Tradition by AlTonya Washington
New Island has been quiet for a long time-too long. Now, the time has come to return to a place where a tradition was born. Some will return to honor it. Others will return to destroy it.
Off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina New Island was home to many things-among them stories of resilience and rebirth. New had been home to Frayzer Guthrie before the depraved events of a night 16 years prior removed him from his home and the girl that he loved. When business motivates his return, Fray finds that the girl is now a woman and that his feelings for her have remained unchanged.
Ellia Taylor was still very much in love with the boy-now man-she’d dreamed of spending the rest of her life with, but how could they ever go back to what they were? Things had changed and that fact was about more than the passage of time. New Island was a place of resilience, rebirth… and revelations that would scandalize the names of many powerful families. New Island’s dark tradition was an ugly story that was at last ready to be told.
Watch the “Tradition” Book Trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IxOTvLX2XYc
Review Written by Edwina Putney | 5.0 out of 5 stars
Tradition by AlTonya Washington is an amazing story that shows how family traditions of horrific acts and the ensuing cover-ups can destroy lives in those and future times. The destruction of the teen love and lives of Frayzer Guthrie and Ellia Taylor, as well as the relationships and lives of his cousins, Warwick and Zyon, and her cousins (their girlfriends) Seela and Moira. Hideous, secretive acts, reminiscent of those perpetrated by slaveowners against slaves, were performed on Ellia and her cousins, which caused hatred of and estrangement from Frayzer (Fray), Warwick (War), and Zyon (Zy).
But sixteen years later, the guys have never stopped seeking revenge against those responsible for the dark legacy handed down and perpetuated in an updated, yet still despicable, version. And then there is knife-toting Ellia, who nurses the anger and betrayal, yet knows deep down that her love for Fray never truly died. When he returns to New Island, apologizes and romances her, then gets her help in uncovering buried evidence, we see the truth in ‘a thin line between love and hate’. It’s not an easy path to recover from feelings of guilt on his part and betrayal on hers. So the question is, can they?
AlTonya Washington does an amazing job with fusing the historical and present-day, showing the cycle of romance, and the depths to which people are willing to sink to preserve their ill-gotten gains. Then, even after resolving the mystery, Ms. Washington ends the story with a “wow” moment from the past which will definitely affect Fray, War, and Zy in books two and three of the trilogy. I can’t wait! Kudos to AlTonya Washington for a good beginning to another promising series.
Excerpt from Tradition by AlTonya Washington
Fray judged he’d gotten about three hours of sleep the night before. Not bad, considering 4 was usually all he needed.
Besides, he didn’t think he was in the mood to hear anyone tell him everything would be alright. He couldn’t believe that-not after last night. The way El looked at him when she’d pulled away- it hadn’t been fear.
Well…it had, but not fear toward him, he surmised. What he saw in her eyes last night was something deeper, closer to despair. More than anything he’d wanted to stay with her- to refuse to leave until she told him what had put that look in her eyes.
Of course it could’ve only been one thing. Memories of the branding ritual had taken their toll on his concentration more than a few times over the years. He’d trained himself to get by on little sleep because when his mind was at rest, all he could see was El’s face. Her lovely face terror-stricken. He could feel her bracing against his hold and hear her shrieking his name- begging him to help her- to make it stop before she’d gone silent and refused to beg anymore.
Fray rubbed his fingers over his head and kicked the tangle of covers from his feet. He wanted a shower and was stalking naked into the bath when his room door came alive with the sounds of impatient knocking. Frowning, he switched courses and went to peer through the privacy window. Finding El on the other side, cleared his mind of everything including the state of his dress-or undress as it were. He whipped open the door.
“Are you okay?” His rough voice had turned softer in the wake of concern. The gray-flecked depths of his eyes mirrored that concern as they fixed on her face. He spared a moment to appraise the cut of her dress, but he forbid himself to think about what he’d give to see her out of it.
Ellia didn’t notice his reaction to her clothes. Her eyes had already drifted below his waist.
“Are you alright Elli?” He caught her wrist and pulled her into the room.
El intended to respond with the obligatory ‘I’m fine’, but no sound emerged. She managed to drag her eyes to his staggering face for a few brief seconds before they were helplessly sliding below his waist.
Fray finally understood what had his unexpected guest so preoccupied. “I’m sorry,” with an adorable wince he shook his head and released her wrist. “I was going to shower, I’ll um- I’ll go put somethin’ on.”
“No I-” she caught his wrist, released him quickly. “It’s alright I…” Again, she was preoccupied by the picture that was hers alone to survey.
She had already noticed how changed he was from the boy she’d known. That fact was never more obvious than in that moment. The flawless pitch of his skin accentuated his perfect build in striking fashion. More lean than massive, the ropey muscles, long arms, legs and torso gave him the appearance of a living weapon.
Fray took Ellia’s incessant staring to be anything other than feminine arousal. Again, he winced while observing himself. “I’m sorry about this, El. I’ll go get dressed-”
Fray blinked then as the hint of awareness began to filter his eyes. He swallowed noticeably, watching her hand ease beneath her arm where she found the zipper tab to the killer dress she wore. She eased the tab down.
Fray heard a groan and knew it had come from him when the dress pooled around the stunning pumps that adorned her feet. He saw that she’d come to him wearing nothing else and was bracing to push off the door and go to her, when he blinked. Sleek brows met as his head inclined a fraction.
“Elli?” His voice was hollow, barely a whisper.
She forced her eyes to remain fixed on his face. She didn’t want to, but needed to see his reaction to what had become of her. His reaction wasn’t what she’d expected. She’d been prepared to see shame, regret, even repulsion.
Once his initial shock had eased though, it gave way to distinct rage that had his hands curling into fists. His eyes met hers again and El wasn’t sure what to make of the rage that was still ignited there. The emotion caused the gray flecks in his stare to glint like silver shards against an onyx backdrop.
She held her ground as he advanced. Shock flooded her eyes when he took a knee before her and pressed his forehead to her thigh- to his family’s brand marking her skin.
“I’m never going to get you back, am I?” He asked after a weighty moment.
Confusion had El too stunned to respond at first. “Why? Why would you want that?”
The question brought Fray to his feet and then he was pressing his forehead to hers. “Elli, how could I not?”
She shook her head against his. “But this,” she eased back to look down at herself. “This changes things.”
His eyes were on hers again. The rage melded with a determination that made the gray flecks glint vividly. “Not one bit,” he said.
( Continued… )
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Genre: Family Saga, Romance
Intimate Conversation with AlTonya Washington
AlTonya Washington has been a romance novelist for 15 years. She’s traditionally published with Harlequin’s Kimani Romance imprint, winner of the Romance Slam Jam EMMA Award and two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award. AlTonya is a mom and works as a Librarian.
In 2015, she received scholarly publication for her article An Indie Author in a Library World . She enjoys a successful indie author career and is best known for her Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series. Check out her reader website: https://alsreaders.weebly.com.
BPM: Was there anyone early in your career that recognized your talent and help cultivate it?
I actually like to credit friends/classmates who always told me that I should be a writer or that I should change my major from Mass Communications to English. They recognized that writing desire long before I did. I often wished I’d listened to them, but wonder if I’d be loving it (writing) the way I do if I’d taken a different route in getting there.
BPM: How do you stay on top of your game professionally in the publishing industry?
I can’t stress this enough I READ!!! READ A VARIETY OF GENRES!! Sorry to sound preachy, but it really does bring a wealth of benefits to the work. For one thing, it gives a writer the distance we sometimes need from our projects and can’t bring ourselves to take without a good reason. Reading is the BEST reason. Sometimes it helps to bring a fresh perspective to your work. It always benefits the vocabulary-way more fun than reaching for a thesaurus.
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
Tradition is available on Nook, Kindle and a host of other reading platforms. Tradition is a contemporary family saga romance and it focuses on what the title implies-a tradition that originated on New Island, a private -unincorporated- spot off the coast of Charleston, SC centuries earlier. The ‘tradition’ was one that was outlawed by many on the island, while others worked to keep it alive. That tug of war had consequences on the main characters that pulled them apart for many years. A sequence of events will bring them back into each other’s lives, along with the unrest that continued to brew amid desires for revenge and atonement.
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Amazon Link: http://a.co/aqKp1gX
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Our hero, Frayzer Guthrie and heroine, Ellia Taylor are two lovely people inside and out but both are deeply wounded by the events that took place and subsequently tore apart their budding romance years earlier. For Fray the wounds are more on the emotional end of things. He blames himself for what happened, for not doing more to change the outcome of the terrible night that changed everything. What makes him so special is his potential to be lethal and yet that quality is tempered by intelligence, compassion and an unwavering devotion to the only woman he’s ever loved. What makes Ellia so special is the quiet strength that she wears like an accessory. Her wounds have taken a different kind of toll that have changed her greatly from the person she once was. What hasn’t changed, however, is her love for Fray.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space that you find inspiration in?
I find inspiration in the time I have to write. Space rarely matters, but give me a relatively quiet place with a nice large table where I can spread out all my stuff and I’m in heaven. When I have the chance though, I do enjoy writing in libraries and restaurants that have good atmosphere.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
As a librarian and an author I enjoy research most of all. The history of New Island is woven through this book and required more study than I’m used to putting in when working on a contemporary title, so that was a refreshing change. Although New Island is a fictional place, there were aspects to crafting the place and the drama surrounding it that required me to put my serious researcher’s cap on.
BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
I always enjoy this question because the answer usually varies. The time it takes on a book is relative. I used to say it depends on how long or involved the story is, but I’ve found that’s not even a great way for me to calculate time to write. I’ve written some of my lengthiest titles in as little as 2 months (that’s right…and those have been some of my most successful works…go figure…) I think it depends on the story and how the characters grip me. That’s not to say that all my characters don’t grip me, but there are moments when I know how I want the story to play out and I want to finish it before the idea evaporates. Now when life intervenes or there’s extensive research involved or when we get to the typing part…that’s where things can change.
BPM: Talk us through your experiences as a self-published author. Why did you go down this route?
My first self-published titles were done out of a sincere need to have more freedom with my work. If a story-line called to me, I wanted the freedom to explore it without later being told that I needed to change it because it didn’t follow certain guidelines. Finding that freedom in self-publishing has allowed me to bring more enjoyment into the more structured realm of my traditional work.
BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project?
I understand how important it is to stick to schedules-to commit to writing a certain amount of chapters or words a day. I don’t work that way, but realize that everyone’s writing style varies. I would suggest to a writer who is challenged in this area, to yes, make the effort to write each day. Rather than adhere to demands for specified wordage, however, listen to yourself. Understand when the work is going flat, when what you’re writing has lost its zing. You may still be a few hundred words off from your goal, but you’ll be more confident that your efforts for the day yielded better results. Writing in order to make your word quota may mean you’ll spend more of the next day in rewrites instead of moving into fresh territory.
BPM: Was there an early experience where you learned that the written word had power?
I believe that I’ve always been aware of this, but didn’t feel the true impact of it until I started writing. I’ve felt that impact so many times during the course of my writing career. Writing has done everything from allowing me to please my readers, to keeping me sane when life gets crazy and I need an escape. For me, that’s been my greatest education on seeing the power of words.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
It has impacted the size of my world-the amount of wonderful people I’ve met during the course of my career. I’ve made connections that I’m sure I’d have never made had writing not been at the heart of those meetings. I believe having an outlet that’s all mine is especially important being that I’m a mom with a child approaching adulthood. After God, my son is first and foremost in my life. My son, however, will go on to have his own life one day and not need me quite so much. Writing is something that is all mine and perhaps the only thing I’m able to control and let go of when I’m ready.
BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
Writing the stories I wish to tell, the way I wish to tell them. Finding that my readers feel entertained and believe that their money has been well spent when they invest in my books. Being inspired to tell new and more fascinating stories that challenge me and allow me to take my readers into places that encourage them to expand their reading interests. I’d say that’s what literary success looks like to me.
BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your books with the world?
A healthy social media presence. A robust blog site. An email list filled with engaged readers.
BPM: Share some of your writing goals. What projects are you working on at the present?
I’ve got so much going on! I think this is the busiest I’ve ever been! I began the year by releasing Chef’s Reunion the second installment of The Caterer’s Wife mystery novella series (FYI- a full length will be coming soon). In March I’m releasing Feast of Fantasy-this novel is a Tesano tie-in for those of you familiar with the Ramsey/Tesano series.
For my T. Onyx erotica fans, Pleasure’s Possession is on the way as is Book of Scandal-The Tesano Elders and A Lover’s Redemption, also of the Ramsey Tesano series. Lots in store! These titles have been in production for a while, so it’s exciting to have them finally ready for release.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Website: http://www.alsreaders.weebly.com AND http://www.lovealtonya.com