Friday, April 17, 2015

New Release Spotlight!

Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author I both respect and admire. Today I am pleased to feature her brand new release, Trinidad and April's Amelie.


Amelie rolled awake, her body bumping up against Trinidad. She finally asked his name after more than ten days together. He was one fine specimen but she wondered why he was hanging around. He disappeared hours at a time but returned. He hadn't asked for anything other than the pleasure of her body and the pleasure had been all hers. He even brought her meals. The last two nights she slept with him stone, cold sober and he was a freaking master. Standing up, she stretched before walking into the bathroom. After using it and washing up she sat on the balcony, dressed in the plush white robe staring out at the sea. Trinidad woke up watching her. She was a beautiful woman but so troubled. Feeling him watching her, she looked inside and he walked out to her.
"What's going on in your sober mind?" He asked. She turned her head away before answering.
"I was thinking how I got here. Everything's an impulse with me. Since my mom died, I've impulsively lived my life, chasing dope and men, men and dope. I even stole sperm and had my brother in laws baby." He knew that but remained quiet. "They have him now and I'm sure with their money and connections he's now legally theirs. It's just as well. I'm no ones mommy. I'm simply the bad twin to perfect April." Bitterness was on her tongue. He grabbed his chest in mock horror.
"Please don't tell me there are two of you."
"Whatever. She's nothing like me. She's smarter, married and special. I'm the late born twin who lost oxygen to her brain and could never get the right grades, make the right choices so instead I had fun."
"You're jealous."
"I'm past jealous. I'm obsessed. No one loves April more than me. No one hates April more than me. I would kill the person who ever hurt her but there have been times I wanted to kill the life she has." He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her in close to him. "Trinidad, why are you still here?"
"I wish I knew." He said honestly. He understood being an outsider and feeling less than. That was several years of his life. But after joining the military and later starting his own private consulting business he found some semblance of normalcy. But there were times when he was still that abused foster kid.

Available at:

You can learn more about Angelia by visiting her blog - or her Facebook page -

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seven Things...

There's a challenge going around Facebook right now, and before anyone tags me, I figured I'd answer it here. The theme of this challenge is to post seven things most people don't know about me as a writer.

1. I never write my manuscripts by hand. I find handwriting annoying and painful, since I type 100 words a minute. Being a secretary/administrative assistant for so many years made me a keyboard woman.


2.  Even though I never hand-write, I have an addiction for buying gel pens. I use them for editing on hard copy, and I have an extensive collection divided between my laptop bag, my purse and my desk in the office. Mostly I do my editing in bright pink ink, but I also use purple and aqua. 

3.  Every time I finish reading a great book, I go through an inevitable "I suck as a writer. I could never write anything like this" phase for a day or two.

4.  Ever since I started writing, I've been a plotter. Before I start a book, I create an outline, story timeline, photo collage of the characters, but recently I discovered I'm becoming more of a pantser. Perhaps that's because I know the characters in the Stafford Brothers series so well, I don't need to do so much preliminary work.

5.  I still have a copy of the first story I ever wrote in first grade. My mother saved it in the baby book she'd created for me. I found it in her belongings after she passed on. It was about a snowstorm.

6.  Speaking of storms, even though I love writing at the beach, I do some of my best writing in bad weather - especially when it's raining hard. 

7. The first book I published was actually the fourth one I'd written.

I'm not going tag anyone here. If I get challenged, I'll tag them on Facebook.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Upcoming Book Discussion!

I’ve been invited by authors Tia Kelly and Nia Forrester to do a discussion about DON’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH and the other books in the series!

It will be held on Sunday, April 26 at 5:00 pm. I’ll also be giving away a few Amazon gift cards, so click on the link below if you want to join us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm Losing You - Excerpt #3

Here is the weekly unedited excerpt from my work-in-progress, I'm Losing You, Book 4 in the Stafford Brothers series.

She yearned for those times when Vic used to share everything with her. During his time as a lowly intern, when they were dating, he told her every little detail about his days doing the grunt work for the residents. At the same time, he’d been excited and eager to learn everything possible about medicine first-hand. Often they stayed up late into the night talking on the phone, and he asked questions about her burgeoning modeling career as though he was sincerely interested.
After the wedding, once they moved into their own apartment, she loved lying in bed listening to his amazing stories about the inner workings of the hospital. Now, if they talked at all, it was about mundane, necessary things before he drifted into a work-induced coma. When he was conscious, hospital business preoccupied his mind. He traveled a lot to conferences, conventions and symposiums, and his schedule usually didn’t allow him to accompany her at fundraising events or sit with her in the bleachers at the boys’ football games. He’d become little more than a ghost in their own home.
     “I didn’t know it would take you away from us the way it has. You obviously see no reason to adapt for us. I’ve had enough of this, Vic. If I’m not that important to you, I will find a way to keep myself occupied.”
     Vic uttered a scornful laugh and followed her as she stormed into the kitchen. “Right. Like you’re going to get a job.”
     “When I got pregnant with Trey, you were the one who said you wanted me to stay home and take care of him.”
     “That was twelve years ago, Mona! Less than two years later, you announced you were pregnant again.”
     She slumped down onto a stool and gaped at him in disbelief. “Are you saying I got pregnant so I wouldn’t have to work?”
     He glared at her. “I never said you had to work, but I expected you to do more than sit around and wait for me to come home. Since when did you become so clingy?”
     “Clingy? So it’s being clingy because I want my husband to spend some time with me and his kids?”
     “Look, I’m tired and I need to get a few hours of sleep.”
     She watched him leave the room then dropped her head down to the Italian marble counter.  The only reason he’d noticed her tonight was because he’d suddenly become suspicious. And he had good reason to be. Two years of begging him to spend time with her and the boys was her limit. Thirty-seven was too young to become a medical widow. He’d ignored her long enough.

Chapter Two
The next morning, Vic showered, dressed and dragged himself down to the kitchen. He made a cup of coffee and contemplated what he needed to do once he got to the hospital while it brewed. The sound of footsteps shuffling down the hall drew his attention to the doorway where Mona stood watching him.
     “You’re working another Saturday?”
     “Yeah. The Board needs a report for their meeting next week, and I couldn’t get it done with everything else that was going on.”  He reached for a travel mug from the cabinet when the ready light came on.
“Hmph,” she grunted and turned to leave.
“I’m sorry for what I said last night. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
“You said exactly what you meant. It’s been two years, Vic, and I’m tired.”
     When he looked up from stirring the cream and sugar into his coffee to respond, she was gone. He could’ve gone after her, but he was in no mood for another argument. Instead, he entered the garage from the kitchen and left the house, welcoming the silence inside the soundproof cabin of his S600. The traffic surrounding him while he drove to work faded into a blur as he recounted last night’s scene with his wife. Was he treating her like a child or were his suspicions justified? After all the years they’d been married, he should be able to trust her, but the change in her schedule, wardrobe and attitude had him questioning her every move. And after her behavior last month at the barbeque, he didn’t put anything past her.
     They had all been at his parents’ house for the annual July Fourth celebration. As usual, his mother hired a DJ and a crew to install a dance floor in the yard. All was going well, and they were having a good time until Mona got on the floor with his baby brother. He still hadn’t recovered from the shock of her showing out the way she had. It was bad enough that she came dressed like a twenty-year-old, but when she went on the dance floor with Nick and danced like a stripper at Magic City, he’d lost it.   
      Mona never behaved suspiciously before. It all started after a benefit she had worked so hard on. One he’d been too busy to attend. Vic brushed the last thought aside. After being a doctor’s wife for so many years, she surely understood his responsibilities. Or was he expecting too much from her?
     To avoid being spotted in the hospital cafeteria, he went through the drive-in at Dunkin’ Donuts and bought an extra-large coffee, a breakfast sandwich and a Boston cream donut. He could never get enough coffee. If anyone saw him, they would surely find reason to pull him aside in order to ask his opinion on one thing or another. By the time he drove into the hospital garage and parked in the space reserved with his name stenciled on the wall, he tried to focus his thoughts on the project facing him once he got upstairs. The one good thing about working on a Saturday was the staff didn’t know he was there, and he had some solitude in which to wade through the mountains of paperwork waiting for him in his office. Unfortunately, when he settled behind his desk, last night’s scene with Mona monopolized his thoughts.
      She’d avoided giving him any straight answers. She had her faults, but lying wasn’t one of them. Mona always told him the truth, even if she knew her answer would upset him. Why in God’s name would she start now? Almost involuntarily he reached for his cell and dialed Marvin Weber, his colleague and closest friend. His wife worked with Mona on both of her fund-raising committees. If anyone knew what she was up to, Daphine did.
     “Marv, it’s Vic. Are you in the hospital today?”
      “No, man. In fact, I’m on my way out to breakfast with the family. What’s up?”
      “Is Daphine right there with you?”
      “No, she’s upstairs getting dressed. Is something wrong?”
      “Did she have a meeting last night?”
      “Nope, not last night. Why?”
      Vic didn’t want to reveal his suspicions about his wife just yet even to his best friend. “I thought I remembered Mona saying something about it.”
     “So why don’t you call her, man?”
     “Eh, it’s not important. Enjoy your breakfast, and tell Daphine I said hello. Thanks.” Vic shoved the phone back in his pocket.
     Maybe you’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion. Perhaps he’d talk to Jesse about it later. 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's my prerogative...


Before we left to hit the road for North Carolina last Sunday, I filled a bag with CDs. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's having to listen to awful music while driving through the boondocks. One of them was The Temptations' Greatest Hits.

When I heard this song, I realized the words are perfect for my work-in-progress, which I'd previously titled, It's Cheaper to Keep Her. The lyrics to the old Johnny Taylor song are great, but the more I thought about it, that title seems a bit cynical. Money does figure into Vic and Ramona's relationship, but Vic never feels like staying with her is a way of settling. so he doesn't have to divide up his assets.I want this story to have a positive  message, and I believe the words of the song express the story better: 

Soooo... the new title is I'm Losing You

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Seven Secrets of Writing

    I was tagged by Author Mel Bynum to share 7 secrets of writing. Right now, I am working on book #11, and with each one I learn something new. Here are my seven:

    1. Learn everything you can about the publishing industry BEFORE you put your book out there. There's a lot to know......

    2. Find your best writing time and place. Make the most of those two, because they are when and where you are most productive.

    3. If you want to be published, look at your writing as a JOB, not just a hobby.

    4. Understand that there are some do's and don'ts to writing, but some of them can be broken once you learn what you're doing.

    5. Never think your writing is golden. Everyone can improve and everyone needs an editor.

    6. Keep a notebook or a handheld recorder in your purse at all time. You never know when you'll get an idea, and if you don't capture it at that moment, it will be lost forever.

    7. Help someone else along the way. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sample Sunday - Excerpt #2 from It's Cheaper to Keep Her

Last Sunday I gave you an excerpt from It's Cheaper To Keep Her in Vic Stafford's point of view. Today I'm sharing his wife, Ramona's unedited take on their current situation.

* * * * * * 

Ramona wasn’t sleeping, but she didn’t want Vic to think she was waiting for him to come upstairs. She had never been the weepy type, but right now, even though she fought it with all her strength, tears dampened her pillow. Her emotions usually ran more toward verbal battle, but tonight she had no desire to get into a screaming match with her husband. Those ugly scenes had been happening too often in the last few months.
How could such an intelligent man be so stupid? Why couldn’t he see how things had changed between them? He used to notice how she looked every day, but over the past two years, his interest in her had gradually waned. And it wasn’t because she’d let herself go. For God’s sake, the hours she spent in the gym were more for him than herself. Her mother had drilled that into her head as soon as she found out they were engaged. Mona could practically quote her word for word. “He’s going to be a doctor one day, and a doctor’s wife can’t be frumpy or out of shape. Your hair and makeup should always be perfect. Your clothes should be the best quality you can afford until he starts buying them for you.”
No woman could love a man more than she loved Vic. They had been together for fifteen years, married for twelve, and at one time, he’d only had eyes for her. Now his new love-his hospital-had taken her place. He nurtured her, protected her, bragged about her, and spent endless hours thinking about how to make her better-the things he used to do for his wife. Nothing could be more painful than having your husband obsessed with another love.
Some women, a few of her friends and even her own mother, thought she was nitpicking. Whenever she voiced his discouragement with the situation, her mother quickly pointed out, “You have to stop being ungrateful, Mona. After all, you have everything most women would die for.”
“Mama, have you forgotten that when I married Vic he was as broke as MC Hammer. I married him because I loved him. Her mother’s canned response was, “You knew he would be somebody important one day. You don’t have to work, and he leaves the daily finances up to you. What more do you want?”
Yes, Vic made the investment decisions, because he knew more about those things and always did so with the best of the family in mind. Having money was wonderful, and he had always been extremely generous. But did these women actually believe that sharing money could take the place of sharing intimacy, whether it happened in or out of the bed. She treasured the closeness and affection they had once shared, and she realized just how unique and powerful it had been by listening to her friends talk about their relationships. Vic’s studies and then his internship and residency put him under constant pressure. Yet when they were together, his super-serious demeanor softened, and he laughed more and was able to relax.  
The two of them hadn’t been together in the same room long enough to have a conversation in two weeks. Before Maite left for the night, Mona asked her to fix him a plate, cover it and leave it in the microwave with the door open, so he wouldn’t miss it when he came in. Instead of going up to bed, Mona decided to wait up for him and try once again to make him understand how she felt about how things had deteriorated in their marriage, and it ended up being a disaster. Vic had got in after eleven, and was surprised to see her awake.
“Hey, baby.” He walked to where she sat at the kitchen table thumbing through the latest issue of Vogue and kissed her cheek. “What are you doing up?”
She glanced up at him, noticing how tired he looked.
“I know it’s late, but I need to talk to you.”
His shoulders visibly slumped. “Can’t it wait until the morning?”
“No, because your mother is bringing the boys back early. She has somewhere to go and said she’d drop them off on her way.”
Vic eased down onto one of the kitchen stools as though his whole body ached. “What’s going on?”
“I’m lonely, Vic. You’re never around, and when you are, you’re too tired or distracted to even notice that I’m in the room.”
He stared at her for a long moment with any response then groaned. “Mona, we’re not kids anymore. I know you have nothing to occupy your time, and that was your choice, but I’m overwhelmed.”
“I understand, and that’s the problem. You have no time for me or the boys. Are we just supposed to sit around and pretend you’re no longer in our lives?”
“If I wasn’t in your lives, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in a two million dollar house. How do you think everything is being paid for?”
For the next few minutes, he went into what had become his standard lecture about being under scrutiny as the first black and the youngest chief of surgery in the history of the largest medical center in Atlanta-in the South for that matter. It wasn’t as though she didn’t understand the importance of his job. In fact, she was wildly proud of his status, but most of the time she wished he could go back to being a surgeon. Surgeons were the elite of the medical community, but that hadn’t been enough for him. Vic followed in his namesake’s footsteps, and now he’d surpassed the professional status his father had reached. Sometimes his ambition actually frightened her.
“When is it going to stop? Do you have to become Surgeon General of the United States before you’re satisfied?”
Vic rubbed the back of his neck and glowered at her. “Now you’re just being ridiculous! You wanted me to take this job, remember? That was before this house and the Bentley-”
“I didn’t ask you for the car or the jewelry.” She dragged in a long, frustrated breath, and spoke through clenched teeth trying not to scream at him. “You bought those because you felt guilty.”  
“Guilty?” He rose to his full height and leaned over her. “What the hell do I have to feel guilty about?”
Mona looked up at him with blinking. “About abandoning your role as a husband and father so you can be king of your hospital.”
“You wanted me to be king. Or have you forgotten?”
“That’s not fair, Vic. I saw how much you wanted the position, and supported your decision to go for it.” She ran her fingers through her long hair. “I never dreamed our lives would change so much. Or you would change so much.”