through life! ~

As an adoptee, I’m often asked questions like:  “Why are you searching for your birth family? At your age, why even bother?  How do your adopted parents feel about that? Why did your mother give you away?”  My response is always, “Everyone has a right to know who they are, and where they come from.  It doesn’t matter how they feel; it’s my choice.  Mommy didn’t give me away, she died.”  My circumstances are different from lots of other adoptees in the fact that I knew my birth mother and maternal grandparents; my life was perfect, I had all the love a child could possibly want and need. I never knew my birth father, not even his name.  But, I never thought much about it; I had so many people loving me, that I really didn’t notice the gap. 

I will never forget the day the phone call came, to let us know that my mother had a massive heart attack, and was admitted to the hospital.  Back then, children weren’t allowed to visit the ICU under any circumstances; the last memory I had of Mommy was her brushing my hair that morning before school, and she didn’t come home.  Two weeks later, my mother’s best friend sat me down, to tell me that Mommy had gone to heaven.  At the age of eight years old, I was suddenly motherless.  The world as I knew it had suddenly changed, and it wasn’t about to get any better.  Children’s Services said that my grandparents were too old to take care of me, and since my mother’s best friend, whom I’d called “Auntie” ever since I’d learned how to talk, wasn’t a blood relative, she couldn’t keep me either.

I was placed into foster care, and later adopted by my foster family.  At the age of 10, I went to family court with my soon to be adoptive family; the judge read over the paperwork, and then he asked me if I wanted to be adopted and why.  I told him, “Yes, I want to be adopted, because I want to be part of a family.”  Then he asked me if I wanted my name changed; I replied, “No, because then when I look for my real family, they won’t know who I am.  The judge smiled at me, and signed the paperwork.  He also ordered that my given name, middle name, and surname remain the same; my adopted last name would be hyphenated with my birth surname.

The day I was adopted, the court clerk slipped me my original birth certificate, and told me to hide it for future reference; in NY, once a child is adopted, their ORIGINAL birth certificate is permanently destroyed, and a new one issued with the new parents’ names on it.  It’s like they erase your roots, permanently.  Your adoption record is PERMANENTLY sealed, never to be accessed by you, the birth parents, ever again!

For 9 years, after I was adopted,  I was physically abused by my adopted dad.  It started when I was 9, while I was still their foster child, and finally ended the night I graduated high school.  I’ve had a fractured skull, broken ribs, broken wrist, dislocated and broken fingers, dislocated shoulders, twisted ankles, and black eyes.  The doctors now believe that all of these old injuries are what caused me to develop fibromyalgia, and also to suffer from PTSD. 

Once I graduated high school,  I moved to Georgia, put myself through college, got married, and had kids; finally, I had what I thought was a normal life.  I was now a wife, and mother, determined not to treat my children the way that I’d been treated.  On the outside, everything looked fine; I was able to function normally. But, inside, I was a hot mess; I had flashbacks, and horrible nightmares.  I constantly looked over my shoulder, and would jump out of my skin at the slightest noise.  Eventually, my marriage ended badly, and I was left to raise my son alone. 

My youngest son had been murdered, and things had deteriorated for me health wise to the point where I couldn’t work any longer.  I was depressed; tired of the physical / emotional / mental suffering and in 2009, tried to commit suicide.  I had to hit rock bottom in order to pull myself back up.  With counseling, and support from my son, I was able to get myself back together, slowly.  The therapist told me that I couldn’t move on, because I kept rooting myself in the past.  He said that I had to forgive in order to be free of the things holding me down! 

I had not contacted my adoptive parents since 1980 (the year I graduated); so I made the decision to call him; I gave my adopted dad the option to admit what he’d done, and to apologize, so that we could move forward, and be a family in the true meaning of the word.  He refused, so I told him I forgave him, and I wouldn’t contact them again. Talk about freedom!  I felt like I’d finally shed the shackles that bound me! I pulled out my old birth certificate, and started reading all kinds of books about making a family tree; I opened an account on Ancestry.com, after seeing one of those commercials.  A close friend had encouraged me to give it a shot; what could I lose?

It was a few weeks after that, I found my father’s side of the family on Ancestry.com; it was as if in order to make room for them, I had to let go of the hatred and hostility in my heart to make room for the love that was out there waiting on me!  I first made contact with 2 of my brothers; my oldest brother told me that my father looked for me until the day he died, and that if I found him, to tell me he loved me!  Do you know what a feeling that gave me?   And come to find out, when I was contacted by my baby brother, he lived 30 minutes away from me!!! 

This gave me the energy to track down my birth mother’s family, and I managed to find her first cousin, aged 87, who’d done a family tree for me!  He said, “I did a family tree for you just in case you ever came back home.”   Now on both sides, I know names, and how they’re related to me.  Sadly, on Mommy’s side, her cousin is the eldest member of the family, and at 51, I’m next in line.

That was one of the reasons that I’ve been so diligent about finding my birth family;  since finding them, and getting to know them, for the first time in a long time, I’ve felt loved, wanted, needed, and most of all, I’ve got a sense of belonging.  To know who I am and where I came from, that is truly the biggest blessing of them all!

Follow Kiera on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kjnorthington

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Debra Owsley

Intimate Conversation with Debra Owsley

In 2005, Debra Owsley turned her love for reading and her hobby to support her book habit, into the reading accessory and consulting business, www.Simply-Said.net.   Debra works with several major bestselling authors, and independent book stores creating unique gift-marks, book thongs, creative displays and promoting literacy. She also coaches authors on how to promote and market their book on a budget.

Debra never dreamed her two loves would turn into a marketing and promotional business, allowing her to meet authors she has read and admired, working at book events and book festivals selling her treasures. She enjoys meeting other avid readers and book club members. Debra is quoted as saying, “These are my passion marks!”

BPM:  How did you get your start in this business/industry?  Did you have any formal business training? 
Honestly I started this business quite by accident! I am a hair stylist and every year I give my clients a gift as appreciation for their business. We always discuss books we’re reading and most clients read under the dryer. I simply decided to give them bookmarks as a Christmas gift that year. They loved them! Some asked me to make more so they could give as gifts. These were something I only made for myself at that time, just because I loved to read and love collecting  quotes, so I put them on  bookmarks so I could enjoy them!

Marcia King-Gamble was a client of mine at the salon before I knew who she was! She was also one of the clients who saw the bookmarks and asked me to customized some for her for the Goodie Room at the Romantic Times convention. I had been reading her for years and just never put the two together. She is also the person who told me about the trade shows, book events and different festivals that went on. She introduced me to a whole new world I never knew existed.

Donna Hill was my next author client.  She saw the Book Thongs at a 100 Black Women’s Coalition event and she literary took me under her wings and gave my products her seal of approval, which made other authors take a closer look at what I was doing and the philosophy behind it; “give them something they want to hold on to and they also hold on to you.”

The only formal business training I’ve received is what I’ve learned being in the salon industry for many years. Be creative, be on time, do your very best, stay two steps ahead, be impeccable with your word and always surround yourself with people who you can learn from.

BPM:  Tell us about your most popular service and products.
The “Gift-marks” are bookmarks have great quotes or sayings that are designed to inform, encourage and inspire. They come in two sizes full size is 3.5 x 8  and the half sizes are 3.5 x 4.  They can be customized to any book, event, or occasion. They are durable and are heavily laminated and cut by hand with scalloped or torn paper edges to add to their uniqueness. They are the most effective and versatile item because they are more of a gift than just a bookmark.

The Paper Chase Collection was added to the line earlier this year. These have sarcastic book remarks and other things that readers say when reading their books. This collection contains bookmarks, card sized bookmarks and door hangers.

The Book Thongs  are book jewelry for book lovers. They are gorgeous bookmarks that can be beaded or with charms. They will fit just about any size book and they absolutely deliciously girly and we call them Book Charming!  

The “Book Lovers Book Boxes”  I recently added to the Simply Said Reading Accessories line. They are beautiful boxes shaped and styled like books that are filled with all the treasures we book lovers love. Gift-marks, book thongs, a book light, a tote bag, postcards, note cards, book plates, a notebook and pen , even a change purse (if chosen), just to give an idea of treats are available! There are several themes available and it also comes wrapped with a beautiful ribbon.   These are a few of our best selling products from Simply Said Reading Accessories.

I love to create and offer Book Candy for book lovers. I’m always coming up with new ideas and finding things we readers love and need! We readers like our bookish things so as I make them I share them with my fellow bibliophiles.  Please visit my fan page at: Facebook.com/smplysaidreadingaccessories to see more and options.

The products mentioned here are not merely created for readers,  I  also create custom work for many bestselling authors, party planners, wedding planners, organizations, sororities, and many other types of events. They have also been used as coupons and event tickets/ souvenir for many social and corporate events.   I’ve also done work for birthdays or shower gifts for guests. The possibilities are endless and everything is “remarkable.”

BPM:  What separates you and your firm from the competition?
I am an avid reader and I think like a fan. Authors are most times so busy writing and working on the business of their books that they have forgotten how it felt to just be a fan and a reader. If you remember how it felt to be “just a reader” then you can look at things from their point of view.

* What would YOU like if You were the reader?

* What would stand out as significant in the story that was memorable? Not to you the author, but the reader.

* What would make a lasting impression to You if you at your signing or at an event?

* What keepsake would you hold on to forever because it reminds them of the time spent with you?

These things are often overlooked, not intentionally, but they are. These things are taken into heavy consideration when creating a product or gift for your book. All possible angles are looked at to give your readers a “remarkable” memory. I help create those memories and the keepsakes that go with them. I help you to connect with your customers on an intimate level.

Bookmarks are one of the most effective marketing tools there are. They can say a lot and are used frequently which also means they are seen frequently. They work through repetition They are constant reminders of things, people and messages, This is one reason I decided to use quotes and phases of inspiration or provocative thoughts, they stick to your memory. They influence quietly, repeatedly and consistently. Almost like subliminal messaging.

BPM:  How would you describe your experience as a entrepreneur?
Extraordinary!  I can’t believe I get to meet people I’ve loved reading and admired all my life. Authors are my rock stars!  Even 6 years later, I still get absolutely giddy talking to them. Every note and email I have ever received from an author I have and cherish. When they contact me for an order, I do the “Happy Feet Dance” all over my kitchen! This experience for the most part has been an absolute joy.

I remember the first time my name and company was mentioned in the acknowledgements of a book. I had just gotten Donna Hill’s newest release Guilty Pleasures. It was late and I said I would read until I fell off to sleep. I always read the acknowledgements first and I saw my name. I thought to myself I must be more tired than I thought because I’m seeing things. I put the book down and went to sleep. I grabbed the book the next morning to read at work and opened it again and started reading the acknowledgements again and screamed! My name was there! Since then I’ve had many mentions, and it never ceases to amaze me. I still feel like Sally Field when she won the Oscar “They like me, they really like me!”

BPM:  What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for Simply Said Reading Accessories was to get people to understand the value. The retail division of the company was fine but it took a lot of effort to convince authors that these products were the exception to the rule. Bookmarks are an industry standard. I’ve always said that there are times when those 5,000 types are the best option, such as when attending large events. But when you have more intimate settings, when invited to a book club meeting, when you want to gift a reader or you really want to make an impression, that’s when you use a Simply Said Reading Accessories product. Presentation is everything, and how you present yourself and your book is how you will be perceived.

Authors were so stuck on the 5,000 bookmarks for $100.00 that get worn, raggedy and most times immediately  tossed away along with your information.  Realistically,  most authors can’t afford to give a Simply Said product to everyone they meet.  They really have to be taught the value and philosophy of using my products.  But they can be successful in strategically gifting them. Our bookmarks are collectables, limited editions, and keepsakes! They can be gifted, won or rewarded to the ”chosen ones.”

Our products can be marketed around contests, sign up perks, thank you gifts for hosts, thank you gifts for reviewers, etc.  There are endless ways of making these items valuable to your readers.  It’s all in how they are presented. People hold on to gifts, therefore hold on to your information and their memory of the time with you.  That’s the philosophy and the mission of Simply Said Reading Accessories.

BPM:  What advice would you give someone just starting the industry?
Some of the key points I coach my clients are:

*  Start planning your marketing way before your book is released. Have a plan for each phase of your book business.  Create a budget and add at least 30%. Think outside the box.

*  Research who your audience is and where they are. Not everybody is going to think your baby is pretty. Don’t waste your time and money promoting to people who have no interest in your genre or subject.

*  Start putting out hints about your story and about your characters. Use pictures to give visuals of the story.  Be excited! There is nothing worse than a boring person trying to sell you something.

*  Spend money and time on advertising and marketing materials that are duo-purpose. Figure out how to be creative with your promo materials  If you see a sale on advertising or marketing materials, and your not ready yet, buy it now and use it later.

*  Use all social media effectively to interact with readers, but don’t dilute your audience.  Don’t copy, make everything yours. Your BRAND,  is your Signature.

*  Plan which events to attend that will bring you the most traffic and sales. And don’t forget to play in your own backyard.  Don’t forget online events.

*  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Repeat what works, stop what doesn’t.

*  Presentation is everything. Think like a fan. Remember how you felt before you were an author, and use that to connect with your readers tell people want you want them to do. Post reviews, tell friends etc.

BPM:  What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?
I offer every client longevity and a way to be a constant memory in readers lives. Also, I strive to offer a different way of marketing with a more personal touch. I show them how to get the seven touches of exposure needed for people to really see their importance and how to be effective in reaching all of the reader’s senses.

Even when I’m doing a brain storming session with a client, thing come up they never thought of, because they are too close to their book or project. I love to bring out of them a new way of seeing things. It could be a very simple thing to bring their project to life. I love helping and guiding them with that process.


BPM:  How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?

I have certain items that have been and always will be my standard items since Simply Said Reading Accessories began. I’ve added things along the years that I may do for a limited time only to keep them exclusive to the limited edition brand. The mission is for readers to see these products as collectables and keepsakes. Readers are supportive and authors should thank them in special ways.  Simply Said products are incentives to keep your bookmark around.

Saying Thank You and showing genuine appreciation never go out of style, neither does gifting.  Repeat business is what keeps a business going. People will always collect things that has to do with their hobbies.  People like stuff. So I’m offering them needful and useful things, that they need and want. So I am always looking for and thinking about what’s next for my authors and guests. I aim to be the “Go To Girl” for clever book treats and ideas!


BPM:  What are three things all leaders possess, in your opinion?

Vision, faith and believing in yourself and your product.

BPM:  What’s new in your company, Simply Said Reading Accessories?
I’m always thinking up new ideas! Sometimes the sight of something can send me into the creative cave. “Book Charming” is something I’ve been introducing slowly but are doing very well. The Love Notes with the matching half size gift mark are doing well too because they can be any type of card with a gift to match.

The project I’m working hard on right now is the create a line of all occasion giftmarks that are like all occasion cards. The words  Thank You,  Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon, Thinking Of You  are things we all use many times a year. Why not have a special, one-of-a-kind card ready to drop in the mail!

I also am working with several authors that have some really exciting projects coming in 2014 that I’m excited about. But for right now its hush hush!

With the holidays approaching, I have lovely gifts for book lovers in all price ranges and style, and for those doing Secret Santa’s,  Kwanza and Chanukah gifts. I am also working on adding a collection solely for men.

BPM:  How can readers connect with you online and how can we follow your new projects?
Thank you so much for this awesome interview!   I can’t wait to start meeting new book lovers!  The easiest way to see what I’m doing is by signing up for my blog:  http://www.simplysaidreadingaccessories.blogspot.com   or  by joining my Facebook fan page:  www.Facebook.com/smplysaidreadingaccessories 

Debra Owsley,  Simply Said Reading Accessories
Email:  odebdeb@aol.com
Website:  http://www.simply-said.net
Blog:  http://www.simplysaidreadingaccessories.blogspot.com
Like on FB:  Facebook.com/smplysaidreadingaccessories

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Featured Authors

 

Sneak Peek: A Good Dose of Pleasure (The Morgan Men) by Zuri Day

A Good Dose of Pleasure
(The Morgan Men)
by Zuri Day

One sexy Morgan man may have finally met his match in a talented and beautiful young widow. But will their ambitions come between them?

When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she’s finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.

Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant. The grant will make a new research center possible. . .once the beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is demolished. Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Can their red hot love survive this heated war of wills?

CHAPTER 1

She couldn’t do it. After waiting two months, three weeks, four days, six hours, and a few nervous minutes, Anise Anna Cartier couldn’t find the courage to open the envelope and discover her fate. Heck, it had been an easier act to change her name from Shirley Anne Carter to the one she now bore, and that’s something that had belonged to her for twenty-five years. This dream right here, the fate of which she now held in her hands, had only been hers for a matter of months.

“Boomer, what do you think it says?”

Her best friend, a Bernese mountain dog that weighed almost as much as its owner, wagged his tail and trotted over.

“Here,” she continued, holding the envelope down near the dog’s nose. “Do you want to read it and tell me?”

Boomer sniffed the paper, then walked back over to his pillow and plopped down on it. For him, the paper obviously didn’t convey that it was something to eat.

She reached over for a pair of scissors that was on her messy worktable, amid acrylic and oil paints, brush sets, various types and scraps of paper, block pads, cold and hot press sheets, matting, frames, tissues, a soda can, and a half-eaten bag of potato chips. Her hand shook as she used the sharp edge to slit the envelope, the one showing the company name, The Creative Space, in the return address.

The Creative Space. Leaving her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and becoming a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, she’d quickly learned that in the art world it was the place of legends. She’d known nothing about this Los Angeles treasure until she was eighteen years old. That’s when her favorite art teacher and now mentor, Jessica Price, told her all about the place where she’d fallen in love with art and with the man who was now her husband and father to their four kids. The place that was like an exclusive club—an artist couldn’t just show up there, he or she had to be recommended and/or invited. That’s how Anise had gotten the inspiration to live her dream of moving to Los Angeles and learning from the best. The invitation to move to LA had come from her aunt, Aretha Williams. The recommendation had come from Jessica.

Her phone rang and, as had often been the case with the woman Anise swore was psychic, it was Jessica.

“I got it,” Anise said by way of greeting.

“You did? Congratulations!”

“No, I’m not sure whether or not I got the internship, but I got the envelope.” Silence. “I know, I should open it, huh?”

“Uh, that’s normally how people find out they’ve been accepted into the mentorship program at The Creative Space!”

Anise’s scream caused Boomer to lift his chin off his paws and sit up on his haunches. He watched dispassionately as she tore open the correspondence, ripped out the single sheet of paper, and let the envelope fall to the ground.

Anise scanned the contents quickly. “‘It is our pleasure to inform you,'” she read, her voice rising with excitement, “‘that you have been accepted for an internship at The Creative Space for our summer season, beginning June first.’ Oh my goodness, Jessica, that’s only six weeks away!”

“Then I suggest you get off this phone and get busy packing! And if you need any help at all, Shirley, I’m just a phone call away.”

“I appreciate that. And by the way, Shirley doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Come again?”

“I changed my name.”

“What? Why?”

“It doesn’t fit me. Never has, really. My legal name is now Anise.”

“Okay.” The way Jessica drew out the word suggested there was more she wanted to say, but didn’t.

“I don’t expect you to understand.”

“It’s not that. I’m just surprised is all. But, hey.

Whatever floats your boat sails mine.”

Anise laughed. “Thanks, Jessica.”

“Do the people at The Creative Space know about this change?”

“They will as soon as I respond.”

“What about what’s-his-name? How does he feel about your new moniker?”

“I couldn’t care less how Joey feels. What I do is no longer his business.”

“So your on-again, off-again love life with him is off, again?”

“My on-again, off-again situation is over. Finished. Kaput. I swore that the last time I was with him was the last time, period. And I mean it.”

“You’ve said those words before.”

“Yes, but this time they come with almost two-thousand miles of distance getting ready to be between us. This will undoubtedly aid my resolve. I’ve known Joey most of my life. He will always be my first love. But without a doubt I know that he’s not the one I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It’s time to move on.”

“Good for you. With no ties binding you to Omaha you can move to LA and truly spread your wings. And who knows? Your soul mate could be a mere plane ride away.”

“I have sent a message to Derek Luke to tell him I’m coming.”

Both women laughed at this inside joke. Upon seeing the movie Notorious, a movie based on the life of the late rapper Biggie Smalls starring Derek Luke, Anise had sent a copy to Jessica and explained that her future husband had a leading role.

“Listen, sweetie, the kids will be barging through the door any minute now. I need to run and get dinner ready. But remember, if you need me, don’t hesitate to call.”

“With everything I’ve got to do, keep your cell handy.”

“You got it. Bye, Shirley.”

“Anise.”

“Right. Anise. Anise. Anise.” Jessica made a tune of the name as she worked to memorize it.

“Now you’re being silly. But I appreciate you. Thanks so much, Jessica. For everything.”

Anise ended the call and looked around as if the answer to prepping oneself for relocation was somewhere in the room. Just thinking about all she’d have to do in such a short time caused Anise to almost hyperventilate. There was the matter of settling her mother’s estate, which included putting her mother’s house—where she had lived for the past six months—on the market. Then there was the daunting task of handling what remained of her late mother’s legal and medical bills, distributing and/or disposing of her mother’s material possessions, looking for some type of employment in Los Angeles and, shortly after she arrived on the West Coast, finding a place to stay. Sure, her aunt had told her she could live with her as long as she wanted, but Anise knew in time she’d want her own place.

With a final look around, Anise spotted her iPad. She walked over, fired it up, and, after settling on the couch, opened a clean note page. She set up several headings and began listing all of the things needing to be done, in order of importance and time frame. The more she organized, the more she relaxed. Yes, it would be a challenge to complete all these tasks in only six weeks, but she knew the key to finishing anything was simply getting started.

(  Continues…  )

 Copyright © 2013 by Zuri Day.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


About the Author
Zuri Day
is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, ZuriDay.com or on Facebook @ haveazuriday.

A Good Dose of Pleasure  by Zuri Day
Purchase your copy today:  http://amzn.com/B00D4AKBGQ

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Writing: How To Get Started by Trice Hickman

Writing: How To Get Started
by Trice Hickman
 
 

A lot of people say they don’t know where to begin when it comes to writing a book. “How do I get started?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from aspiring writers. I’ll be honest, writing a book is no easy feat. Many new writers obsess about how their story will unfold, the pacing of their plot, and the likability/believability of their characters. And they wonder how their beginning, middle, and end will all come together to form a good book. All those concerns are valid ones. But I think the most important aspect of “getting started” involves discipline.

Books are not written overnight, they are written over time. It is a process, and that process involves making a huge time commitment for the endeavor. Sure, there are some writers who can complete a book in record time and can churn out 10,000 words in one day. I once did 9,000 words, but the next day I felt as though I’d suffered a mild concussion. The truth is, writing requires long, uninterrupted hours of solitary time, where it’s just you and your characters filling up blank pages.

How do you fill up those pages? One day at a time.

Getting started requires an every day commitment. If your lifestyle won’t allow you to write for long hours every day, do something, even if you only write a few paragraphs or go over what you’ve already written. When you engage in the exercise of writing each day, your mind and body will soon grow accustomed to the familiar journey, and it will become a habit. Initially, it can be a challenging thing to do, so I tell aspiring writers to schedule writing time on their electronic calendar. Set the alert/alarm so it reminds you and holds you accountable. Just as you would schedule a hair appointment, doctor’s visit, or a night out with friends, schedule your writing time!

Another thing I’ve found helpful is to record your word count every day.
I keep a writing journal for each one of my novels. When I start writing in the morning, I record how many words I have on paper and I do it again at the end of my writing day. This allows me to see my progress (or lack thereof) and gives me the push to do more than I did the day before.

Each writer will find their own rhythm and what works best for them.
But the main thing is to commit yourself to doing something every day. Disciplining yourself will help you get started and before you know it you’ll have a completed book.


About the Author
Trice Hickman
is an award-winning and bestselling author. Prior to becoming a published author, Trice worked in management positions in higher education as well as corporate America. She holds a BA degree from Winston-Salem State University and an MA degree from Wake Forest University.  Trice Hickman website: http://www.tricehickman.com


Books by Trice Hickman

http://www.amazon.com/Trice-Hickman/e/B002N44944
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/trice-hickman/2106303

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Powder by BlaQue – Intimate Conversation

G Street Chronicles – Powder by BlaQue


BlaQue
, nicknamed the BlaQue Angel because of the twisted and dark stories she weaves, was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area where she currently resides with her son.

BlaQue began writing after reading several Donald Goines books and decided she would love to pen stories in the same gritty, fast-paced manner. After writing her first novel Dirty DNA and allowing several of her peers to read and critique her work, she decided to submit it to G Street Chronicles where she joined the ranks of some of the heaviest hitting authors in Urban Literature.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I first began to write after reading several Donald Goines novels and thinking to myself, I can do that! I wanted to bring that realness back to the Urban Fiction genre. I did not want to write the stereotypical hustler’s tale.

BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
My father was my biggest influence to write. He told me at a young age with all the paper I used writing I should put my talent to use. When he passed away I made a promise to write a book in his honor. His unconditional love for his daughters made me push to complete my first novel.  That is how Dirty DNA, my debut novel,  was born.

BPM: Introduce us to your latest book, POWDER and please share a brief excerpt.
Samantha Underwood, also known as Powder to those who have the misfortune of being her acquaintance, was born to heroine addicted parents. Powder is desperate to find a way beyond the hand she was dealt in life. Growing up as the only white woman in her ghetto, SE Washington, DC neighborhood has had nothing but disadvantages for the lonely, attention-starved vixen.

Constantly ridiculed and bullied, Powder has been tormented beyond her limits and is finally forced to serve up her own justice to all who have hurt her. With a cold heart, darkened mind and tainted past, she lashes out against anyone who gets in her way. However, karma has a funny way of breaking through to the surface and dishing out justice of its own.  Will Powder make her way out of the hood that has raised her or will she fall victim to her own worse nightmare?

Here is a sneak peek into the life of the main character:
My name is Samantha Underwood. With a name like that you would think I am everything I am not. I should have been rich and had everything my heart desired. I should have had men lacing me in ice and catering to my every whim and need. Instead, I wasn’t shit growing up but a black girl trapped in a white girl’s skin. I guess you could say I became a product of my environment. I grew up in the hood, and I didn’t know anything outside of the ghetto that my poor, white trash parents half-assed raised me in.

BPM:  What do you think makes your books stand out from others in Urban lit genre?
My books are somewhat different because they are not your typical street literature. They all incorporate a strong Urban Fiction plot,  but Mystery, Romance and Urban Drama can also be found all within one book. It will keep you guessing right up to the very last page!

BPM:  What do you want readers to gain from reading your books?
I want them to gain a love for reading!  I want them to enjoy picking up a book and never know where it will take them. I want them to keep in mind nothing is what it seems!

BPM:  What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned from this literary journey so far?
I have learned that you have to have a great support team! You have to interact with the readers and you most definitely have to have “thick skin”!

The readers are our biggest critics… and they should be because they are spending their hard earned money on your art form and they don’t have to! They could spend that money anyplace they like and they chose to spend it on you!

BPM:  Thank you for sharing book after book with the Black Pearls Readers!
Follow BlaQue on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/theauthorBlaQue


Purchase Powder by BlaQue – Urban Fiction
Watch the trailer:  http://youtu.be/4GvAJufPH9I

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Featured Authors

 

A Good Dose of Pleasure by Zuri Day

A Good Dose of Pleasure
(The Morgan Men) by Zuri Day

COMING SOON:  OCTOBER 1, 2013


When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she’s finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. She’s even taken a new name to match her new future. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory  Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.

Anise’s goal is to start an art gallery, while Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant.  His opponent for the coveted funding is not Gregory’s only problem. The beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is the same location slated to be demolished to make way for the new research center.

Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Their passion is intense, but can this heated war of wills lead to a lifetime of red hot love? 

New Book Review
“People pursuing their dreams is always a good starting point for love, but drama will ensue.”  –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Read an Excerpt

 Dr. Gregory Morgan turned onto his street, having just finished a rare twenty-four hours straight at the hospital, almost half of them in surgery. His usual grind was twelve, twelve-hour shifts a month, but last night a seven-car pileup during rush hour traffic had occurred on the 10 Freeway,  leaving one person dead and a dozen critically injured. UCLA’s emergency room had been filled to capacity and beyond, with him and a team of four other doctors working round the clock to save lives. Fortunately, they had. Aside from the young man who’d died when his vehicle had spun out of control and been broadsided, no one else had lost their life as a result of this unfortunate accident. Yawning deeply, he rubbed his eyes, already envisioning at least eight uninterrupted hours of deep, dreamless sleep on his king-sized memory foam mattress.

He was four houses away from his own home when he saw her: a darkly tanned treat, all legs and cute behind with shoulder-length hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. Beside her was a dog that could have doubled as a Shetland pony . Gregory couldn’t ascertain whether she was walking her dog, or the dog was walking her. Hello, neighbor! He slowed to watch how her butt seemed to wink at him with each long stride, how the muscles in her calves became defined when foot met pavement, and how her arms and legs flowed in effortless synchronicity. As his pearl white Mercedes cruised alongside her, she tugged her huge dog to the side of the road and glanced over at his car. 

Their eyes locked. Gregory’s breath caught in his chest. Wow. She was as beautiful from the front as she was from the back: big eyes, pert nose, big juicy lips that had him licking his own. Without realizing, he’d slowed his car almost to a stop, temporarily mesmerized by the bewitching natural beauty now half smiling, half frowning as she once again neared his car.

He was straight up busted and too tired—and interested—to care that she’d peeped his stalkerish behavior. Also missing from action was his recent decision to lay off the ladies and put all of his attention to his medical research. Right now, however, Gregory was interested in researching something else. Pressing on the brake, he pushed the button to ease down the window on the passenger side and blessed her with a grand piano smile. “Good morning.”

“Hey,” she said, with about as much enthusiasm as a nun in a porn store. The beast growled. Gregory frowned. Great. You can ride it in a rodeo and then have it guard your house. Both owner and dog kept it moving.
   
Undeterred, Gregory released the brake and pressed down on the gas pedal. He glimpsed a hint of smile before she turned her head. “Oh, it’s like that? You’re going to just throw a ‘hey’ over your shoulder and keep running?”
   
“Yes,” the stranger replied, her eyes slightly narrowed and daring as she answered. “It’s just like that.” She broke into a sprint and cut through a neighboring yard, her four-legged protector right on her heels.
   
Gregory turned the corner. Beauty and the beast were nowhere in sight. He peered farther down the street before turning into the alley that led to the detached garage at the back of his Hancock Park home. That was fast. Where could she have gone? After parking the car, he walked through the rarely enjoyed backyard that had been meticulously landscaped and into the two-story traditional home he’d purchased for a steal when the housing market collapsed several years ago. The back door opened into a hallway with the laundry room on one side and a mud closet on the other. A short walk and a turn landed one into the updated gourmet kitchen, which anchored the open-concept living space next to a mahogany staircase. Gregory didn’t notice any of this as he retrieved a glass of orange juice from the refrigerator before mounting the stairs and heading for the master suite. He didn’t think of his marble-encased shower with the dual rain forest shower heads as he undressed and stepped into the soothing water stream.

As he washed away the tension of the stress-filled shift he’d just finished, Gregory was only vaguely aware of his surroundings. He was too busy thinking about sun-kissed skin and a dazzling smile from the stranger who’d told him it was “just like that.”

(  Continues…  )

Copyright © 2013 by Zuri Day.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

About the Author
Zuri Day
is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, ZuriDay.com or on Facebook @ haveazuriday.


A Good Dose of Pleasure  by Zuri Day

Purchase your copy today:  http://amzn.com/B00D4AKBGQ

Praise for Love on the Run by Zuri Day
Also in The Morgan Men series

“Brims with tension, charm, and the power of love. Contemporary romance fans will savor this book while awaiting the next Morgan story.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Day delivers a lively romance between two people who know how to get what they want. The story flows easily and the sparks fly….” —RT Book Reviews

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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