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Monthly Archives: February 2019

JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is a biographical novel

Tell us about yourself?
I’m a product of the American South, which I left as soon as I could. Having grown up in a military family, I’m accustomed to traveling, and have lived in the Southwest, Northeast, and, now, Northwest U.S. I have always loved to read since learning on my mother’s knee when I was 4. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was very young, but worked as a journalist for 30 years before writing my first novel, THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, which provoked death threats but became an international best-seller. I also work as a freelance writer for technology companies and a travel, food, and wine writer. I play classical piano, dabble in languages (Spanish, French, and Arabic so far), am happily single, love my friends and community, and am planning a trip around the world in 2020.

 

Tell us about your book?
JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is a biographical novel that explores how the first black superstar, Josephine Baker, transformed from a needy young entertainer raised in poverty and greedy for money and love to a heroic fighter against racism: as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II, U.S. civil rights activist in 1951, and mother to a “Rainbow Tribe” of children whom she adopted from cultures around the world to demonstrate that hatred is not innate, but learned.

 

What inspired you to write this book?
All my books are inspired by my own desire to contribute to the conversation about the issues that most concern women: oppression, patriarchy, religion (and women’s struggle for equality in the Christian and Muslim religious traditions), family, work, race, gender roles, and more. I think biographical fiction is a perfect platform for this exploration. I choose my protagonists according to what they and their lives can teach us today.

In fact, when I first read about Josephine Baker, I felt ambivalent. Her oldest “adopted” son (she never formally adopted him), Jean-Claude Baker, wrote a biography after she died that, while filled with invaluable factual details, portrayed her most unflatteringly. He even saw her work as a spy and outspoken anti-segregationist as self-serving: she loved the excitement and the attention, he said. I asked myself, “Do I really want spend the next several years of my life with this woman?” I read a few more books about her, though, and came to deeply admire her. She risked everything, and lost it all.

 

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
I hope JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE will contribute to the national and global conversation about racism: past, present, and future. I know that I learned many shocking things as I researched the book. But also, on a purely personal level, I hope readers will be inspired by Josephine Baker’s story and her example of what one person can do to make a positive difference in the world. She was so incredibly courageous, and her life story sets a bold and daring example for us all.

 

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is structured around her last performance, which was a 50-year retrospective of her life in show business. The program didn’t follow her life chronologically and included several scenes that never occurred, so figuring out how to make my story work took me several drafts. My editor, Kate Dresser, was such a big help that I dedicated the book to her.

 

How can someone get a copy of the book?
Published by Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books, it’s available online and in libraries and bookstores around the country. Barnes and Noble and Target stores both carry it currently.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m researching a novel that I hope will contribute to the conversation about gender identity.

 

Where can visitors find you online?

Come to Facebook for the sordid details of my personal life: www.facebook.com/authorsherryjones.

On Twitter, you’ll learn about my liberal, feminist political views: www.twitter.com/sherryjones

On Instagram, you’ll see pictures from my life and my reading life: www.instagram.com/authorsherryjones

Also on Instagram, I have a site that’s all things Josephine Baker: www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance

I’ve recently joined Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones

And I love Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

And, of course, there’s my author website: www.authorsherryjones.com

 

 

 

 

 

Stiletto Justice by Camryn King 

 

A successful businesswoman who used to live by the rules. A struggling single mother whose best is never good enough.  A gorgeous rebel who lost by playing it safe.  Each has a man unjustly sentenced to long prison terms by former prosecutor Hammond Grey.  They’ve tried every legal remedy to get justice—only to see Hammond climb ever higher up the political ladder and secure himself behind power and privilege.
So when Kim, Jayda, and Harley meet by sheer chance, they’ve got no options left. Now it’s time for them to launch Plan B. And they won’t stop at infiltrating Hammond’s elite world and turning all his advantages into tempting traps. Because playing his weakness is the ultimate payback—and the kind of lethal justice they’ll gamble everything to get…

 

An Excerpt of STILETTO JUSTICE by Camryn King 

Prologue 

 

“Is he dead?”

 

“I don’t know, but seeing that lying trap of a mouth shut is a nice change of pace.”

 

Kim Logan, Harley Buchanan, and Jayda Sanchez peered down at the lifeless body of the United States senator from Kansas, Hammond Grey.

 

“I agree he looks better silent,” Kim mused, while mentally willing his chest to move. “But I don’t think prison garb will improve my appearance.”

 

“Move, guys.” Jayda, who’d hung in the background, pushed Harley aside to get closer. She stuck a finger under his nose. “He’s alive, but I don’t know how long he’ll be unconscious. Whatever we’re going to do needs to happen fast.”

 

“Fine with me.” Harley stripped off her jacket and unzipped her jeans. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can get the hell out of here.”

 

“I’m with you,” Kim replied. Her hands shook as she unsnapped the black leather jacket borrowed from her husband and removed her phone from its inside pocket. “Jayda, start taking his clothes off.”

 

“Why me?” Jayda whispered. “I don’t want to touch him.”

 

“That’s why you’re wearing gloves,” Harley hissed back. “Look, if I can bare my ass for the world to see, the least you can do is pull his pants down. Where’s that wig?”

 

Kim showed more sympathy as she pointed toward the bag holding a brunette-colored hair transformer. “Jayda, I understand completely. I don’t even want to look at his penis, let alone capture it on video.”

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Sherry Jones Interview at I’m Shelf-ish

 

I’m Shelf-ish
www.imshelfish.com

 

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m reading the best fiction I can find, dancing to live music, enjoying the company of my many friends, cooking gourmet meals, or traveling. I also play classical piano and really love the opera.

 

When did you start writing?
I began writing at age 7, in the second grade. I had a wonderful teacher who said to me, before the entire class, “When you become an author, publish using your given name so I’ll know it’s you.” I’ve lost touch with her, but I hope she realizes what an impact she made on my life.

 

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
When my first novel, THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, attracted international controversy and death threats. I had to make a choice about where I stood and why I am a writer. Today, I understand that, just as when I worked aa a journalist for 30+ years before becoming a novelist, I write to make a positive difference in the world.

 

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?
I live in the perfect city to start that book. My next protagonist lived for 30 years in Spokane, Washington, where I live now.

 

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?
Clean my house! But alas, it’s not going to happen today. I will ride my exercise bicycle and practice Spanish, make a pot of soup, and read the Sunday New York Times—without the extra hours.

 

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
In Spokane! I envision a roman a clef called HINTERLAND.

 

Back to your present book, JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE, how did you publish it?
Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, is my publisher, and I wrote this book under contract.

 

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?
I traveled to Paris (twice), New York City, and St. Louis, MO, Josephine Baker’s childhood home, to research this book.

 

Why was writing JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE so important to you?
I hope this book adds to the conversation that we are currently having in America about race.

Josephine Baker, like the protagonists of all my novels, was a woman who found her inner power and used it to make a positive difference in the world. Raised in poverty and abuse, she became a star of the stage and screen at a young age before dedicating her life to fighting racism. She worked as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II, risking her life many times, and became an outspoken anti-segregationist in the United States during her tour of the country in 1951, before the civil rights movement even began. She succeeded in getting many whites-only theaters, nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, and other venues to integrate. I found her inspirational, and knew that others would, too.

 

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?
My ideas come from everywhere: books I’ve reading, newspaper and magazine articles, courses I’m listening to, movies I watch. My problem isn’t a dearth of ideas, but a surplus of them. The hard part is choosing!

 

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
I hope JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE will contribute to the national and global conversation about racism: past, present, and future. I know that I learned many shocking things as I researched the book. But also, on a purely personal level, I hope readers will be inspired by Josephine Baker’s story and her example of what one person can do to make a positive difference in the world. She was so incredibly courageous, and her life story sets a bold and daring example for us all.

 

Any final words?
All my books are about amazing women in history. A’isha from THE JEWEL OF MEDINA and THE SWORD OF MEDINA; the four sisters from Provence in FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS; the French queen Blanche de Castille in WHITE HEART; Heloise d’Argenteuil, the 12th-century scholar and esteemed abbess in THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, and the 20th-century African-American performer Josephine Baker demonstrate with their lives that one woman can make a positive difference in the world. This is such an important message for our times—and writing these books is my way of trying to make a difference, too.

 

Where can visitors find you online?
I’ve recently joined Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones

I love Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

And, of course, there’s my author website: http://www.authorsherryjones.com

Come to Facebook for the sordid details of my personal life: http://www.facebook.com/authorsherryjones.

On Twitter, you’ll learn about my liberal, feminist political views: http://www.twitter.com/sherryjones

On Instagram, you’ll see pictures from my life and my reading life: http://www.instagram.com/authorsherryjones

Also on Instagram, I have a site that’s all things Josephine Baker: http://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance

Purchase copies of Josephine Baker’s Last Dance by Sherry Jones
https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Josephine-Bakers-Last-Dance/Sherry-Jones/9781501102448

 

Sherry Jones: Josephine Baker More than a Dancer

JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer
and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

 

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine’s early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.

 

Why did you write JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE?  Working as a journalist for 30-plus years, I made little money–but I gained something more valuable: a conviction that I was making a difference in my community and in the wider world.

During my decades as a newspaper reporter and then as a correspondent for a national news agency, I discovered the power of the written word to tear down, uplift, and transform. So it makes perfect sense that, when I turned to fiction, I would write books about women who made their mark on the world.

From the Prophet Muhammad’s favorite wife to four sisters who became European queens in the 13th century, my protagonists are movers and shakers. Josephine Baker may be the most important of them all because of all she did for her “people”–the African-American community.

Born in 1906 and raised in the St. Louis slums, she knew racism first-hand, abused by the white woman in whose home she worked at age 7; traumatized by the East St. Louis Race Riots in 1917, when white workers and their families set fire to black families’ homes and shot and lynched those who tried to escape; confronted by men in white hoods and “whites only” signs in the American South as a girl of 13 touring on the black vaudeville circuit, and much more.

In Paris at age 19, she discovered a different world, one in which black people and white ate together, sat in theaters and on streetcars and buses together, danced onstage together, and even married one another. She must have thought she’d died and gone to heaven.

But hatred wasn’t so easy to escape. It followed her: to Paris, where white Americans confronted her and even had her removed from the hotel where she was lodging; to Germany, where Hitler’s Brownshirts threatened her; and all around the world, as she performed her famous “banana dance” in spite of protesters’ calling her a “black demon”—and worse.

By the time the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940, Josephine Baker was already working as a spy for the nascent Resistance movement, seducing generals and diplomats to confide in her, then carrying the information across borders.

Empowered by these experiences, she embarked on her third U.S. tour in 1951 with another goal in mind: to put an end to racial segregation. She publicly declared that she would perform in no nightclubs or theaters and patronize no businesses that segregated their clientele.

As a result, many venues allowed black people through their doors for the first time—and Ms. Baker became the target of an FBI investigation into her alleged ties with the Communist Party. Her outspokenness resulted in many canceled gigs and the loss of a movie deal, and ultimately the loss of her castle in southern France.

She never gave up or expressed any regrets about her activism, though. Indeed, she persisted. In 1963, she was invited to Washington, D.C., to speak at the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—the only woman to speak.

I wrote JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE to remind the world that the woman in the banana skirt was so much more than that. Josephine Baker was a force of nature and a force for change, and gave everything she had in effort to make a difference for African-Americans.

By telling her story as well as the stories of all my fictional heroines, I hope to make a difference, too. This is why I exist, and why I write.

 

Purchase copies of Josephine Baker’s Last Dance by Sherry Jones
https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Josephine-Bakers-Last-Dance/Sherry-Jones/9781501102448

 

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
I hope JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE will contribute to the national and global conversation about racism: past, present, and future. I know that I learned many shocking things as I researched the book. But also, on a purely personal level, I hope readers will be inspired by Josephine Baker’s story and her example of what one person can do to make a positive difference in the world. She was so incredibly courageous, and her life story sets a bold and daring example for us all.

Where can visitors find you online?
I’ve recently joined Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones

I love Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

And, of course, there’s my author website: http://www.authorsherryjones.com

Come to Facebook for the sordid details of my personal life: http://www.facebook.com/authorsherryjones.

On Twitter, you’ll learn about my liberal, feminist political views: http://www.twitter.com/sherryjones

On Instagram, you’ll see pictures from my life and my reading life: http://www.instagram.com/authorsherryjones

Also on Instagram, I have a site that’s all things Josephine Baker: http://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance

 

 

 

 

Walking the Walk – The Other Side of Cancer

Walking the Walk – The Other Side of Cancer

Walking the Walk – The Other Side of Cancer
by Annette Leeds, author of The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister

 

Cancer is not limited to those diagnosed. It affects family, friends, and even co-workers. I witnessed cancer up-close and personal. It is emotionless, unbiased, and destroys lives. After a long year of living with my sister, Theresa, who succumbed to advanced stage pancreatic cancer in 2016, I sat down with the journal I’d kept to keep track of every single day of the last year of her life and wrote The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister.

In one year, Theresa had endured so much pain and sickness from cancer. Yet, she forged through with laughter, determined not to let it steal her joy. Can you believe she planned her daughter’s wedding? As children, I looked up to her and as adults, I envied her. She made amends with people. Our one-hundred-pounds Boxer, Riley, became Theresa’s guard dog, remaining close by her side. I sensed he took his job very seriously, keeping an eye out for anyone trying to take her from us. When her bedroom door was ajar, I listened to her talking to him in a quiet voice, and I could hear his dog tags jingle when she rubbed the back of his neck. “Keep me safe, Riley,” she said. “Don’t leave me.” About Riley, she often said, “He’s coming with me.” She was right. Months after Theresa passed, Riley passed, too. He waited for her to go first.

When I reflect, I think about Dolly Parton’s song, “I Hope You Dance.” Theresa did just that, she danced to her own beat. To celebrate my sister’s life, I founded Find1Cure.com. My dream is to start a “comfort” home for people who have elevated to hospice care. I want to bring awareness and reassurance to those suffering from this callous disease and the loved ones who help fight the fight. I want to do whatever I can, not only in the name of my big sister, Theresa, but for the many men and women who valiantly and courageously fight the fight.

 

The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister by Annette Leeds
Listen to a reading from the book: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CP8kxyzX

 

Author Annette Leeds
Annette Leeds is a literary journalist. Born Annette Marie Guardino to her mother who is Belgium and father who is Sicilian, she is a native Californian and the youngest of six children.  Being quite creative, Annette’s strong desire to write led her to her first book, a psychological drama, followed by two television comedy scripts. She has had other entrepreneurial ventures, including a logo sportswear clothing line. Author  Website: http:/www.annetteleeds.com | Book Website: https://find1cure.com

 

 

 

Sherry Jones: Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

www.eccentricbookaholic.blogspot.com

 

 

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
The books I read as a child inspired me to write—Little Women was a favorite, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–and my second-grade reading teacher, whose name I have, unfortunately, forgotten, who praised my stories and poems in class and said, “If you ever write a book, keep your maiden name so I’ll know it was you.”

 

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?
Always when reading a book. I have to highlight memorable turns of phrase! In movie theaters it’s too dark to see a notepad, but I always pay careful attention to plotting and characterization. My work is highly influenced by film techniques.

 

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?
I have written all my life, but I never dared to try fiction until I was nearly 40. I wrote an autobiographical novel that was truly terrible. Whew! I’m so glad I got that out of my system!

 

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?
I work as a freelance writer, writing travel stories and marketing content for technology and cybersecurity companies.

 

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

  1. Do Natalie Goldberg’s “writing practice” for 10 minutes each day, to warm up. 
  2. Remember that, as Hemingway (and Anne Lamott) said, the first draft is always shit. 
  3. Take as much time as you can between drafts, so you approach the material with a fresh eye before revising. The late, great John Garner recommended six months between drafts.

 

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?
All the time! Because nothing is as important as writing books.

 

What hours do you write best?
I’m at my best first thing in the morning and late at night.

 

How often do you write?
When I’m working on a novel, I write every day. I become obsessed with the project. Whan I’m between novels, I’m more casual about it. But I don’t spend much time without a novel to work on. Life is too short!

 

Are you an avid reader?
The only think I love more than reading is writing. Even sex can’t compare.

 

What are you reading now?
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsen. Next on deck is The Milkman.

 

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a novel about Billy Tipton, a transgender jazz performer who presented as a man and somehow kept his biological, female gender a secret until he died—even his three wives and adopted children never knew. He spent the last 34 years of his life in Spokane, where I live. Just as JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE adds to the conversation about race and racism, I hope this novel will provide food for thought about gender identity and the experiences of transgender people.

 

Where can visitors find you online?
I’ve recently joined Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones

I love Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

And, of course, there’s my author website: http://www.authorsherryjones.com

Come to Facebook for the sordid details of my personal life: http://www.facebook.com/authorsherryjones.

On Twitter, you’ll learn about my liberal, feminist political views: http://www.twitter.com/sherryjones

On Instagram, you’ll see pictures from my life and my reading life: http://www.instagram.com/authorsherryjones

Also on Instagram, I have a site that’s all things Josephine Baker: http://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Care By Annette Leeds

Don’t Be Afraid to Care
By Annette Leeds

Taking care of someone you love in a time of need can be sometimes scary. I wanted to share some words of wisdom about being there for someone.

When my sister, Theresa, received her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, many things ran through my mind. But, the one question that stuck with me the most was, “Who would take care of her?” She was a single-career woman; she had the financial means, but would I want a stranger taking care of my sister in her last days? In the beginning, I was nervous, but soon the urge to help far outweighed the fear.

There never was a question in my mind. I knew I would step in and be there for her. I kept a journal of our time together, knowing when she was gone, I would have those memories. Yet, the memories I took away were more than I could have ever imagined; something that can never be replaced.

I can remember her worrying about me and how my taking care of her might take a toll on me. Even without any experience of caring for someone, I knew it was the best thing for her and our family. She moved in with me and that precious time we had changed my life forever.

I put aside my fears of caring for my terminally ill sister, and embraced the journey; giving my sister laughter, love and dignity until her last breath.

The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister by Annette Leeds
Listen to a reading from the book: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CP8kxyzX 

Author Annette Leeds
Annette Leeds is a literary journalist. Born Annette Marie Guardino to her mother who is Belgium and father who is Sicilian, she is a native Californian and the youngest of six children.  Being quite creative, Annette’s strong desire to write led her to her first book, a psychological drama, followed by two television comedy scripts. She has had other entrepreneurial ventures, including a logo sportswear clothing line.

Website: http:/www.annetteleeds.com    |   Book Website: https://find1cure.com

 
 
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