Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: Giving Up the Ghost

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Giving Up The Ghost
Stacy Deanne
4 Stars

In Giving Up the Ghost by Stacy Deanne readers should prepare for a rollercoaster ride. Detective Brianna Morris and Detective Steven Kemp are investigating the brutal attack of Brianna’s friend Cheyenne. Brianna becomes so fixated on one suspect that she neglects other possibilities that could solve the case.
Brianna meets Simon Watts who happens to be a friend of Cheyenne. Simon is instantly attracted to the detective and helping with the investigation means he can be close to Brianna. Brianna feels the same attraction to Simon and finds herself wanting to know more about him. As the investigation goes on Brianna and Simon’s attraction for each other grows stronger. Brianna finds out Simon is not sharing everything with her and once Simon’s past is revealed Brianna will have to make a decision.

Detective Steven Kemp is still harboring feelings for his partner. Steven feels there is something suspicious going on with Cheyenne’s case. When he starts looking more into the suspects the news he discovers will shock everyone.
Giving Up the Ghost is about judging a book by its cover. First impressions are lasting ones and in this book people are not as they seem. The author does a wonderful job pulling readers into this mystery of amnesia, love and deceit. Readers will learn that Brianna is a detective first and human second. This is a page-turning book of surprises that kept me intrigued until the end. I recommend this book to others.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes.
Teresa Beasley
A&RBC Reviews

Book Review: Speeding Tickets

Speeding Tickets
Valley Brown
3.5 Stars

In Speeding Tickets by Valley Brown, readers are introduced to Christine Cassler a widow trying to piece her life back together. When Christine happens to meet Doug an intriguing stranger that helps her out of a dilemma, she feels he is heaven sent. Christine’s life begins to change and she feels she can live again. Doug brings out the best in her and she hopes this is not too good to be true.
Doug does not mind helping the damsel in distress on the side of the road. After helping Christine, he cannot get her off his mind. When the two begin dating the attraction is undeniable. When obstacles start getting in the way of their happiness, will Doug stand by his woman?

Speeding Tickets is about starting over and overcoming faults. This book combines romance, a love for motorcycles and a little bit of mystery. This combination did not work for me. The book started slow but picked up later and I found myself looking for more from the twist in the story. I recommend this book to those who have a love for bike riding.

This book was provided by the author for review purpose.
Teresa Beasley
A&RBC Reviews

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Holiday Blog Tour: Francis Ray

Trouble Don't Last Always
Francis Ray

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Desperate to escape her abusive marriage, Lilly Crawford files for divorce, then slips away from her small east Texas hometown with little more than the clothes on her back. She points her twelve-year-old car east, hoping to find a new beginning. When her car breaks down in Louisiana, Lilly finds unexpected employment as the caregiver for a wealthy neurosurgeon named Adam Wakefield, who lost his sight in a recent carjacking. At first, this handsome, brooding man reminds her too much of the angry husband she left behind and she reminds him of how far he has fallen from the self-assured man he once was. However, as the two spend long days together, an unexpected bond develops—one that will be deeply tested. For Lilly must confront her violent husband before she can ever hope to move on and truly discover a second chance at life and love.
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The Wish
Francis Ray

The Wish–never before released as a standalone novella! Previously published in the anthology Gettin’ Merry. Be careful what you wish for. That’s the lesson a fine brother with a wounded heart learns when an eccentric old woman grants him a wish for true love–if he’s not too blind to see it.

About Francis Ray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Francis Ray is a native Texan and lives in Dallas. INCOGNITO, her sixth title, was the first made-for-TV movie for BET. Her literary fiction series-Taggart and Falcon, the Invincible Women, Grayson Family of New Mexico, and Grayson Friends have consistently made bestseller's lists, and are enjoyed by readers world-wide. She has written forty-seven books to date. Awards include Romantic Times Career Achievement, EMMA, The Golden Pen, Atlantic Choice, Borders 2008 Romance Award for bestselling Multicultural Romance for NOBODY BUT YOU. IF YOU WERE MY MAN was selected as Written 2010 Book of the Year.
To learn more about the author visit: or

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Book Tour: Mary Monroe

Featured Book: Mama Ruby Prequel to the Upper Room
If you are a fan of Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, you will love Mama Ruby and the writings of Mary Monroe! 
How did Ruby and Othella Mae, from The Upper Room, come to be who they are today? 

Find out in the exciting prequel to The Upper Room, titled Mama Ruby. There’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare…but there will be a reckoning....

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents an unforgettable tale featuring Mama Ruby, the indomitable heroine of her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Now readers will get a peek into Ruby’s early years, as she transforms from a spoiled small-town girl into one of the South’s most notorious and volatile women…

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. By the time she’s fifteen, Ruby has developed a taste for fast men and cheap liquor, and not even her preacher daddy can set her straight. Most everyone in the neighborhood knows you don’t cross Ruby. Only Othella Mae Cartier, daughter of the town tramp, understands what makes Ruby tick.

When Ruby discovers she’s in the family way, she’s scared for the first time in her life. After hiding her growing belly with baggy dresses, Ruby secretly gives birth to a baby girl at Othella’s house. With few choices, Othella talks Ruby into giving the child away and with the help of a shocking revelation, convinces Ruby to run off with her to New Orleans.

But nothing can erase Ruby’s memories of the child she lost or quell her simmering rage at Othella for persuading her to let her precious baby go. If there’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare, Ruby is surely treading it. Because someday, there will be a reckoning. And when it comes, Othella will learn the hard way that no one knows how to exact revenge quite like Ruby Jean Upshaw!

Publishers Weekly Book Review
Mary Monroe's prequel to The Upper Room reintroduces readers to Mama Ruby, a fierce and indomitable woman. This time Monroe focuses on Ruby's early adolescence as the youngest daughter of a preacher in 1930s Louisiana. While her parents shelter her from the harsh world, Ruby is eager for adult sensations, especially sex, and embraces her desire when she meets the promiscuous Othella and her brother, Ike. Ruby and Othella experiment with neighborhood boys and Ruby soon gets pregnant. Othella and her mother persuade her to give the baby up at birth, and doing so haunts Ruby forever. Ruby and Othella then flee small town life only to become prostitutes in New Orleans and take part in a killing. Though readers new to the series will have to accept the dialect, ever-present threat of violence, and explicit sex scenes, they'll appreciate the compelling period and the unapologetic characters. Familiarity with The Upper Room smoothes the way. (June)
Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe 
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Dafina (June 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0758238614
ISBN-13: 978-0758238610
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches 

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About Author Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe is the third child of Alabama sharecroppers and the first and only member of her family to finish high school. She did not attend college or any writing classes, but taught herself how to write and started writing short stories around the age of four. She spent the first part of her life in Alabama and Ohio, and moved to Richmond, California, in 1973. She has lived in Oakland since 1984.

Her first novel, The Upper Room, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1985, and was widely reviewed throughout the U.S. and in Great Britain.   She endured fifteen years and hundreds of rejection letters before she landed a contract for her second novel, God Don’t Like Ugly.  It was published in October 2000, by Kensington Books. God Don’t Play was her seventh novel to be published, and it landed her a spot on the prestigious New York Times bestsellers list for the first time!

Mary is divorced, loves to travel, loves to mingle with other authors, and she'll read anything by Ernest Gaines, Stephen King, Alice Walker, and James Patterson.  She still writes seven days a week and gets most of her ideas from current events, and the people around her, but most of her material is autobiographical.

New York Times Bestselling author Mary Monroe created fabulous books such as: Mama Ruby, The Upper Room and the God Don't Like Ugly series for readers with a sense of humor and adventure. When The Upper Room was published, Monroe had this to say:  "This is my story -- these characters are people I know, it's my life!"

Meet author Mary Monroe as she travels across the nation discussing Mama Ruby and her literary journey. View more book details and her tour schedule at her website:

Join Author Mary Monroe on Twitter: @marymonroebooks

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Book Tour: Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Figurative Fisticuffs 
By Sherryle Kiser Jackson

I had to come to terms with my main character, Pamela “Pill” Jones Taylor from my 2011 release, Taylor- Made. The book was already on the production calendar. At that point I should have been well on my way to scripting her life. My narrative was slow-going because of Pill. That’s her nickname-whether bitter or sweet, she’s good for ya, she’d say. I had to admit, I created her, but I did not know her.

In her husband’s words she’s a petite package of chocolate perfection. The diva type, headstrong hairdresser, she’s nonchalant to the point of rudeness. Stylish, secretive, cynical, snide, you’ve met the type.

I like to think I have characterization down. I get involved in my characters lives. Sometimes I am a parent that nurtures. Other times I am in the bushes stalking them. More than anything, I am a slave at their mercy. I like it that way, an O short of loony. They speak to me and I write it all down eventually. I do everything but assign them a social security number.

This time there was a hold out in my program- Pill. I mean I knew her, but I don’t know her. It’s like she lives on my street, but I haven’t had her over. We’re associates, but not friends. I know her husband (my other main character, Corey), but I haven’t met the misses. This chick was illusive.

I would write a chapter, or more like a fraction of the chapter, and hit a bump in the road. I’d re-read, which is usually as much a part of writing as adding to the word count. But, I was doing this incessantly. I was going to the beginning, page one, paragraph one. Instead of laying a trail, I was trying to find a trail, a pattern of behavior, waiting for this Queen Diva to speak. Why, why, why, why why? She was not dishing.

I have been a part of a biweekly writer’s group for over 10 years now that started at the former Sister Space and Books in DC. Every time I’d bring a chapter for critique they’d ask about Pill. Why does she do the things she does? Why is she a certain way toward her husband? Is she devious or delusional? Although I had a hard time answering all of their inquiries; that last one got me though. Is she a protagonist or antagonist? I’m thinking, c’mon now, that’s basic character motivation, or back story-the dibs. That’s the basic foundation of the house that is my story line, the framework, the pipes and wiring. This was my chance to play God, or more like the 3rd person omniscient narrator. I was supposed to know more than the characters. Pill was punking me, making me look dumb in front of my fellow writers. So, I did like any sell-respecting author would do. I asked her outside.

On one of my many writing hiatuses, I remembered a writing exercise from one of my craft books, Soul Between the Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing by Dorothy Randall Gray and Luisah Teish (Paperback - Mar. 1998) I had not seen the book in eons and knew it must be in my garage somewhere, but I was desperate to get past this impasse. I remembered you invite your character to the proverbial hot seat or therapist chair, if you will, and ask them very nicely, “ Pill, what is it that you have to say?” and then you listen and take notes. Sounds loony, I know like I bought a vowel for that last O.

It was worth a try. I had my earrings out, but maybe I didn’t need to fight her after all. I had tried this exercise before some ten years ago when I was writing Soon and Very Soon. It worked then. Why not now?

So I got quiet. I visualized the diva. I asked the question and doggone it if she didn’t start to speak. She told me I didn’t need to know all her business. She didn’t think the other characters needed to know either. She was covering up her flaws and secrets with a flashy wardrobe and a nasty attitude. It was all smoke and mirrors for what was really going on inside.

I think the key to tapping into this character was returning to the pen and pad to record these responses rather than the keyboard. It was almost as if she (or the inner me) felt threatened to perform or felt the need to hide in the midst of the narrative. The fresh lined paper gave her permission to be less polished, This is far from a sketch, but a ramble of consciousness. She was free to repeat herself as much as she wanted to. She could tell her truth. You not only take down details, but you discover nuances. I heard the cadence and intonation of her voice. I could sense the touchy subjects that she’d rather avoid like those of her mother and growing up poor. I could re-direct her with another question before she began to clam up or at least until I could figure out her hang ups. She showed her true colors. It was a safe space for her and I honored that.

This was indeed therapy. Now, I can go back to my story, already in progress, and carry a little bit of her with me each time. I shade in the picture I began to draw because I have a full palette. Pill is more than someone I merely recognize. She is someone I know. We’re not BFFs but we’re not in figurative fisticuffs anymore either.

Taylor-Made by Sherryle Kiser Jackson
A young couple is forced to face their past through the mirror of marriage.

When materialistic Pill’s husband asks her to join him for Marriage Maintenance classes, he hopes they can get their marriage back on track. But will Pill get on board—even if it means “going without” again?
Purchase on AmazonBlack Expressions,  or  Barnes & Noble
ISBN-10: 1601627955
ISBN-13: 978-1601627957 

Meet The Author 
Multi-published author, wife, mother and teacher, Sherryle strives to be a fresh voice in Christian Fiction. Born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, Sherryle went on to get a degree in Elementary Education from from Salisbury State University. Her triumphant debut novel, Soon and Vey Soon (2007) was followed up by her sophomore release, The Manual (2009), Soon After (2010) and Taylor- Made (2011) for Urban Christian Books.  She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. Visit Sherryle: 

TAYLOR MADE by Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Pamela "Pill" Jones has more than baggage; she has a whole storage unit. Partially raised by her older sister, she is accustomed to struggling to survive by any means necessary. Pill has vowed to always have the best. Priding herself on being a fashionista and living the life of a commercially successful hairstylist, Pill has just one problem: money runs through her hands like water through a sieve. When she taps out her bank account, Pill is forced to realize there are some things the makeup at the MAC counter can't cover, and some burdens her Dooney and Burke bag can't carry.

Living in the shadow of his cousin, Pill's husband of six months, Corey, is trying to forge his own identity with a spiritual foundation. After falling head over heels with the very sexy and self-confident Pill, Corey finds that his treasure of a wife comes with a promissory note. During the course of the Marriage Maintenance class at their church, Corey finds there is no end to their relationship issues. He hopes through prayer and devotion that they can find the source of their own individual pain, so they can heal together.

With Pill and Corey, keeping up with the Joneses means chasing after their own desires on the raw fuel of their convictions.
Excerpt: Chapter 1Pamela Jones Taylor was looking at a pitiful sight nestled in her lap. When she realized she wasn't moving she turned her attention back to the road. She crept toward the exit of the Suburban Banking and Trust lot.

A drizzle was dampening the sign of a homeless man at the corner. It read, Hungary, please help. God Bless. The misspelling was compounding the effect of the man's hopelessness.

"C'mon," she groaned, out of exasperation a few moments later, as a new model Mercedes Benz switched over into the lane she was about to turn into, blocking her exit from the bank parking lot. Three more luxury cars whizzed by her before a soccer mom in a stereotypical minivan, distracted and obviously yelling at several kids, allowed her access to the main road where she sat with the rest of the speed demons at the red light.

The homeless guy could hardly be seen for the Korean man with a pail of roses working the same corner. The homeless man, a wiry dark-skinned man of fifty-something with few personal effects confined to a small duffel bag did have a rain poncho. It was the thin, clear plastic kind with a hood that anyone can buy from the dollar store that made them feel as if they were wearing a plastic bag.

Pam remembered being forced to go into a corner store by her older sister to buy one of those cheap shields herself years ago when she was crowned homecoming queen in her senior year of high school. She remembered how embarrassed she felt encased in plastic like a couch in her Aunt Agnes' living room. She played it off by telling people that she still wanted her outfit to be seen through the transparent shield. Other girls in her homecoming court in anticipation of the rainy forecast went out and bought matching umbrellas and the pink polka dot rain slickers that were high-priced and in style then.

In her Cosmopolitan dreams, she would have done one better and gotten the complimentary designer boots. In reality though, her sister informed her that her homecoming attire was already a luxury they could not afford. Once again she was painfully aware that there was a wide gap between the have and the have nots. The latter was the story of their life with their momma. She decided then that she would not only be among the ones who have, but that she would have it all.

The memory made her sneer at the homeless man as he inched his way toward her car holding his sign at her car window. He had nothing coming. She put her hand up for added emphasis. She had her own problems. She flipped open her pink metallic razor cell phone and adjusted the ear piece. The round knob would not fit comfortably in her ear. She needed a Bluetooth in her life, like the girls at work. She also had her eye on the new iPhones with a built in Mp3 player and touch screen for texting, like Carmen's, the salon owner she worked for. Switching phones meant switching payment plans and since she was now married it would be something else she would have to negotiate with her husband, Corey.

She decided to call Corey and engage him in a little game of bait and catch. He was a ground deliveryman for UPS which made his cell phone his mobile office and made his talk time limited. When they first got married six months ago, she had to get use to their brief check -in calls at least once a day. She figured today it would give her opportunity to gage his mood.

"Everything all right?" Corey asked, after greeting her.

"I have to run into the drugstore. I was wondering do you need anything?"

He did that kind of half-sigh, half-chuckle he sometimes does that she had not quite distinguished between amusement and disgust. "Is that your way of telling me you're going shopping? Knowing you, you'll get to CVS via Macy's, Ann Taylor and Abercrombie and Finch."

At least he had gotten her stores right, she thought. "Excuse me for being considerate of my husband. Isn't that what they tell us in Marriage Maintenance Class?"

"Yeah alright, Pill," Corey said, calling her by her nickname. She could admit that she could be moody at times, add that to her confidence that some would mistake for arrogance and refer to her as 'a trip.' Ms. Tyler, her third grade teacher, trying her best to censor her comments about Pamela's behavior simply wrote in the comment section of her report card, Pamela is quite a pill. Her outburst and overall off-task behavior is a little hard to swallow. The name stuck. She would put her own spin on it when having to explain the sometimes embarrassing nickname by saying, "Whether bitter or sweet, I'm good for ya." Most people elected to call her primarily by her given name, Pamela, or a shortened version, Pam, when they first meet her. Like Corey, they soon switched off and used her nickname once they had ingested a taste of the Pill.

"Keep in mind your booth fee is due today. Don't go spending any money," Corey said.

Apparently she already had spent lots of money and just didn't remember. Shopping gave Pill a high. Sometimes it was as if Pill blacked out after a shopping binge much like an alcoholic that had too much to drink. She couldn't remember what she had bought, especially when trying to hide her purchases from Corey. He had asked her time and time again to write stuff down particularly when the money for those purchases came out of their joint account. In her mind that kind of documentation provided evidence to her husband about her spending that could easily go under the radar. Accounting for every belt, hat, purse, jacket and pocketbook to a man is what she refused to do.

"Well, I put in three hundred fifty for us on that mink coat my mom wanted. Although, I don't know what a 65 year old needs with a fur coat. I didn't look at the ATM receipt for a balance, but I know there should be enough left in the account," Corey said.

Pill almost expelled a sigh of relief into the phone. She was so glad she hadn't tampered with the money for her mother-in-law's gift. Corey told her over a month ago that the two of them would go in with his dad and his only sibling, Danielle, to buy a mink jacket for their mother to show off in when she wore it to church. There was never any denying that Pam was not her mother-in-laws's choice for Corey. Pill didn't know what she had done to the woman, but the air of distrust was immediately apparent upon meeting her. She assumed it was just game recognizing game. Mrs. Jones was spoiled by Corey's father and everyone else in the family. Obviously she didn't want Pill to be the recipient of any generosity Corey may have inherited. Pill would have never been able to live it down if Corey's mother couldn't get her precious mink because they didn't have their share of the money.

In this case, Pill happened to agree with her mother-in-law's fashion sense. A mink coat meant she truly had it going on. Jet Black, she thought, Corey and Danny better had gotten her a black mink that would absolutely sizzle with her salt and pepper hair. Pill dreamed about flossin' in her own mink coat one day, but for now she would settle for a short chinchilla coat with the matching headband.

Recollection of where some of the money went hit her like a thunderbolt. She could see eighty dollars change hands between her and Ahmad, the resident hustle man at Carmen's Epic Beauty salon. He came in the shop twice a month with two large storage tubs and a rickety clothing rack filled with trendy apparel still tagged and on hangers that, "just came in." From where was never questioned.

While her fellow stylists were devouring Baby Phat knock-offs, Pam spotted a camel colored sheerling poncho with the matching alpine boots. It wasn't out for public display, but she had to have it. She remembered the supermodel, Gasselle wearing a similar poncho while riding a white stallion in an ad in the latest issue of Cosmo. Although she knew Ahmad's version wasn't designer, her knock off was definitely better than her co-worker's knockoffs. She went into acquisition mode.

She waited until Ahmad went to the back to question him about his hidden stash. He explained that he had promised the ensemble to his lady friend, but assured her that he could get her one when his cousin went back to New York's garment district. It was a lay-a-way of sorts, which was not their normal way of doing business. His policy when selling was cash-and-carry, and hers when purchasing was cash-on-delivery. She had made an exception that day as she dashed to the ATM, ordering the shampoo girl to put a heat activated conditioner in her next client's hair and set her under a blow dryer to stall for time. She gave him the $80 plus another $ 100 from her smock. She figured since he was going to New York, he might find a pair of Seven jeans she had been wanting.

If Carmen wanted her money on time, she had to stop the vendors from soliciting in her shop, Pill reasoned.

"When I get paid tomorrow the cycle starts all over again." Corey said, interrupting her thoughts.

The cycle he was referring to was their bare bones budget that delineates his first check of the month for the mortgage on their three bedroom townhouse and her earnings going to the other bills. They used his second check to pay the lease on her new Honda Accord and pay insurance, which included a policy on his Corolla that had been paid off long ago. They locked into this schedule during the last month of their marriage prep class and agreed to revisit it. Once a month they attended the Marriage Maintenance class for newlywed couples at church that focused on the emotional, physical and financial side of their relationship now that they have taken the plunge into matrimony.

"You're saying that to say?" Pill said defensively, still trying to account for the extra money she had obviously spent.

"Don't go spending any money. I gotta go. See you later," Corey said. Good-byes were not necessary.

Money from Rosetta's weave that she did on Saturday would give her a quarter of her monthly booth fee, but subtract from her bill money. She did at least call in the digits from her debit card to pay the gas and electric on Monday. Corey had warned her against debiting the account as opposed to taking the money directly to source or mailing it out on time. 'You never knew when they would take their money out your account'. Gosh, she should write this stuff down.

Pill laid her hand on the horn to join in with those cars in front of her showing their displeasure at an eighteen wheeler who was unsuccessful at making a u-turn and was blocking their lanes when the light turned green. Now she would be late for the staff meeting at the salon on top of being late with her booth rental.

The rain hadn't let up and there she sat. The rose man had long since taken cover, leaving the homeless guy with a now drenched cardboard sign in position at the base of the intersection. Pill looked down in her lap. She was indeed witnessing a pitiful sight. Her bank receipt read - $152.00.


© 2011 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offence. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

To learn more about this author visit

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Book Tour: Marian L. Thomas

About  Marian L. Thomas

Marian L. Thomas, reared in Chicago but lives with her biggest supporter—her husband and their spoiled but playful dog, Winston, in Atlanta, Georgia. Marian received her Bachelor's degree in Business Communication, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She is a loyal supporter of victims of abuse and has been featured in the Atlanta Skirt! Magazine as one of Atlanta's 9 to 5 Women in the Media Industry, in  Black Pearls Magazine and CrossRoadsNews, a East Metro Atlanta paper.. Marian was recently featured by in its Atlanta Reads April Events Alert.

She first awakened her desire to write while in her second year of high school. She began her writing debut as a Sports Editor and as a News Editor for a local Atlanta college paper.  In 2009, the dream of becoming a published author was realized when she was able to publish her first title Color Me Jazzmyne
Her debut title, Color Me Jazzmyne, went on to become an Amazon bestseller. Reaching Amazon's #1 spot in the Rhythm & Blues category,  #2 in Inner-Child and  #7 in Performance/Voice for the amazing melodious tones developed through the voice of her main character, Naya Monà. Color Me Jazzmyne was also ranked as one of the "Top 100 Books" - 1st Qtr 2010 by the Sankofa Literary Society Review.

In Color Me Jazzmyne and the newly released  My Father’s Colors, Marian writes with a box full of colors in her head. Using the analogy of a crayon box to describe the struggles and journeys of women, has become her literary trademark. Readers have been captivated by her emotional appeal and her flare for reality that continues to be weaved within the pages of her books.

Readers of  My Father's Colors and Color Me Jazzmyne have been captivated by the depth of the emotional journey that the books takes them on. Both books dig deep into what it takes for women to embrace who they are no matter what size, color, educational background or social status. Sisters will learn to love themselves despite what society says or the voices that surround them!

Join top-selling author Marian L. Thomas as she takes you through the captivating pages of My Father’s Colors. The book is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and get caught in the drama-filled story of a woman’s journey of self-discovery! 
Visit Marian's website today at: Here readers can read about her books, watch book trailers, read reviews, and view her author's media kit. Book clubs can also schedule a personal visit from the website or contact her via at email:

Excerpt from My Father's Colors

Join top-selling author Marian L. Thomas as she takes you through the captivating pages of My Father’s Colors. The book is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and get caught in the drama-filled story of a woman’s journey of self-discovery!  

Please read the featured excerpt from My Father's Colors - The Drama-Filled Journey of Naya Monà Continues,  sequel to Color Me Jazzmyne,  also by Marian L. Thomas.

Color Me Jazzmyne Book Excerpt, go here. 
Read Chapters 1-3 and give us your opinion.
ISBN-10:  0615270670;   ISBN-13:  978-061527067
My Father's Colors: The Drama-Filled Journey
of Naya Mona Continues 

by Marian L. Thomas, L. B.  Publishing
ISBN-10: 0615409415;   ISBN-13: 9780615409412

**Honesty in His Touch**

"Have you tried using a tape recorder?"

"A what?"

"A tape recorder."

"I know that I'm not paying you a thousand bucks an hour for you to tell me to start talking to myself!"

"I'm not telling you to talk to yourself. I'm telling you to express yourself. Using a tape recorder will give you the ability to capture your feelings when you are, in fact, having them instead of keeping them bottled up inside."

The two women sat in silence for what seemed to be another hour. Naya left her doctor's office that day, knowing that she would never return. A tape recorder, she  thought, I'm not the only one who needs to be lying on someone’s couch. Two months later, however, she found herself struggling to take her doctor's advice.

"Okay tape recorder, it's just you and me. I'm expressing myself so you had better listen."

"Once-upon-a-time I was a little girl who loved my father. That fairytale stopped at the tender age of thirteen. I'm still trying to get back to that moment, back to the time when his touch was innocent. For the past thirty-seven years, I've been tracking it down, running after it and yet, here I am. One could say that I'm complaining; in some ways, I know my heart is."

"It's four o’clock in the morning, my diary in hand, pen dangling on the tip of my fingers. Thoughts lingering as my mind searches for the right words to write down on a piece of paper that is bounded rather tightly to a book that will probably never be read by anyone other than me. Eyes are heavy. Heart beating underneath a gown that I've decided to wear for the first time. I've been sitting here for five minutes scribbling down absolutely nothing and saying absolutely nothing. This is crazy."

Maybe I should pretend like I'm still in the doctor's office. What would she do at this point?  She would probably ask me something stupid like—how do I feel? I would say something like, "how do I feel about what?,” just to get some type of reaction out of her. It's a game I'd play until I look at the clock and realize that I'm paying to watch her sit in her chair, watching me like I am crazy, which by the way is why I'd be sitting in her office in the first place at a thousand bucks an hour.

Okay, let's try again.

"So Naya, how do you feel? Let's see. Being honest with myself, I'd say that right now I feel frustrated, to the utmost degree. Humiliated, just a little. Why you ask? Well, because in the end I'm still talking to me. How is that for feelings!"

Horrible, girl.  Just horrible and you know it.

No matter how she tried to escape it, sadness swept through her like the chill in New York's air on a crisp Saturday morning.  She leaned her head back and stared at the tape recorder. I need help.  Naya found herself glancing at her husband, watching him sleep and whispering within… How I love this man.  She stroked the side of his face. Just touching him soothed her, calmed her mind and helped her to focus. Just that simple action, mixed with her emotions, helped her to find her voice. Feel her strength. It's funny how a man can give you both.

The tape recorder is still going although she puts the diary down. She finds herself whispering the words her hands wouldn't allow her to write.

Here beside me lay not just a husband but also a love,  A friend and an intimate companion.
He has given me what was taken away, just as he promised Honesty in his touch.  In his touch I found nothing meant to hurt me  Or destroy the  “once upon a time”  life that every child lies in their bed and dreams about.  Just honesty in his touch.  Touch. Touch.

She's feeling it now. Her head is swaying, her fingers, gently snapping as she envisions the band playing in the background. There it is, the music mixing with her vocals.
In his touch there is more than a fairytale;
There is more than a dream.
In his touch there is a reality
That captures me
Wraps me in the essence of its embrace
Each and every day. 
Yes, a touch can mean so much.
I feel honesty in his touch.
The emotions in his hand.
Feels like butter, baby
Do you feel that?
I can feel that…

I can feel the
The honesty in his touch.

Her voice getting slightly higher. Bed moving just a little.

I want to do it again,
Touch ever so gently
The softness of your skin
I feel myself restraining.
Too many moments like these
Have found me wrapped up in your arms
Allowing your heartbeat to rock me back to sleep again.
Can you feel that?
I can feel that

Sweet honesty.
The honesty in his touch.

Oh baby. Sweet.
Sweet honestly
The honesty in his touch.

He moves. Naya stops. Man that felt good. She glances at the clock; it's four-thirty.  How I wish I could close my eyes and just sing myself into a sleep filled with dreams.  "I'm too old for that it seems."

She reached for the tape recorder. Time to turn you off. Now what do I do? What you always do? Don't kid yourself.   Pulling the covers off, she slid quietly out of bed and tiptoed over to the bedroom door. Stomach held tightly in, breath about to leave her as she reached for the knob. For a moment, she stands and listens.

She was watching for any moment, a fringe of hope. A slight jerk of the hand, a move of the head. There was nothing but silence. She didn't want to admit that her heart had wanted him to wake up.
It had wanted to scream that she needed to be rescued once again from the inevitable, the reality that has been a part of her ever since she first read the letter.

She felt the air releasing as her stomach came back to normal; it was obvious that this time she would be on her own. Disappointment set in the pit of her kidneys; it was probably for the best. I can’t keep running to him, she said to herself a couple of times. It didn't stop her from glancing once more, just to be sure as she reached and placed the tape recorder in her pocket.

Feeling a fringe of confidence building inside of her, she glides out into the foyer, closing the door behind her as if it were never opened. As she moves in the darkness she can feel the lushness of the carpet gracing her feet and easing her steps. Her mind doesn’t stop to consider where she's going; her heart already knew the answer.  Although the scene was more than familiar, she could still feel the anticipation beating within her.

Down the hall, turning just to the left she found herself standing in front of her office door. Her nerves tapping her on the shoulders. Her hands uneasy as she reached for the solid brass handle, her grip soft but with purpose.  Relax girl, she whispered. Inside, she flips on the light, as if she expected something to be different. Her eyes scan a room she has been in a thousand times. Reaching inside her desk drawer, she grabs hold of it.  It’s still here. Isn’t it always? Wouldn't it be nice if just for a moment, it didn't exist? So nice.

Look at me, holding it in my hand. I want to scream; here I am life, once again I'm going to sit down on my white leather sofa and stare at a yellow envelope that is about fifteen years old. How many times can I continue to do this? Do you have an answer for me, life?

Life, it seems is out of responses today; did I really expect one? It would have been nice.

Naya pulls out the tape recorder and places it on the sofa table.

Here I go, more moments of expression.

She allows herself to go back to that day. Back to that moment when she stood outside his penthouse home, upon his doorstep and reached out her hand to a man who couldn’t find the nerve to hand her a letter that would tell her where her son was.

I can still feel the anger I felt that day, I can still hear my heart pumping at a thousand beats as I had come to the realization that the beast, my Father that is, sent his butler to deliver the letter to me. He couldn’t even come to the door himself. What a coward! I still remember Chris and me running down the steps like fools, envelope in hand, stopping only for a moment to see him standing at the window watching us. I remember not caring. How I wish that today, at this moment, I still didn’t.

Wouldn't that be nice?  Better, perhaps.  It would be perfect.  She looks down.  Upon this same sofa, Chris and I sat, staring at this same envelope.

The scene was still vivid in her mind. Her hands responded by gliding over the words “To my daughter, Naya Mona” that were written on the outside of the envelope. Even with her eyes closed she could trace each letter, envision each stroke of a ‘T’, and remember each dot of an ‘I’

"So now how do you feel?"  She asks herself. "I admit that opening this envelope tonight is like opening my father’s colors. Although he’s been dead for five years now, I still refer to him as ‘The beast,’ I am convinced that I will never stop thinking that way about him. Why? Because I hate him. Plain and simple. Those are my feelings; those are my thoughts. My expressions. I wish I could change them, but I can't.

Naya placed the letter in her lap and just sit there trying to imagine what it would have been like if it didn’t exist. She knew that some might feel that the years that had gone by should have given her heart the time it needed to heal. She wondered if they had ever had their fairy-tale of a childhood ripped away from them, stolen in the blink of a moment and then left alone in a world of realities that can never forget the past. This was as far as she had gotten, still trying to push past the pain. Always it seemed she found herself doing just as she was doing now, allowing that letter to sit upon her lap, unable to stretch out the paper enough to gaze her eyes once again upon words that always left her wanting more than answers.

She thought of her son.

"Ten years ago I sat in this office and handed this same blue inked letter to him. I, for the very first time, gazed upon the whiteness of his skin, looked into the depth of blue eyes and realized that the color of snow had sunk deep into the veins of my son. How hard it was for me then. I had to sit here and hear my son read the words of the beast, Jonathan Creek. My never-to-be-again father. But that was not the worst part of that day. I had to be the one to tell him that the beast was also his father. How do you tell your son, one whom you never got a chance to name, something like that? How? I wish the beast could have been there; I would have made him do it!  Ask me again why I hate him."

The beast was a white man with broad shoulders and a barely-get-by sort of attitude in life. There was a moment in her life, a moment that went by like the flicker of a candle, when she could recall being happy just to be near him.

"He was a coward, nothing but! I remember how I felt the moment I read in that letter that his parents had given my son the name Jonathan. I cried. No, I screamed and I threw things. How could they give my son that name, knowing what he did? They knew and still.

"I have strong feelings for them as well, and it isn't love, that much I can tell you."

Calm down girl.  I really wish I could.  She knew if Chris were with her right now, he would be whispering some of his smooth words into her ears, soothing her heart.  She stared at the letter again, her tears falling upon it. She didn't care.

"I remember watching Jonathan, my son, that day. I remember listening to each sentence that fell off his lips and feeling like they were ripping at my insides, shredding my bones. No mother should see what I saw. Pain and agony upon their child's face. Feeling like there was nothing you could do as they struggled to put the pieces of their life together. To him, it was like a puzzle that never seemed to fit. I was a mother that never wanted him, one that never cared. "

"Back then, when we first met, I ached from wanting to scream out from the rooftops that I did care, that I did love him and that I had always wanted him. For a time, he didn't want to hear it."

How long I waited to be more than a once-upon-a-time mother to a once-upon-a-time son. It had taken a week just to hear the word—mother— fall off his lips. Even now as I think about it, I wish I could go back and capture that moment, lock it up in a bottle and place it upon my heart. It felt so good. No one understands that, not even that crazy doctor at a thousand bucks an hour.

I'd say the breaking point for us came when it was discovered that he really wasn’t my father’s son. He only had the beast's name. It was like sunshine on a cold and miserable day when I learned that. I, Naya, had been raped by another man as I came home from school one day. It's a story I had to tell to my son, a moment in my life that I had to relive; I'm certainly not about to do it here, not again.  Reliving what the beast did to me is more than enough. For now.

"I'm still holding this letter, unfolded. I find my present life staring me in the face; it's enough to fringe a smile. I need one right about now. Just a tiny one. What makes me smile? I see in my mind’s eye, pictures of my husband and me, my son and his wife, my grandchildren. They are smiles clouding out the skeletons in my closet."

Naya allows the tears to flow now. She clicks off the tape recorder and pulls her knees into her chest, her thick hazel-brown hair, hanging off the side of her shoulder. She finds a small amount of comfort in the confines of an old pillow that she won't allow her staff to throw away.

Silence and tears appear to be at war inside of her. It is a battle she has never won. She dared not imagine that today would be any different.  But it was. She turned the tape recorder to the on position. She pretended like she was on stage, performing for the walls, the chandelier and even the pictures that held her memories.  Here I go again, she thought.

"I 'am going to read it this time, out loud, although I feel that I could recite every word, even in my sleep if I were asked about it in a dream. Here's a piece of reality, it really doesn't matter, my eyes could be open or closed, for me, the effect is the same. The anger of it all still comes rushing through me. But not just anger, there are times that I feel lost, trapped inside darkness and even downright loneliness. It's because of these feelings that I have never allowed myself to get past the nightmare and look deeper into the meaning. I admit that. Today, however, seems different somehow. I wish I could explain why but I just can’t."

"Doesn't matter anyway. Here I go; I know my hands are moving, I feel my heart pounding. In my mind I'm telling myself to go slow. I can feel myself unfolding the paper and stretching it out, okay, now just open your eyes, girl, and read."

To my daughter Naya…..


Ready for More? 
Click Here to Purchase the Paperback or Hardcover-  My Father's Colors-The Drama-Filled Journey of Naya Monà Continues.  Kindle? We got you! Click Here to Download today!

© 2011 All rights reserved.   Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Marian L. Thomas. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.  Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

My Father's Colors: The Drama-Filled Journey of Naya Mona Continues 
by Marian L. Thomas, L. B. PublishingISBN-10: 0615409415
ISBN-13: 9780615409412

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Suggestion: Secret Obsession

Secret Obsession
Kimberla Lawson Roby

Paige Donahue has always lived in her sister Camille's shadow. As children, Camille had the grades, the friends, and their parents' love, while Paige was left with hand-me-downs and criticism. No matter how hard she tried, she could never measure up to her sister's standard.
Now as adults, Camille lives an idyllic life with her husband, Pierce, and her two perfect children in a beautiful home, while Paige is stuck in a small condo with bills she can't afford to pay.
But no more. It is time for Paige to take what she is owed-starting with Pierce. With seeds of doubt planted in both Camille's and Pierce's minds, Paige's plan to steal her brother-in law starts to work. But when a twist of fate takes things wildly off course, a desperate Paige moves from envy to madness. What results from her dangerous scheme is something no one could have imagined.
Purchase at

Virtual Blog Tour: Pamela Samuels Young

Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young 

When a straight-laced L.A. lawyer finds herself trapped in a web of domestic violence, a bad boy disguised as a good guy comes to her rescue . . . with shocking consequences. Pamela Samuels Young's newest legal thriller is a scandalous tale of blackmail, murder and betrayal, evoking John Grisham with a sister’s twist! 

Disbarred attorney Waverly Sloan is unwittingly drawn into a financial scheme targeting the terminally ill. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, federal prosecutor Angela Evans is determined to bring him down. Before she can, it’s Angela’s life that begins to unravel. Enter Dre, an unassuming guy with a dark, dangerous side who comes to Angela’s rescue. The lives of all three characters—Waverly, Angela and Dre—intersect, and soon, they’re on the run . . . forced to rely on each other if they’re going to survive.

“Young's latest release, Buying Time, lived up to her stellar reputation. I literally could not put this book down.”  

--Idrissa Uqdah,  African American Literature Book Club

`Buying Time' by Pamela Samuels Young is definitely one you can picture being played out on the big screen. Shoot-outs, murder for hire and accusations keep this story moving forward with everyone pointing the finger trying to lay blame. Great read! 
--OOSA Online Book Club,  Book of the Month 

Excerpt: Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

Chapter 1

Lawyers get a bad rap. Strip away the arrogance, the greed and the half-truths, and you’ll find a decent human being underneath. That’s exactly how Waverly Sloan saw himself. A decent guy who’d screwed up.

Waverly pulled his battered BMW into the parking stall outside his Culver City town house and turned off the engine. He dreaded going inside. All the way home, he imagined his wife’s face contorting in horror in reaction to the news he was about to deliver.

He closed his eyes and rehearsed the spiel in his head. In forty-eight hours, I’m going to be disbarred, he would tell her. So, you’ll have to stop teaching Pilates three days a week and get a real job.

Waverly exited the car and climbed the short flight of stairs to their unit. He was a large, solidly built man with skin the color of honey. Borderline handsome, his lopsided smile was the primary source of his appeal. It compelled people to like him.

“You’re home early,” Deidra called out the second he opened the front door.

Waverly found her in the kitchen, poised over a cutting board chopping carrots and bell peppers. He dumped his keys on the counter, walked up behind her and swallowed her up in a bear hug. “I’m home early because I couldn’t stand being away from you for another second.”

Deidra reared back to peck him on the lips, then returned to her chopping.

Resting against the center island, Waverly folded his arms and stared at his wife. At thirty-seven—five years his junior—Deidra had the tight, voluptuous body of a highly compensated stripper. She had creamy brown skin and long, auburn hair that fell past her shoulders. After two years of marriage, Waverly still had no idea what her real hair looked like underneath the five-hundred dollar weave.

“Is everything okay?” Deidra glanced back at him over her shoulder.

His wife had good instincts, at least about him. Waverly eyed the knife in her hand. He had a mental image of Deidra accidentally chopping off a finger when she heard what he had to say.

“I love you,” Waverly said, not in an effort to sidestep her question, but because it was what he truly felt.

“Ditto.” She smiled, then waited.

Waverly had wanted Deidra from the moment he spotted her walking out of a store on Rodeo Drive loaded with shopping bags. Instinct told him there was little chance that a woman like her would give a guy like him a second glance. He was only in Beverly Hills for a meeting with an opposing counsel. Risk-taker that he was, Waverly turned on his charm and it worked. Too bad that same skill couldn’t get him out of his current fix.

He took a bottle of Chardonnay from the refrigerator and poured a glass for each of them. “What if I decided not to practice law anymore?” he began.

The pace of Deidra’s chopping slowed. “I thought you liked practicing law.” She placed the knife on the counter and turned to face him. “What would you do instead?”

He shrugged and cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking about insurance investments.”

Deidra put a hand on her hip. “Insurance? Can you make any real money from that?”

Waverly shrugged again. “I hope to find out.”

According to a guy he’d met at a legal conference, he could make a bundle in the
viatical business. Waverly had no idea what a viatical was, only that it had something to do with insurance. He had an appointment to talk with the guy after his appearance before the State Bar.

He could tell that his wife wasn’t happy about his possible change of professions. The men in Deidra’s life before him had given her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it. Now, Waverly worked hard to do the same, often placating her with promises of better things to come. Deidra enjoyed the prestige of being a lawyer’s wife and was banking on Waverly eventually landing a case that propelled them to the big leagues.

“This doesn’t mean we’ll have to put off moving, does it?” Deidra asked.

Waverly had promised that she could start house shopping as soon as his next case settled. But even if he saved every dime he made for the next forty years, he still wouldn’t be able to afford the gated communities where Deidra wanted to relocate.

“Maybe,” he said.

She was about to complain, but apparently noticed the angst on his face and retreated.

Waverly took a sip of wine and debated delaying his planned conversation with Deidra until he was absolutely certain about his situation. There was a slim chance that he might be hit with a suspension rather than disbarment. He’d hired Kitty Mancuso, a sixty-plus powerhouse mouthpiece whose client base consisted exclusively of rich, white-collar criminals and lawyers who’d screwed up. If anybody could save the day, it was Kitty.

“I’m going to put on my sweats,” Waverly said, wimping out. “How long before dinner’s ready?”

“Not sweats,” Deidra replied. “Find some nice slacks. They’ll be here at six.”

“They who?”

Deidra looked away, sheepishly. “Mom, Dad and Rachel. Didn’t I tell you?”

No, she had not. If she had, he would have faked a migraine. “Uh, I just remembered a motion I forgot to file.”

Deidra narrowed her eyes and playfully pointed the knife inches from his nose. “Don’t even think about it.”

* * *

By the time their dinner guests arrived, Waverly was seated in the den, insufficiently buzzed and ready for the show. Watching his wife’s dysfunctional family was better than reality TV.

Leon Barrett, Deidra’s pint-size father, strutted in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He waited about three beats, then started boasting about his new sixty-inch flat screen. Rachel, Deidra’s older sister, showed off a diamond bracelet a new boyfriend supposedly gave her. Waverly suspected she’d bought it herself.

Leon spotted Waverly sitting in the den and made a beeline in his direction.

“How’s the law business these days, counselor?” Leon’s thumbs hung from his belt loops like a cowboy and he rocked back and forth from heel to toe.

Waverly didn’t bother to stand. “I’m making it.”

Leon walked over to the sliding glass door and surveyed their small patio. Waverly wondered what he would criticize first.

“So, when are you two going to give up this place for a real home?” Leon joked.

Instead of answering, Waverly reached for his wineglass and took another sip. The thought of Leon Barrett finding out that he’d been disbarred made him want to puke.

“They’re building some new homes in The Estates,” Leon continued. He always referred to Palos Verdes Estates as The Estates. Waverly figured he’d moved there just so people would think he lived on an estate.

“If you’d bought over there when I told you to, you’d have nothing but money in the bank.” Leon owned a small construction firm that had done well, in part, because he was a major tightwad.

The wine was doing nothing to reduce Waverly’s irritation level. Too bad his own father was dead and gone. Henry Sloan wouldn’t have just thought about telling Leon Barrett to kiss his ass, he would have done it.

The evening plodded painfully along as it always did. Deidra’s father and sister talked about themselves nonstop while Deidra’s mother, Myrtle, smiled and nodded like a big bobble head.

“I have to go to Paris at the end of the week to interview a bunch of obnoxious designers,” Rachel said, feigning annoyance. She was a fashion editor for Vogue. Like her sister, Rachel was a good-looking woman, but didn’t possess Deidra’s talent for capitalizing on her beauty.

“I hate you,” Deidra exclaimed. “I’ve been dying to go back to Paris.”

“Why don’t you come with me?” Rachel prodded. “I’ll be there three weeks. It’ll be fun.”

Deidra gave Waverly a hopeful look.

Having Deidra out of town for a few weeks would give him time to get a game plan in place. But the funds for a ticket to Paris didn’t exist. His face must’ve conveyed that.

“If you can’t afford it,” Leon said, facetiously. “I’d be glad to pick up the tab.”

Waverly smiled across the table at his father-in-law. “That’s a very generous offer.” He paused to take a sip of wine. “And we’d love to take you up on it.”

A razor-sharp silence whipped around the table. No one was more dazed than his blowhard father-in-law. Leon Barrett frequently offered to share his money, but never actually parted with any. Waverly thought the man might swallow his toothpick. Deidra shot him a look hot enough to scorch his eyeballs, but he pretended not to notice.
Pleased with what he had just pulled off, Waverly got up and retrieved another bottle of wine from the wine rack.

* * *

The minute her family walked out of the door, Deidra went off.

“What in the hell was that about?” she shouted. “How dare you let Daddy pay for my trip?”
Waverly headed back to the den with Deidra on his heels. “He offered.”

“He’s offered to pay for a lot of things, and you’ve always refused. Are we having money problems? Because if we are, I need to know.”

“Cases have been a little slow coming in, that’s all.”

“So slow that you can’t come up with four or five grand for a trip to Paris?”

Four or five grand? He wanted to laugh. “Look, I’m working everything out. Just give me some time.”

“Well, you better figure something out fast because this is not what I signed up for. We were only supposed to be living here for a few months and it’s been two years. I’ve never lived in a place this small before, but I did it for you.”

Small? Their town house was more than two thousand square feet.

“And now you’re telling me that we’re basically bankrupt.”

“We’re not bankrupt.” Not yet.

“If we can’t blow a few grand on a vacation, that’s bankruptcy as far as I’m concerned,” Deidra barked. “And please don’t embarrass me in front of my family like that ever again. If we’re having money problems, I should know about it before they do.” Deidra stalked out of the kitchen.

Waverly opened the cabinet over the bar, grabbed a fifth of brandy and took a swig straight from the bottle. His wife’s little tantrum was really uncalled for. But what the hell? He had never expected to keep a woman like Deidra happy forever.

Too bad he hadn’t listened to his father. After divorcing his third wife, Henry Sloan swore off pretty women. Way too much work, he’d told his son. Find yourself a basic broad and she’ll ride with you until the wheels fall off.

Waverly chuckled to himself. Right now, he could use a woman who could hang, because the ride was about to get rocky.


© 2010 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offence. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

Intimate Conversation with
Pamela Samuels Young

Lawyer and author Pamela Samuels Young continues to receive accolades for her page turning legal thrillers that present the legal detail and mouthwatering suspense of John Grisham, combined with the understanding of urban love, explosive language and humor of Terry McMillan. Young's latest offering, the gripping and suspenseful legal thriller, "Buying Time" has been honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) as the winner of its 2010 Fiction Award. The BCALA Literary Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-Americans.

The Awards Committee described "Buying Time" as a "captivating, suspenseful thriller." Young will receive the award at the American Library Association's Conference in Washington, D.C. in June. "Buying Time" is Pamela Samuels Young's fourth novel and is available everywhere books are sold.

BPM: Pamela tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
I definitely have a passion for writing. Nothing else could explain my willingness to sit in front of my computer for ten hours a day or my eagerness to rise at four in the morning to write before going to work. I enjoy creating characters and putting them in precarious situations. I want readers to get wrapped up in the mysteries I create, to love, hate and root for my characters, and to close each book and feel as if they got their money’s worth.

BPM: How did you feel when you saw your first book in bookstores?
I still have a very vivid memory of seeing Every Reasonable Doubt on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble near my home in February 2006. I went to the store on the book's scheduled release date, not really expecting to find it. My stepson and I searched the shelves but couldn't find it. I was about to leave, but decided to, ask for it at the reception desk. To my delight, the clerk found it and led us to the book. I just stood there staring at it. So much blood, sweat and tears led me to this point. My stepson took out his cell phone and snapped a picture of me holding the book. And just as I started to started to tear up, he promptly warned me not to embarrass him by crying in the store.

BPM: Take us inside your latest  legal thriller, Buying Time.
My newest legal thriller is a scandalous tale of blackmail, murder and betrayal, evoking John Grisham with a sister’s twist! Recently disbarred attorney Waverly Sloan is unwittingly drawn into a financial scheme targeting people who are terminally ill. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, federal prosecutor Angela Evans is determined to bring him down. Before she can, it’s Angela’s life that begins to unravel. Enter Dre, an unassuming guy with a dark, dangerous side who comes to Angela’s rescue. 

The lives of all three characters—Waverly, Angela and Dre—intersect, and soon, they’re on the run . . . forced to rely on each other if they’re going to survive.

BPM: What inspired you to begin writing mysteries after careers in journalism and law?
I've always loved reading mysteries, particularly those that involve fascinating legal cases. It bothered me, however, that the legal thrillers I read never depicted women and African-American attorneys. So . . . I decided to fill the void.

I knew pretty early that I wanted to be a writer, having worked on school newspapers in junior high, high school and college. When I decided to major in journalism at the University of Southern California, I didn't give much thought to creative writing. At the age of 18, I didn't have the guts to even consider a career as a novelist. The writers I enjoyed reading – James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion – were incredibly talented literary writers. I knew I didn't have that kind of poetic writing talent. So I pursued a career in journalism and later, earned a law degree. Flash forward several years and I somehow gathered the courage to give creative writing a try.

BPM: What is your process for creating a novel? Do you plot out the story or do the characters speak to you?
I will spend any where from a few weeks to as long as three months outlining a book before I sit down to write. I also mull over my story a lot. I'm thinking about it in the shower, while I'm standing in line at the grocery story, during my 45-minute commute to work. I can almost see each chapter as if it were a scene in a movie. Only after I have a completed outline do I start writing. And when I write, I go from page one to the last page without doing much editing. For me, it's psychologically motivating to complete that first draft, even if it's so bad I'd never dare show it to anyone. Once I have a finished first draft, then the real writing starts. I revise, and revise and revise some more. That process can last six months or more.

BPM: What are your sources of creativity?
Imagining thousands of readers enjoying my books inspires me. I'm a morning person. My creative juices really flow around five a.m.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... 
I want to help destroy the publishing industry’s belief that only African American readers will read stories with African American characters. People who love mysteries want a compelling story. My primary goal is to write entertaining thrillers with diverse characters and a storyline that keeps readers turning the page.

BPM: Do you have any difficulty balancing your writing career with your day job and your personal life?
Yes! I'm fortunate to be working part-time as an in-house attorney. But it's still a struggle balancing my legal career, promoting my current books, and writing my next novel, on top of being a wife and step-mother. I'm just thankful that I have a supportive job and family. Staying afloat requires organization and a lot of physical stamina.

BPM: Your life is extremely busy! What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers that are also juggling full-time careers ?
Learn to say "no" and don't feel guilty about it. Right now, I'm practicing law, promoting my books nearly every weekend, working on my next novel, and teaching a business law course at the University of Redlands School of Business. I'm also on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and I write a column for Global Woman magazine. I love teaching, but I recently decided that I just don't have the time or energy to teach another course this year. I also turned down a request to join the board of directors of a local non-profit group. I wish I could do it all, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day. For now, my primary focus is on finishing my next book and making sure I spend some quality time with my husband, who rarely sees me because I'm gone so much promoting my books.

BPM: How do you spend your free time?
Free time? What's that? Writing is how I spend my free time and I love every minute of it. I still work part-time as a lawyer and when I'm not at work, I'm usually someplace writing – be it at home, the library or the nearest Starbucks. Sometimes I write early in the morning before work, other times I'm up until one or two in the morning typing away on my laptop. My most productive writing time is when I can get away from home and lock myself in my timeshare in Palm Desert for a weekend. When I'm in that environment, the writing is non-stop. When I'm writing, I'm happy.

BPM: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry?
You need to have faith in your talent to survive in this business. Even the mega-successful writers—e.g., J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and John Grisham, just to name a few—were rejected by multiple publishers. The writers who survive are those who ignore the rejection and just keep writing.

I learned that it's a very tough business. As a result, you have to have faith in your talent and keep going despite the rejection. I've worked in both television news and law and I never faced any where near the rejection and difficulties in those careers that I faced trying to become a novelist. In fact, both law school and the California Bar exam were way easier. I also learned that you have to think like a businessperson, not a writer. My books are products. I have to be inventive and unrelenting about getting my product to readers. 

In addition to bookstore signings, I've done email blasts, online advertising, giveaways, speaking engagements, and of course book club meetings. I believe that one of the primary reasons both In Firm Pursuit and Every Reasonable Doubt have made the Essence Best-Seller's list is my heavy focus on book clubs. During a recent trip to the D.C. area, I did three book clubs in one day, along with a reception at a friend's home and a panel discussion at a bookstore. It was a long day, but I reached a lot of people. 
Book clubs are social networks and they are great sources for word-of-mouth promotion. If the book club members enjoyed reading one of my books, it's likely that they're going to mention it to their friends, family and co-workers, and go back to the store to pick up my next book.

BPM: Have you gotten any sound advice from fellow authors?
Christian fiction author Victoria Christopher Murray told me that the writers who survive in this business are the persistent ones. She said that producing a book a year has been one of the keys to her success. Her fan base has followed her with each book and continues to grow. It's definitely my plan to produce a new book every year.

BPM: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Find the writing process that works best for you. When I wrote my first book, I struggled a lot with the writing. I didn't prepare an outline or even have the storyline worked out in my head. I had an idea for the characters and the setting and I just sat down and started writing. I would spend weeks on a single chapter, rewriting what I had written during the previous session. Later, I ended up tossing out several chapters that I spent weeks working on.

Now, I have a completed outline before I begin writing a single word. It can take me a couple of months to complete an outline. Then, I sit down and write my story from beginning to end without doing any major revising. My goal at the start of a new novel is to produce a decent first draft with a solid, engaging plot. Once I'm satisfied with the plot, then I go back and spend as much time as it takes to polish the writing—anywhere from three to six months. This process helped me cut my writing time tremendously. It took me three years to write In Firm Pursuit (written, first but sold second) and only one year to finish Every Reasonable Doubt.

BPM: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
Book clubs, book clubs, book clubs! I've met with close to 50. Book club members are avid readers. If a book club member loves you, she will recommend your book to others. I've gained speaking events, other book club meetings, great friends and, of course, lots of fans from my book club appearances.

BPM: What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
That readers view authors as celebrities. Also, publishers do very little to help promote your book.

BPM: What is your proudest  moment as a professional writer?
Getting unsolicited praise for my novels. More than a few friends have met others who raved to them about my books, not knowing that they knew me. For example, a friend was talking to someone she'd just met at a bar and the subject of good books came up. My friend was about to tell the woman about my book, but the woman beat her to it.

BPM: What's the best advice you were given about writing?
During my pre-published days, a writing instructor told me to outline a novel like mine and study the story structure. That significantly improved my writing. I outlined John Grisham's novel, The Firm. I immediately understood how the story came together and could see the work that my novel needed in terms of story structure.

BPM: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
I spent way too much money on printed promotional materials for my first book. All you really need are a great website, some nice bookmarks and, if you can afford it, some posters for bookstores. I would love to do more travel to meet with more book clubs and readers. But unfortunately, I only have so many frequent flyer miles.
To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit

BPM: What are some of your favorite authors  (past, present, or future)?
The book that had the greatest impact on me as a kid was Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land. I can still remember stumbling across a copy of the book at my aunt's house when I was about twelve. It was the first book I remember reading that had African-American characters and I was thrilled to be reading about people who looked like me. It was also a very gritty and graphic coming of age story. I promptly "borrowed" the book without asking for permission for fear that my aunt would think I was too young to be reading such a sexually graphic book. After that, I developed an insatiable appetite for African-American fiction.

These days, I read more mysteries than anything else. Some of my favorite authors include Walter Mosley, Sandra Brown, Tami Hoag, Joseph Finder, James Patterson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, John Grisham and Greg Iles. I love a good plot and I think all of these writers write very entertaining novels. I also enjoy contemporary fiction and I'll buy anything Terry McMillan decides to write. I spend a lot of time studying the story structure of novels that I've enjoyed reading, which has helped me tremendously with pacing.

BPM: What do you want the world to know most about you?
That I grew up in Compton, California, which I'm very proud of. When I mention my hometown, people automatically assume that I dodged bullets on the way to school every day. But it was nothing like that. I had two strong, hard-working parents, who still live in Compton today. The foundation they laid – faith in God, hard work and education – is responsible for who I am and everything I have achieved.
Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Angela Evans
should be on top of the world. She’s a smart, attractive prosecutor who’s about to marry a successful judge. But the closer Angela gets to saying “I do,” the more she wants out. Then she meets Dre, a street-smart brother who’s nothing like her stuffy fiancé Cornell. Angela eventually calls off the wedding, but Cornell can’t accept the rejection. He turns violent in a way Angela never could have imagined. Dre comes to her rescue, but Angela soon learns that he’s hiding a shady past, and her world falls apart all over again.

On Sale Now! Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

ISBN-10: 098156271X | ISBN-13: 978-0981562711Pick up a Copy Today at Amazon
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Bookclubs, select one of Pamela’s novels for your book club meeting and she will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone.
Read more book excerpts here.
Media room: Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

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