Book Review – Endangered: A Novel by Jean Love Cush

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Endangered_Cover

Title: Endangered: A Novel

Synopsis:  An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America.

From the time her son, Malik, could walk, Janae taught him that the best way to stay alive and out of trouble with the law was to cooperate. Terrified for his safety, she warned him, “raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever they say,” if the police ever stopped him. But when a wave of murders hits Philadelphia and fifteen-year-old Malik is arrested, Janae’s terror is compounded by guilt and doubt: Would Malik have escaped jail if he’d run?

Unable to see her son or pay for his defense, Janae, a cafeteria worker, reluctantly allows Roger Whitford, a white human rights attorney, to represent Malik. With the help of an ambitious private attorney named Calvin Moore, Roger is determined to challenge the entire criminal justice system and expose its inherent racism—racism that threatens the very existence of America’s young black men.

Offering a startling and unprecedented defense, the lawyers spark a national firestorm of debate over race, prison, and politics that burns to the very core of Janae herself. As she battles to save her son, she begins to discover that she is also fighting for her own survival and that of her community.

Jean Cush

Author: Jean Love Cush                                                                                                 Note: Jean Love Cush is a first-time, self-published author.

I must preface this review by saying that there have been many reviews of this book, and I merely add my impression of Endangered: A Novel.

For those readers who know me, you know that I am a paralegal who loves legal thrillers. So, I started reading…

It was a little slow at the beginning, but picked up to become a page-turner.

Malik’s mother, Janae, only wanted justice and fair treatment for her 15-year old son, who was wrongfully accused of murdering his friend, Troy. Janae had raised her son in a poor disadvantaged area of Philadelphia. She had said, “If approached by the police, raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut and do what they order.” He did exactly what his mother had told him and now he was charged with murder. Janae didn’t have the money to hire a private attorney to properly defend Malik. So, his life was in the hands of a public defender. Or was it?

Roger Whitford, an attorney for the Center for the Protection for Human Rights (CPHR), wanted to try Malik’s case because of the social issues involved. He told Janae, “We’re not in the business of innocence or guilt. Our job here at the CPHR is justice…African American boys ought to be deemed legally endangered.” He told Janae that our current legal system is unfair to black boys and new laws should come out of this whole situation.

She wasn’t worried about changing laws; she was worried about getting her baby out of jail and proving his innocence of this murder.

Calvin Moore was a brilliant African American attorney, who was added to the legal team to bring clout and a different perspective.

I enjoyed an honest judge, who wasn’t afraid to express his personal opinion. I also enjoyed how the mothers and women of the “hood” stood by each other. I wasn’t quite sure if the budding romance between Janae and Calvin was appropriate or added to make the readers feel the realism of the story. The ADA was over zealous and unlikable.

Kid in Prison

Dealing with social issues is difficult, whether in real life or in a book. There were a lot of real issues in this book—real statistics, real issues of crime and real issues of justice. These are “real issues” that we must deal with today. This book is going to make you think about all of this…whether you want to or not.   Endangered: A Novel allows the reader to think beyond the crime that was committed; think beyond the consequences of the courtroom decision; and think about what can be done in today’s society. We can think about recent headlines with similar issues of African-American teens in Sanford, Florida; Ferguson, Missouri; and Chicago, Illinois.

Malik hadn’t had a chance to be a teenager—he hadn’t even had a first date. I wanted to hear more from his point of view. I wanted to hear how he felt about his beating by the police; his time in jail; and his being scared in the courtroom.

This book was well written, so that attorneys and readers alike could understand the story. The ending was good, but I would have liked an epilogue with how Malik and Janae had enhanced their life as a result of this incident.

My only real negative issue was that the cover didn’t really do justice to the book.

I wish Jean Love Cush much success in her writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

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DISCLAIMER
Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Special Feedback From A Reader: Seven Sentence Sunday

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I saw one of my blog readers at the library, Mili, and she told me that she enjoyed the “Seven Sentence Sunday” Exercise that I did in August.  She said that it inspired her to write something. She also said that she would have never believed that anyone could write a short story in just seven sentences.

So, Here’s to you Mili, two more short stories.

Once Upon a Time

Story 1: A Haunted House

A chill engulfed my body the moment I entered the haunted house.

Looking around the room, I felt bathed in darkness, as my thoughts began to drench me in fear.

I saw a broken mirror and I looked in it, only to notice no image looking back at me.

I could smell a burning candle and when I got close to it, I saw footprints on the ceiling.

I reached out my hand to touch the candle, when suddenly a black cat jumped on me and I heard screaming.

I don’t know if the screams were coming from me or someone else, but I ran for the door.

My heart was beating faster and faster as I was trying to open the heavy, wooden front door, then someone touched me and said, “Happy Halloween.”

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Story 2: A Guardian Angel

The baby was crying and I had to quiet her, so that we could walk to the bus stop to pick up my older daughter from school.

Just as I was about to walk out the door with the baby in my arms, I heard the loud screeching of brakes.

All of the mothers were running towards the bus stop, and in my heart, I knew that something eerie had happened.

I held the baby close to my body and sprinted the short distance.

When I arrived, the bus driver was crying and she was bending over a child—mine!

She had black tire tracks on her new red coat, but the bus had missed her by an inch.

My daughter said, “Mommy, this nice, old lady pushed me out of the way so I wouldn’t get hurt!”

 

Thanks for reading the stories. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like them or what you think about them.

Note: The clip art is compliments of the Internet.

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Beverly Jenkins

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Please, join us for Celebrity Guest Authors Month!

Heart of Gold_Cover

Title: Heart Of Gold: A Blessing

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to the charming town of Henry Adams, Kansas—a place that always feels like home—in this heartwarming story of family, friendship, and the surprises hidden in our lives.

Henry Adams has had its fair share of drama ever since Bernadine Brown bought the town with her divorce settlement. Now just when things are starting to settle down, it’s about to get crazy again . . .

Cephas Patterson doesn’t just want to be left alone—if you dare step onto his property, he’ll meet you with a shotgun and a warning to stay away from his gold. He reminds Zoey of the lonely time she spent living on the streets, so she quietly begins leaving him small offerings. But then Cephas dies and leaves a saddlebag of gold—to Zoey.

And that’s not all. Zoey’s parents are going through a trial separation, her former BFF Devon is giving her fits, and friend Crystal has run away from home. Then there’s Bernadine’s mean-spirited baby sister who has arrived unexpectedly, and an ongoing battle with a neighboring town is about to heat up.

Will Henry Adams ever be the same again?

Beverly Jenkins

Author: Beverly Jenkins

CH: I am so honored to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Beverly Jenkins. She is a national best-selling author of historical romance fiction and she specializes in 19th century African-American life. She has received numerous awards including two Career Achievement Awards; a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild; and she was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC. Beverly Jenkins is the author of over thirty books.

CH: Beverly, thank you for joining us and welcome. Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

BJ: Because my books make readers stay up all night.

CH: One of your reviewers, said that this book warms the soul. What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?

BJ: Each book and the characters within are different and have distinct personalities. I make a conscious effort not to write the same book twice.

CH: Do you write full-time or part-time?

BJ: I write full-time.

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

BJ: My greatest achievement, besides having my first book, Night Song, published in 1994, was to have A Wish and A Prayer, the fourth book in the Blessings series, nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature.

CH: Is there a certain routine you implement when writing? What is it? 

BJ: At the beginning of my career, due to a job and family, writing at night was a necessity. Now, it’s a habit.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

BJ: Ideas for my historicals come from old pictures, diary entries and African American history. The idea for the Blessings series grew out of an article in Parade magazine about a woman, who started a town for foster children and their foster parents.

CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for this story? 

BJ: Heart of Gold is the fifth book in my Blessings series. It’s a contemporary story about an African American woman who buys a historic African American town on the Kansas plains. She then brings in five at risk children to be raised by foster parents; and the story is also about the senior citizens who reside there. Each book has centered on one of the kids and Heart of Gold is the story of the youngest child, Zoey Raymond.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

BJ: Some of the inspiration comes from my personal experience as an adoptive parent.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life? 

BJ: Some of the situations are adapted from real life.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

BJ: It’s always a challenge for an adult writer to try and remember what it was like to be ten–which is Zoey’s age in the book.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

BJ: My first book was published in 1994 and I was the editor of my elementary school newspaper in the fourth grade.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

BJ: I am from Detroit. I think my background of growing up as a voracious reader continues to help my writing.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

BJ: Zoey was the hardest character to write in Heart of Gold.

Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins autographing a book for one of her many fans.

CH: Do you have plans for a new book?

BJ: Destiny’s Captive will be released in a few days, Oct 28, 2014. I have already finished book 6 in the series, titled For Your Love, and I will be starting to write my thirty-second historical novel soon.

CH: Where can my readers find your website?

BJ: My website is www.beverlyjenkins.net

CH: Where are your books sold?

BJ: My books are sold everywhere–in print, eBooks, audio and some are in large print, too.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BJ: I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to connect with your readers.

CH: Beverly, you are quite welcome and thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book with my readers

Note: Photos are compliments of Beverly Jenkins and the Internet.

CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                         Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

 

 

Happy Columbus Day and A Quick Writing Exercise

Columbus Day

May you enjoy Columbus Day by doing whatever makes you Happy!

I always enjoy a day of writing.

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For my Women’s Writing Group, we met today and we had a writing exercise that was fun. We could choose a topic from a list and write a one page short story.

It’s a game to get you writing. Choose a Title and write 1 page. Don’t forget Halloween is just around the corner. You could write a haunting story.

Choose Your Weapon   The Gold One        The Witch’s  Dream

The Darkest Night           Eating Alone         The Exploded Pumpkin

Cheese, Only                 Wild Card                Haunted Kitchen

Where She Was             The Taken               Full Moon

My topic was Wild Card and here is my story.

“OMG, I can’t believe I just did that!” she said with anger and frustration at herself.

Her sister came in just as she uttered her frustration.

”Wow, what did you do?”

“I forgot to pick up my package from the post office and it’s 6pm on Friday before a three day weekend. Damn. It’s from my publisher. What do you think it could be? ”

“I have no idea. Did they give you a hint as to what it was?”

“No, my agent just said that it was important. Do you think it is a book contract?”

“Once again, I have no idea. It could be anything.”

“If you knew that it was important, why didn’t you stop what you were doing and go pick it up.”

“Because I got side tracked. I know you’ve never ever gotten side tracked.”

“Hey, don’t take it out on me. I would have at least reminded you by 4:45 to pick it up.”

“Now, I will worry about it until 8:59am on Tuesday.”

“The best thing you can do is fill your time with something that you love doing to keep your mind off the package.”

“Okay, I think I will write!”

She engulfed herself in writing. She wrote well into the night on Friday before falling asleep. She woke up early on Saturday and continued writing. She hadn’t written this much in a long time. She was on a roll. Once again, she wrote well into the wee hours of Sunday morning. She slept for about 4 hours and then grabbed her laptop and proceeded to write like a journalist on deadline. She wrote all day Monday. Finally, on Monday night about 11:50, she finished her writing. She had completed a novella. She was elated and really hadn’t thought about the package until now.

Oh, well, she thought. I will get a good night’s rest and pick up the package at 9am. Then and only then will my curiosity be satisfied.

She slept like a baby without a care in the world. It was a peaceful and tranquil rest. She didn’t hear the alarm. She didn’t hear the phone ringing. However, she dreamed about receiving the package. Just as she was about to open it, her sister touched her and woke her from her dream.

“What time is it? I have to get to the post office” she said frantically.

“It’s 5:05.”

“She began crying and just couldn’t stop.”

“Let me know when you’re finished. I have something for you.”

She stopped sobbing long enough to ask, “What?”

Her sister handed her the package.

She tore it open and read the letter inside.

Dear Ms. Johnson,

We will need an additional sample of your writing before we can offer you a book contract. Please send it as soon as possible, preferably on Tuesday. Thank you.

Sincerely,

John Jones, Simon & Schuster Publishing Company

 

Thanks for reading the story.  I hope you will join me in a simple and quick writing exercise. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like the story or what you think about it.

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Shelia M. Goss

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Please, join us for Celebrity Guest Authors Month!

The Joneses_Cover

Title: The Joneses

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all it’s made out to be. In this intriguing novel full of drama and plot twists, one family tries to hold on to their “perfect” life before their secrets, lies, and scandals are exposed.

On the outside, the Joneses seem like the ideal family: Royce Jones, a funeral home mogul, and his wife, Lexi, are parents to Charity, Hope, and Lovie—and everybody wants to be them. But it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, and the Joneses are harboring secrets that can’t stay hidden forever…

The funeral home business has been slow lately, and Royce is in serious trouble. When Lexi learns of their financial strain, she vows to hold on to her status by any means necessary—even if it means going behind her husband’s back. Lovie, seeing his beloved mother so stressed, will do whatever it takes to put a smile back on her face. And sibling rivalries tense up when Charity and Hope both fall for the same guy. On top of this, they all have secrets they’re hiding not only from people outside their family—but from each other. It’s only a matter of time before the Joneses’ perfect life goes spinning out of control and they’re revealed for who they truly are.

Shelia Goss

Author: Shelia M. Goss

CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Shelia M. Goss. She is a national best-selling author and screenwriter, who received many accolades and awards every year from 2006 through 2014, including The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Literature, 2012 Emma Award Finalist, and 2013 Women of Color, Power and Influence Award.

CH: Shelia, thank you for joining us and welcome. Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

SMG: It’s a fast-paced novel that’s full of drama and plot twists that will have you eager to turn the pages.

CH: Since everybody wants to keep up with the Joneses, what prompted you to write this book?

SMG: I’ve always wanted to write a family drama.  I wanted to show that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Some people miss out on happiness trying to compare their lives with someone else’s life; never knowing what the other person has to go through.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story? 

SMG: I don’t write for trends because trends change.  I get story ideas in my head, but decide which one to work on based on what genre I want to write in, at the time. Once, I decide on the genre, I write the characters story.

CH: Are there any writers that you consider your mentor?

SMG: Yes. Vincent Alexandria, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, Magdalene Breaux and a few others were my mentors when I first decided to be an author.

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A woman on the go! Shelia’s writing space—her ipad and her iPhone.                                 The Aftermath (The Joneses 2) Coming in April 2015

CH: How long have you been writing?

SMG: I’ve been writing since I was about nine years old. My first novel was published about ten years ago.

CH: When you start a new story, does the story trigger the title or does the publisher have the final decision on the title?

SMG: My title is the theme for the book—99.9 percent of the time. I have the title before I start writing the first paragraph. There’s only been two times that I’ve had to change a title because the publisher didn’t like it.

CH: You included some sibling rivalry in this book, was it hard coming up with ideas for their issues?

SMG: No, it was easy. I just went with the flow and allowed the characters to tell me their side of the story.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

SMG: No. I drew from past experiences of having to help my mom plan my dad’s funeral and attending wakes and funerals to help me with some of the scenes.

CH: Not only is there drama on the page, but also between the sheets. Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

SMG: No, not really. I just allowed the characters to tell me their story.

CH: Since you write in multiple genres, which is your favorite genre?

SMG: I like writing in all of them, but if I had to choose one genre, I would say romance.  Regardless of what genre I write in, there will be some romance in the book. :)

CH: Can you tell us a little about your work in supporting literacy projects?

SMG: I try to support different literacy projects by using my blog as an open forum. I go out and speak at events with hopes of encouraging others to read.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

SMG: The time frame varies. I can write a first draft in four to six weeks, if I work on it consistently—five hours a day and at least five days a week.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SMG: Lexi Jones from my book, The Joneses, was my favorite character to write because she was smart, sassy and didn’t take mess from nobody.

CH: Which of all your books was hardest to write?

SMG: Sade’s Secret was the hardest book for me to write. So, Sade was my hardest character to write. I was emotionally drained after writing Sade’s story due to everything the character went through to overcome her adversities.  The book deals with the sensitive subject of child molestation and the fact that the mother failed to do something about it when her daughter brought it to her attention.

CH: So what’s next for you as an author?

SMG: The Aftermath (The Joneses 2) is coming in April 2015. But it’s hard to say. I plan to continue to write books. I’m also writing screenplays. There’s no limit to what’s next for me.

CH: Where can my readers find your website?

SMG: It is www.sheliagoss.com

CH: For my readers, where are your books sold?

SMG: My books are sold at any national retailer, such as Barnes and Noble, Walmart, etc. It’s also available at any of the online retailers, such as Amazon, Between the Lines Book Store, etc.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SMG: Thank you for introducing me to your network. I appreciate the support.

CH: Shelia, You are quite welcome and thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book with my readers

Note: Photos are compliments of Shelia M. Goss and the Internet.

CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                             Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – ReShonda Tate Billingsley

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Please, join us for Celebrity Guest Authors Month!

What's Done in the Dark_Cover

Title: What’s Done in the Dark

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: #1 national bestselling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley gets to the heart of loss, love, and betrayal in her latest novel that is sure to delight her legions of fans.

Felise is not the kind of woman to cheat on her husband—especially with her best friend’s man. But after one perfect storm of a night, it happened…and she can hardly believe it herself. To top it off, when she woke up in the morning, she found that the man to whom she guiltily made passionate love died of a heart attack overnight. Felise, who is a nurse and a good citizen at that, leaves the hotel room without reporting his death.

When her best friend, Paula, finds out about her husband’s sudden death a day later, Felise is overcome with guilt and grief. She must be there for her friend and her family, but when her husband repeatedly tries to apologize for his absentminded behavior and Paula starts investigating who Stephen was with the night he died, Felise finds it hard to hold herself together. Should she come clean and tell everyone what she did? Or should she just let it go and move past the mistake on her own?

Reshonda Billingsley

Author: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, who is the author of over thirty books and who originally self-published her first book.  ReShonda is a winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature for her book Say Amen, Again and was nominated also in 2013 for her book The Secret She Kept. ReShonda is a former professor of Broadcast Journalism at Langston University; and a former television and radio news reporter. 

CH: ReShonda, thank you for joining us and welcome! Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less and tell us why we should read What’s Done in the Dark?

RTB: A woman accidentally sleeps with her best friend’s husband and he dies in the hotel room. Does she stay or leave? Read the book to find out!

CH: What inspired you to write What’s Done in the Dark?

RTB: I presented the ‘What if you slept with your best friend’s husband and he died?’ question to social media. I was amazed at the responses and decided to explore the issue further.

CH: This book is about forgiveness, betrayal, friendship and love. Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

RTB: I do, and it’s that sometimes good people do bad things. That’s why forgiveness is essential to the soul. I also wanted to present a moral dilemma to see how people would handle it, and I wanted readers to see how one bad decision can ruin so many lives.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your page-turning writing?

RTB: I am big on character development, so I believe in putting my readers right in the room with the characters.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

RTB: Not really. The main thing was just getting it done, while running a publishing company.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

RTB: I take bits and pieces from real life. And I write reality, which is why I think my characters are so relatable.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RTB: Greg, because he made me so mad! I kept wanting to hurt my laptop.  :-)

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

RTB: I am a very observant person (some people call it being “nosy”), so I’m always taking in my surroundings.

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According to Sheretta, her assistant, “ReShonda is very nontraditional in that she doesn’t have a particular ‘writing space’ where she actually writes. As a busy mom and business owner who is involved in multiple projects at any given time, she writes when and where she can. She is working on a book project while standing in a checkout line.”

CH: How long does it take you to write a novel now, and how long did it take you to write your first novel? 

RTB: My first novel took about seven months to write. Now, it takes me about three months.

CH: When you write, do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?  

RTB: I write all over the place. There is no particular shape or form.

CH: Are there any other genres that you would like to write a book?

RTB: Actually, I’ve been blessed to write in multiple genres, so I really have covered everything that I’d like to do.

CH: What kind of advice do you have for those aspiring to write? If you had to give them a blueprint for success, what would that be?

RTB: Stop talking about writing and write. Don’t worry about editing or how something sounds. Just get the words onto the paper. Good novels aren’t written. They’re rewritten.

CH: What authors do you read? And who are some of your favorites?

RTB: I’m an avid reader. I love reading established authors and discovering new, independent authors. Since many of those I read are friends, I’m not about to name names. :-)

CH: You’ve written 30+ novels, can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

RTB: I started out self-published, got picked up by Simon & Schuster in 2003, and here I am, 35 books later.

CH: Where can my readers find your website?  

RTB: www.reshondatatebillingsley.com

CH: Where are your books sold? 

RTB: My books are available everywhere fine books are sold.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RTB: Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.

CH: You are quite welcome and thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book with my readers. ReShonda, we didn’t discuss that you and bestselling co-author and friend, Victoria Christopher Murray have teamed up and started Brown Girls Publishing (BGP), a new digital publishing company. BGP publishes a variety of genres and releases books in digital and POD trade paperback editions. But then, that’s a different story that I will have to have you back to discuss. ReShonda, it has been a pleasure talking with you, and we are looking forward to having you back soon! 

Note: Photos are compliments of ReShonda Tate Billingsley and the Internet.

CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                             Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

1st Blog Anniversary Behind The Scenes Thank You

Well, we’ve been celebrating our anniversary all month and the celebration is winding down.

A Very Special Thanks to Special People who have helped me in the first year to make this blog what it is today.

These people are special because they are my back-up strength. None of this would have been possible without their help, since I was new to blogging, I didn’t know much and I needed a little help along the way.

Martha Lane, my very first guest author and All of the Guest Authors, who followed her, who helped to make this blog a success.

Jack Passarella from AuthorPromo.com, who designed my website/blog and answered so many newbie questions.

Patrise Henkel from Clearwellco.com, a marketing communications coach and a member of the Accokeek Women’s Writing Group who has several blogs and has been blogging for a number of years.  She helped me with maximizing my use of wordpress and gave me a few simple tricks.

Heather King, an all-around helper. There is no way I could put into words how much  she has done to help make this dream of mine a reality. Sometimes I could afford to pay her and other times I couldn’t. But she always came through with a finished task.

To these people and others who I didn’t mention, but who helped in some way.

I absolutely am excited about what the next year will bring on this blog. We have some great plans for theme months, such as Celebrity Month, International Month, and Male Authors Month.  Just to name a few ideas.

I would like to raise a ‘virtual glass of sparkling apple cider’ to all of those wonderful people who helped me in so many ways.

Sparkling Apple Cider

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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Note: Picture thanks to the Internet.

Mourning Another Great Writer – J. California Cooper

J California Cooper

J. California Cooper was a celebrated African American playwright and author.

African American Author, J. California Cooper, dies at 82

The American literary arena will sadly miss J. California Cooper, her pen name.  I had the privilege of talking to Ms. Cooper many times on the phone, but never got the opportunity to meet her in person. She was chosen San Francisco’s Black Playwright of the Year in 1978; and she won the 1989 American Book Award for Homemade Love. One of her short stories, Funny Valentines, was made into a TV movie in 1999. Born Joan Cooper, she had an illustrious career with many accolades over the years.

J. California Cooper wrote about the struggles of black women and always offered wisdom and knowledge as the take away in her books. Alice Walker was a friend and her first publisher in the 1980’s when she suggested that Cooper write books in addition to her many plays.

Cooper was a storyteller for many years; she started by telling stories to her dolls and played with dolls late into her teens (much like my own daughter). She was very down to earth and had a sense of humor that I just loved. Our business conversations sounded more like friends. I emailed her once about our interview on my radio show and she said, “Honey, just call me. It’s easier than me trying to fool with this email stuff.”

I will miss J. California Cooper and her enjoyable writings.

Condolences to her devoted daughter, Paris Williams, and family. The literary world will miss her!

Guest Author Interview – O. H. Bennett

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Recognition Cover

Title: Recognition: A Novel

Synopsis:This fourth novel by O.H. Bennett represents a departure from his earlier work, characterized by rich depictions of African-American families rendered in quiet but powerfully charged prose. These qualities are present in Recognition, but with the addition of a twisting plot and thriller-like intensity.

Dana, a single-mother, is driving home one rainy evening when, as she passes a homeless panhandler, she recognizes the features of her long-absent husband. Warren Reynolds disappeared from Dana’s life a decade earlier — his body mysteriously missing after a terrible auto accident from which a pregnant Dana was rescued. After glimpsing the man she believes might be her husband, Dana begins surreptitiously searching for him, and is plunged back into memories of the difficulties they were grappling with at the time of Warren’s disappearance. She struggles with whether she can reveal her belief that her husband might be alive to her friends, her in-laws, and, most importantly, her son.

Masterful and psychologically penetrating, Recognition is a taut, engrossing work from a critically acclaimed author. Bennett, known for his terse style and vivid characters rooted in the mainstream of African-American experience, has put his rich, unique, and riveting storytelling talents on full display for all readers.

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Author: O.H. Bennett

CH: O.H. welcome to my blog. Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less? And can you tell us why we should read your book.

OHB: Thank you Cheryl for this chance to connect with your readers.

Driving home one night, a single mother spots a homeless man, who she recognizes as her husband, who supposedly died nine years ago.

I think your readers will enjoy Recognition because it’s fast paced, suspenseful and a human story.  Dana, the mother, is searching for her husband and searching for a way to put her past at rest.  It’s something she prayed for, but never imagine could happen, this chance to piece her life together.

CH: It has been said that you have a story-telling talent. Does story telling come naturally for you or did you have to learn how to do it?

OHB: I think talent is only part of the equation.  The other part, the larger part, is desire.  Whatever it is you want to be a dancer, singer, artist, writer, you need a dose of talent and a whole lot of never quit.  I love hearing stories and reading them.  I love telling them, too.  I’ve always wanted to write.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

OHB: I take my stories from real life.  Not necessarily my life, but from the known world around me.  It doesn’t matter if it is literary fiction, science fiction, or urban fiction.  If the readers recognize the characters and can see a bit of themselves in them, then the stories will have weight and be believable.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

OHB: I don’t try to stick in a message.  If the story works, the readers will find the messages and they’ll do a better job of finding them than I do.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

OHB: The characters come from parts of people I know or have met.  Hopefully they will feel real to readers because they are based on real people.  But no one character is based solely on one person.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

OHB: Stories come to me as single ideas and I jot them down in my journal.  The ones that I find the most compelling end up in my stories.

CH: Since this is a thriller with multiple plots, did you have to do any special research to write this book?

OHB: In Recognition, I used one point of view that of the single mother and teacher, Dana, and let the story unwind as she experiences it.  The story takes place over ground that I’m a little familiar with so not a lot of research was required.  But I am an advocate for due research, anything that will make the story more authentic for the reader.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

OHB: The challenge is always to do what it takes to tell the story and keep the readers interested at the same time.  As Dana, my main character, gets closer to the truth, danger gets closer to her.  Readers have to guess along with her just who is who.

CH: Are there any books or authors that influence you as an author?

OHB: Yes!  Too many to name them all, but a few from the top of my head are Ernest J. Gaines, Edward P. Jones, Toni Morrison, Walter Moseley, Richard Wright, and many others.

CH: Since you are a relatively new writer and this is your fourth book, what attracted you to writing in the first place? How long have you been writing?

OHB: I’ve been writing for a long time.  Decades.  I love reading.  Writing and reading, of course, are different sides of the same coin.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

OHB: I keep writing.  I’m working on a new manuscript right now.  I don’t tell anyone about my stories until I’m past page one hundred.  Story ideas are fragile things.  One wrong, though well-meaning word can kill them.

CH: Do you have a website?

OHB: No, but I invite your readers to check out my Amazon author’s page at www.amazon.com/books/O.-H.-Bennett.

CH: Where is your book sold?

OHB: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, lots of web sites and bookstores.  The good people at Agate Bolden do a great job of getting books by black authors out and available.

CH: Any closing remarks?

OHB: Again, thank you Cheryl for the opportunity and I wish you and your readers all the best.

CH: Thank you so much, O. H. for sharing your new book and part of your writing journey with my audience.  

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

Book Review: Seeds of Magnolia by Bill Miller

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Title: Seeds of Magnolia

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: The most peaceful years of Austin Miller’s life were before he married. Only he, Sophia and her mother, Elizabeth, were in the house. After his marriage, the house became a hotbed of chaos fueled by overzealous attitudes and unyielding temperaments. His marriage had been strained by adultery, and after it had been patched, they were separated by the war. Sophia’s best friends were three white girls that she grew up with. When seen by someone that did not know them, they would assume that all four were white. The color of their skin would not be enough to tell that one had a trace of black blood in her veins that made her a slave. Appearing to be white did not make a person white, and being black had its’ limitations. Yet, in a small southern town in Tennessee, Sophia ignored the social code regarding interracial relationships. Seeds of Magnolia unveils some of the stories that have been sheltered by the family—stories that have been kept in the closet, swept under the rug, or just gone untold.

Bill Miller

Author: Bill Miller                                                                                                         Note: Bill Miller is a first-time, self-published author.

For those readers who don’t know me, let me preface this book review by saying two things: I dislike historical books; and I dislike books that are almost 450 pages. But I started reading…

Just reading the synopsis captured my attention. This book was an emotional page-turner. I cried, I laughed, and I got angry…throughout the book to the very end.

The story began when Austin Miller purchased Elizabeth as his housekeeper from the Mrs. Taylor. Mr. Taylor had just died and they had recently moved from North Carolina to Tennessee. Mrs. Taylor was happy to get rid of them, since Elizabeth had been raped by Mr. Taylor, and had a baby, Sophia, who strongly resembled Mr. Taylor. Mrs. Taylor did not want to look at Sophia, a toddler, as a constant reminder of her deceased husband’s infidelity.  So, Elizabeth and her child were sold to Austin Miller.

Elizabeth had no idea if the Miller plantation would be any different than the Taylor plantation for their slaves. But indeed the Miller plantation was like no other plantation. On the Miller plantation, Sophia grew up with three playmates and best friends, Caroline, Amanda and Emily. And when people saw the four of them playing together, they assumed they were four white girls, and they didn’t realize that one of the girls was a slave.

Austin Miller was a lawyer, a politician and a wealthy single businessman, who worked long hours and just wanted peaceful evenings, so he didn’t bother correcting slave life at the plantation—as long as it felt right, he was fine. For many years, this was a peaceful life for Austin Miller, his slave housekeeper and her child.

Then Mr. Miller married a rich widow with two children and an arrogant attitude.  Mrs. Miller believed that slaves were at the bottom of the social class, while their owners were at the top of society and she ran her household as such, which contrasted with how Mr. Miller had run the household before his wife’s arrival.

Mrs. Miller had an inimitable personality and there was constant conflict between her and Sophia, who was now a teenager with an attitude, as well. Life happened during the next few years—Magnolia Manor was built, children were born, Mr. Miller was a member of the Senate, adultery scarred their marriage, friends came and friends were lost, love blossomed among slaves at bush harbor, and the family continued to grow in size.

Then the biggest change of all—the Civil War. It divided families, friends, the North and the South, slaves and slave owners. Mr. Miller left for his safety. Generals Grant and Sherman arrived to take over Magnolia Manor. Mrs. Miller and the slaves were left to fend for themselves during this time of destruction.

Absolutely nothing was the same after the Civil War was over. Life and attitudes would never be as they were prior to the war.

So much happened and I just couldn’t put the book down. When I finished reading, it was a sigh of relief and happiness, because my thirst had been quenched. I always enjoy it when an author mixes both history and fiction to make a truly believable and spell-bounding story.

There were some minor editing issues—misspelled and omitted words—that I attributed to the length of the book…450 pages. I am looking forward to the sequel. After reading Seeds of Magnolia, I can no longer say that I dislike historical books. LOL.

I wish Bill Miller much success in his writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

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Action Steps:                                                                                                                     1.  View/read this blog and comment  

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DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Guest Author Interview – Stacy Campbell

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Title: Forgive Me

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: In this fast-paced sequel to the debut novel, Dream Girl Awakened, five characters come to grips with their pasts amidst broken friendships, infidelity, grief, and loss.

Aruba Dixon has hit rock bottom. After two years of marriage, her second husband has died of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she finds herself wanting to end it all. A botched suicide attempt makes her parents reach out to her ex-husband, James, for assistance. Up until that late-night phone call, James is living the golden life of success and wealth, but now everything is about to spin out of control… Meanwhile, Tawatha Gibson is grateful for the chance to be free again. After serving five years in prison, she is released on a technicality. Though shunned from those she loves most, Tawatha clings to the dream that she will be given another chance to start anew. But when her daughter, Aunjanue, learns about her release from prison, she’s not sure she can celebrate her mother’s freedom, let alone forgive her.

Then there’s Victoria Faulk, who struggles with forgiving and forgetting. After a messy divorce, she wrestles with feelings of inadequacy and doubt. When her new beau, Emory Wilkerson, proposes in front of family and friends, she knows she’ll never be happy until she forgives the one person who hurt her—her old “friend,” Aruba Dixon.

As the events unfold around the lives of these women, they face the challenge of letting go of the past and building new bonds. Will they come full circle and learn to move on, or will their past mistakes follow them forever?

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Author: Stacy Campbell

CH: Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining me and allowing my readers to get to know you and your writing. 

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book? 

SC: Readers should read Forgive Me to understand the beauty of letting go of grudges and forgiving others.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your type of writing? 

SC: My type of writing is different because I write about things people say could never happen to them, but may in fact, can.  I like to explore themes of relationships, love, and why it’s important to stay connected to those we love. Also, there’s something about the concept of the grass being greener on the other side that intrigues me.  I’ve seen so many friendships and relationships crumble due to this myth. I say, “Water your own grass!”

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing? 

SC: I’ve been writing since I was younger; I began to take the craft seriously about twelve years ago by entering contests, workshops, and applying for grants.  I realized, although I love literary fiction, lots of subjects fascinate me and I can tell a tale more than one way.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?

SC: I write my own stories, or what I call heart stories. I tackle things that I know or things I’m willing to research. Trend following is too tricky and too unpredictable. There is only one, The Help. There is only one, The Fault In Our Stars. There is only one, Addicted.  (Let’s face it, Zane cracked the erotica market years ago.) By the time an author jumps on the trend bandwagon, a new wave of themes hits the bestseller lists and writers are stuck with imitations. There is nothing new under the sun, but the way an author spins the tale, their heart story, makes the difference.

CH: That’s a great way to look at trends. So, what inspired you to write Forgive Me

SC: Forgive Me is the sequel to my first novel, Dream Girl Awakened. Readers contacted me about the story and wanted to know what happened to the three main characters. Forgive Me takes place five years later and looks at the lives of the key players from book one.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?  

SC: I wanted to make sure the characters grew. That was a challenge for me because one character is still stuck on stupid. (Yes, they’re my children, so I can talk about them.) I also wanted to paint a realistic portrait of the fall-out of infidelity.  Once I started the story, it came together for me.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book? 

SC: I researched my local prison system and talked to lots of my educator friends, who helped me with field trip protocol, teaching, etc.

CH: What genre are you most comfortable writing?

SC: Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? 

SC: Victoria Faulk. I hated her the most when I started writing book one, but had so much compassion for her by the end of both books. She was truly a victim of circumstance. 

CH: Take us through your writing process. When you get an idea, do you map out the book beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story? 

SC: I wrote the first two books freestyle because the stories flowed quickly. I have discovered a great tool called the Ten Scene Plotting Tool. It was created by James V. Smith and the twelve beat script plot. The chart is designed to eliminate writer’s block and give the writer a big picture look at the story so ideas will flow. It is available at http://www.kkitts.net/downloads/files/TenScenePlot.pdf.   I can attest that this helped me with book three tremendously. So, I am more open to plotting and outlining now.

CH: Do you have plans for a new book? 

SC: Yes. Wouldn’t Change A Thing, my third novel, will be released in the summer of 2015.  On the morning of her engagement party, Atlanta architect Antoinette Williamson awakens to her family’s secret of mental illness on the front page of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The story explores mental illness in the African-American community and how far one family member goes to protect her niece.

CH: Do you have a website? 

SC: Readers can reach me at www.stacyloveswriting.com. The site is being revamped, but I’m also reachable at my email address georgiapeach2814@aol.com.

CH: Where are your books sold? 

SC: They are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.com. You can also order the books directly from me through PayPal.

CH: Any Closing Remarks? 

SC: Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I appreciate the support and look forward to hearing from readers and writers.  Also, I hope aspiring authors know that anything is possible and to never give up on their writing dreams.

CH: Thank you, Stacy, and thank you for sharing your book with my audience and your writing journey. I wish you much success for your writing career.  

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

1st Blog Anniversary: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Blogging That Successful Bloggers Know by Cheryl Holloway

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10 Things Ive learned

I’ve been writing on my blog for one year and I have over 100 posts. In that year,  I’ve learned ten things that successful bloggers know.  They are:

  1. Blog Readers are important.  My blog readers mean the world to me! I love each and every one of them, especially those who take the time out of their busy schedule to visit my blog. I just wish I could meet more than one blog reader at a time.
  1. Writing for readers is even more important. I enjoy writing for my readers. Good appearance, proper grammar and topics of interest are at the top of the list.
  1. Building a blog is difficult. You can’t build a blog over night.  You have to be realistic in your expectations. So, I try to build my blog by writing more good posts and by giving the readers what they request.
  1. You can’t blog all the time. Sometimes, life gets in the way and you have to take a break. I try to blog as often as I can.
  1. Blog on a regular basis. You need to blog at least 2-3 times a week. Often, life gets in the way and I can’t blog as many times as I have planned.
  1. Blog about varied topics. I have to change things up from time-to-time. I try to write when I have interesting thoughts. I want to give my readers something different, and I don’t want to be like everyone else.
  1. Bloggers need to tell readers about themselves. I try to tell a little bit about myself. A short bio is listed on the blog, but the best bio is listed on my website.     I try to give you a peak into my life then and now. I like just being me.
  1. Other bloggers are willing to help. From time-to-time, I need suggestions and help from other bloggers. I also post on other blogs for writers.
  1. Blog reader comments are sparse. Comments don’t come as often as I’d like. Blog readers care…they just don’t comment much. I only get a few comments—but the ones I get are great!
  2.  Bloggers love blogging.  I love blogging! (And I love writing, too!) So, I will be around for years to come.

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  • Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Marissa Monteilh

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    Title: You’ve Got It Bad: Dr. Feelgood Sequel

    Genre: Women’s Fiction

    Synopsis:The good doctor, Dr. Makkai Worthy, returns as Dr. Feelgood in the steamy sequel of a handsome, popular heart surgeon who repairs hearts in his professional life, yet breaks them in his personal life. Dr. Makkai Worthy’s daughter Fonda is now five-years old, and her mother, Monday Askins, who abandoned Fonda after giving birth, is back, and she vows to make good on her threat to get her daughter if it’s the last thing she does. Dr. Feelgood is unattached after his split from Mary Jane Cherry, and his life-saving hands are full, as his love of women again rules his rolling stone life. But one sequence of dramatic events leads to another, and if Dr. Feelgood plans to save himself, he’ll need to break the generational curses that bind and face some unexpected truths. Will his love of women continue to rule his world, or will he break all the rules and prove to himself, that having it bad, ain’t good?

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    Author: Marissa Monteilh

    CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Marissa Monteilh, who is the author of over twenty books and originally self-published her first book. Since then, she has won numerous awards for her literary contributions. 

    CH: Marissa, thank you for joining us and welcomePlease tell us in 20 words or less why we should read your book?

    MM: If you’ve ever fallen for a player; yet, wondered why he played and you stayed, read the Dr. Feelgood series.

    CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for this series?

    MM: I met a young man whose rolling stone father had nearly one-hundred children, most of whom he’d never met. This young man admitted that he himself was unable to be monogamous because he simply craved women. I wanted to show what that looked like and felt like. Dr. Makkai Worthy is a handsome, successful heart surgeon, and he’s talented in the bedroom. His skills drive women crazy. Chaos ensures, especially once Dr. Feelgood discovers more about his own father’s life. Once his past meets his present, it changes his future. You’ve Got It Bad picks up where Dr. Feelgood leaves off.

    CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

    MM: Random concepts come to me while I’m driving, while I’m in the shower, or even while I’m falling asleep. Also, ideas come from conversations with people, news stories, talk show subjects, or when I’m listening to a song. I begin to wonder what that certain situation would look like in a novel. Stories come to me as a situational idea, and I develop it further.

    CH: Is this the last book in this series?

    MM: Yes, You’ve Got It Bad is the absolute last book in the series. I am proud of the directions that the original title and the sequel have taken, though I will miss the sexy antics of Dr. Makkai Worthy.

    CH: Do you get continual feedback from your readers on a series?

    MM: I do get continual feedback from readers. Some agree with my character’s choices, and some do not. Readers are good about sharing which characters they liked the most, and those they love to hate. Some want their own Dr. Feelgood, because like Aretha Franklin sang, he knows how to make a woman feel real, real good!

    CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

    MM: My situations are not from my real life, but perhaps the life of someone I don’t know that I find interesting. For me, creating believable situations is about having a good understanding of who my characters are; yet, allowing them to surprise even me. Even a far-fetched scenario can be believable and fit, if it’s written well.

    CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

    MM: I can write a book in three months, though I prefer the luxury of one year. I can have my first draft done pretty quickly, say in a month. My first drafts are mainly dialogue, and then as I layer and edit, layer and edit, it takes on a life of its own.

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    Marissa’s office, where she created a menagerie of characters, including Dr. Feelgood.

    CH: For all of your books, how many genres have you written? Are there any other genres that you would like to write a book?

    MM: I’ve written in three genres thus far: women’s fiction, erotica, and now non-fiction with my September 2014 title, The Mind of a Woman: 365 Relationship Scenario Discussion Questions. I will venture into interracial romance in 2015.

    CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

    MM: My favorite character to write was in The Six-Letter Word. The main character, McKenzie Livingston, dealt with a less than perfect marriage, while facing the realities of cervical cancer. She moved me and inspired me, and I enjoyed creating her; yet, she’s no different than so many brave women facing the realities of a crumbling marriage, and/or cancer.

    CH: Are any of the characters similar to you?

    MM: Perhaps, Dr. Feelgood’s mom, Corrine Worthy is a bit similar to me. She’s experienced infidelity, loss, love, growth and setbacks; and has settled down after raising her kids. She’s also admitted her sins. She loves her son unconditionally, and desires for him to be happy. She knows that no one is perfect, and embraces her faults as opportunities to grow. I can totally relate to that.

    CH: Where did you get inspiration for Dr. Feelgood?

    MM: I got inspiration for Dr. Feelgood after seeing so many women who fell for the handsome, successful man, who admittedly tells them that he doesn’t want to settle down, but they believe they can change him. This book isn’t so much about players, as it’s really about the women who love them.

    CH: How long did it take you to write your first novel? Were any subsequent books harder to write than the first?

    MM: My first novel was May December Souls, and I wrote it in about nine months. It’s semi-autobiographical, so it’s very special to me. The book that was harder to write was one of my erotic titles, Politics. Escorts. Blackmail. My editor, Latoya Smith, challenged me to tighten it up, in particular the political scenes, and there were times when I wanted to pull my hair out, but I stuck with it and successfully completed what I believe to be one of my best titles.

    CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

    MM: The message in You’ve Got It Bad is one of forgiveness. Saying the words, “I forgive you,” is tough, but it is so very necessary, not only for the person we’re saying it to, but even more so, for ourselves.

    CH: Is it somewhat difficult keeping a consistent persona in a character when they’re going throughout a Series?

    MM: For me, writing sequels is sometimes easier, because I start out already knowing those characters. It’s like a reunion, so it’s not at all difficult.

    CH: Where can we find your website?

    MM: My website is www.marissamonteilh.com.There you will find my contact info, synopses of my titles, tour dates, and links to my social media pages.

    CH: Where are your books sold?

    MM: My books are available wherever books are sold, as well as online. My eBooks are available on Amazon.com, IBooks.com, or BN.com.

    CH: Any Closing Remarks? 

    MM: I’d just like to thank you Cheryl Holloway Robinson and Just About Books for this opportunity. I appreciate your interest, time, and support!

    CH: You are quite welcome and thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book series with my readers. Marissa, it has been a great experience talking with you. We wish you unlimited success in your literary career. 

    Note: Photos are compliments of Marissa Monteilh.

    CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!

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