January 31, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Brandelyn N. Castine

The Writer

Brandelyn N. Castine is the author of Everybody Plays the Fool (novel), Spoken Silence: Life in four parts (a volume of poetry), U.G.L.Y. (novel), Spoken Silence Volume 2 (forthcoming volume of poetry). Brandelyn currently lives in the Bay Area where she is a full time writer and contributes freelance projects for Leather, Empress and Vapors Magazines. Brandelyn is also a contributing author in the Gumbo For the Soul anthology, a project that was created to raise funds to support literacy programs in the Bay Area, as well as the When I was Was There, Life at Berkeley 1960- 2010 anthology project.

[Website] [Twitter]

The Book

Meet Blair Hughes, a beautiful, intelligent and talented young woman who believes her identity is defined by her size 22 waistline. With constant scrutiny about her weight and a pattern of failed diets, Blair has given up trying be the perfect size six and has allowed herself to fade into the background.

Blair’s unforeseen romance with Salim Martin, a talented young writer begins to chip away at her insecurity and forces her to look at herself differently. As Salim works overtime to show her how beautiful she truly is, his best efforts are not strong enough to keep Blair from waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When an unexpected betrayal rocks her world, Blair flees from her friends and family to get a fresh start in the unpredictable streets of New York City. However this new life forces Blair to deal with a lot more than she bargained for.

Suddenly forced to recreate her personal definition, Blair travels through a series of right and wrong turns, chance encounters and unimaginable situations that ultimately lead her to a place where she is able to look past the physical and discover what it truly means to be U.G.L.Y.

Click the cover above to order your copy of U.G.L.Y. today!


What is your definition of a good book?
The best analogy I can give when thinking about the definition of a good book is Alice In Wonderland. I love the scene where she peeks into the Rabbit's hole, falls in and tumbles, twists and turns, finally landing in a whole new world. To me, that is exactly what a good book does for you. When you first open the pages of a new book, you have no real idea where the story will take you. So you peek inside, hoping for the best, and before you know it, you are twisting and turning and falling into a whole new world. Everything is strange, yet familiar and suddenly you find yourself oblivious to the reality around you and sucked into everything that is happening around you in this fictitious world. A good book gives you an escape and allows you to travel and explore a whole new world.

How does your latest literary offering qualify as that "good book"?
My latest novel U.G.L.Y. is a good book because the characters are human. Their insecurities and life choices are familiar and allow the reader to identify with their questions and doubts and victories and it is this connection that enables the reader to jump feet first into the story. I am really big on description because I want my readers to feel everything the characters are feeling and feel as though they are right there in the scene with them. U.G.L.Y. covers the full gamut of emotions, but is not light on the humor. The story is one that you find hard to put down and allows the reader to discover something new about themselves every time they read it.


"Fat Bitch!"

Everything around me seemed to freeze as the vicious words reverberated above my head. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to mentally shake the heaviness of the painful language from my shoulders where it now laid to rest. I looked around me and saw the universal look of pity mixed with anger and confusion from his eyes that seemed to blink at the brightness of the sudden and unwelcome attention that was now focused on me. He turned his head back to the street; his eyes scanned the cars as they seemingly crept past us slowly, as though even they were unsure how to react. I sucked in a deep breath, and exhaled, shaking the world back to life with the shuddering motion of my head, somehow summoning enough strength to force a plastic smile onto my face.

"What the hell was that?" his voice said loudly, competing with the uncompromising presence of the New York City streets. His eyes tried to camouflage the embarrassment and uncertainty that seemed to pour out of him. He turned to me once again and scanned my face for a reaction.

I focused my attention ahead and felt my face begin to strain against the fake smile that painted itself across it.

"I don't even know who that was,' I said tucking a loose curl behind my ear and tugging at my shirt hoping I could get it to cover up my shame, ‘don’t even worry about it, really.”
He looked at me and placed a bony hand on his hip. His mouth opened and closed as he racked his brain for the right thing to say.

"No, for real," he finally stuttered, "what the hell was that?"

I knew that he didn’t know what to say; that he had never had anything like that said to him; that he had never had to pretend something hadn't sliced him in half and exposed all of the inner turmoil he felt about himself. I knew that he had never been summed up in a single phrase and had been flooded with tears so plentiful that he felt his spirit would drown, all because of the words of a stranger. I knew that my embarrassment and shame were too powerful to face on a regular weekday, so mock anger seemed like the best reaction to take, the reaction that could link him to whatever he guessed I was feeling.

"Let it go, honestly," I heard a voice that sounded like mine say, lightly, while I stood rooted in my spot, watching myself continue to walk, amazed at my ability to put one foot in front of the other, head held high, shoulders straight, eyes focused. I watched myself walk away, while my soul cowered in the corner and began to shudder from silent tears.

“Girl, I don’t know why you’re being so calm. I’m ready to whoop somebody’s ass,’ he continued, each moment feeling as though he had connected to my feelings. He looked over his shoulder, continuing to search for the reason why, unable to take a good honest look into my face, unwilling to truly gage my reaction, 'that was so disgusting. Do you even know who that was?"

I watched myself smile slightly as my soul stood rooted behind crying, each tear whispering out the secrets of my life. My body knew how to pretend that it had never happened while my soul was allowed to be stunned and confused.

"No," I said again, feeling something inside of me break with each step we took. My body avoided looking into any of the glass windows that seemed to go on endlessly as we walked. I knew that I would not be able to see my soul's reflection. I knew that my soul wasn't there. My soul was still in the corner, cowering and cold. I looked back on it, shaking my head sadly, disappointed at its cowardice.

He looked back one last time to search for the car that was long gone.

Things had started off simply enough. The afternoon was turning to evening as we strolled slowly and without purpose, stopping to cool off with iced coffee at a tiny café we discovered along our travels. We continued on with our exploration, stopping in various stores in the West Village and allowed the sunshine to kiss our exposed skin. As we stood on the corner of Christopher and 7th Avenue, a white car slowed as it passed. The back window rolled down and a man in the back seat yelled out "Fat Bitch" and spat in my direction before the car peeled off, with the sound of laughter trailing behind it. We stood there for a split second, Branden standing next to me stunned, me standing next to him, stunned, and me standing next to me, shattered and drowning in my own tears.

He continued to walk, shocked and disgusted, tossing out threats, still unable to look me in my face. My body, continued to walk along side him, pretending as though it was just another day, searching my brain for something, anything to change the subject with, but my soul felt like it was snatched from my body and was instantly transported back to those high school days when my weight was the only thing anyone saw. Instantly everything I had accomplished, everything I had become melted into a simple image and I became just a fat girl again and all it took was one word from a stranger. One word from a stranger shook loose any shred of confidence I had been clinging too. One word from a stranger instantly made everything I had on uncomfortable, made me suddenly aware of every article of clothing, every piece of jewelry. Every step felt forced, but my body, with all of its years of experience in pretending that nothing happened found a joke to crack, and a store window to point out, easily successful in convincing both of us that everything was okay. My body was able to convince both of us that the incident had not happened and that I was still talented, beautiful, desired, and successful. But my soul knew the truth. My soul understood that one word from a complete stranger made me feel like I was nothing more, than a size, an image or an opinion. Every pound that I carried suddenly felt like a million. As we continued to walk, every step made me feel more and more like a fat...

January 24, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Ellen Meister

The Writer

A former advertising copywriter, Ellen Meister left the business world to raise a family and chase her fiction-writing dreams. She is the author of three novels, THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam, 2/2011), THE SMART ONE (HarperCollins/Avon, 8/2008) and SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (Morrow/Avon, 8/2006), as well as numerous short stories, including a contribution to the recent MILK & INK ANTHOLOGY. She currently curates for DimeStories, a literary podcast program, and runs an online group for women authors.

Ellen lives on Long Island with her husband and three children, and is at work on her fourth novel, FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER.

[Website] [Blog] [Facebook] [Twitter]

The Book

What if you could return to the road not taken?

Quinn Braverman never told her loving husband, Lewis, that the real reason she chose him over her neurotic, semi-famous ex-boyfriend, was to show her mother that she could have a happy, stable relationship with the guy next door.

But she has an even darker secret: Quinn knows another life exists in which she made the other choice and stayed with her ex-boyfriend. The two lives run in parallel lines, and there, on the other side, the Quinn who never married is speeding through her high-drama life in Manhattan. Here, she lives in the suburbs, drives a Volvo, and has an adorable young son with another baby on the way.

So far she’s played it safe, never venturing over to the other side. Then a shocking turn of events rattles Quinn, and she makes the reckless choice to finally see what she’s been missing.

There, she not only rediscovers her exciting single life, but meets the one person she thought she’d lost forever. Her mother.

But Quinn can’t have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants—the one she has…or the other life?

Click the cover above to order your copy of The Other Life today!


What is your definition of a good book?
I like the way this question is phrased, because it implies that it's completely subjective ... which of course it is! Not only that, but for me the answer is a moving target that shifts according to whatever book has most recently grabbed my interest. Sometimes it's a voice that's so fresh it leaves me breathless. Other times it's a plot that pulls me in so deeply I can't put the book down. And often it's the glimpse into a truth so profoundly simple that I fall head over heels in love with a single sentence.

But always, it's the characters. And when I can feel an author's abiding affection for his or her characters, despite their flaws, I'm all in. To me, it doesn't get any better than that.

How does your latest literary offering qualify as that "good book"?
I think it's up to the readers to decide if THE OTHER LIFE fits the definition. I hope they think it does, because I believe so deeply in this book. When I got the idea to write about a woman who had the ultimate escape hatch--a portal in her basement to the life she would have had if she never got married--I felt something click. And then, once I realized who my characters were and that my protagonist's mother was dead in one life and alive in the other, I knew this was a "what-might-have-been" story I couldn't turn my back on.

In fact, when I sent my agent the proposal, I had to hold my breath waiting to hear back, because I knew I simply had to write this book, even if it she didn't approve. Fortunately, she loved it, and so did several editors who bid on it at auction. I hope readers feel the same way!

January 19, 2011

FIRSTS :: The Job Experience by M.H. Wesley

December 23rd 2009 was the beginning. I began on a journey that would change my life forever. I was faced with a debilitating illness that no doctor could find the cause for. In the early stages of my illness God lead me to read the book of Job and he told me that I was going through my own Job experience. He then led me to write down all of my experiences which evolved into this book. I didn’t know it then but my illness would catapult me into realizing God’s purpose for my life. It is my hope that my experience can inspire someone else to continue trusting God no matter what obstacles they may face. My illness is just one part of this book. I have experienced so many ups and downs and my relationship with God has increased dramatically since this all began. I have learned to lean and depend on God even more and I know that he is always with me no matter how long it takes to come out of my storm. This Job experience is my test to make sure that I am ready and prepared to carry out the call of God on my life.

About the Author

Margaret H. Wesley currently resides in NC with her three sons; Jamaal Jr-7, and twins Jamison and Javon-3. She is devoted full time to her craft of writing and is also very passionate about singing. Her biggest hope is that she will continue to be used by God and show the love of Christ in her everyday life.

A Peek inside The Job Experience: My Personal Testimony of How to Face Battles and Win


I’ve always been a church girl. I grew up in a two parent home and going to church and Sunday school was just a part of our lives. It was as normal to me as getting up in the morning and eating breakfast. I learned to love God at an early age and music was something that gave me a connection to him. I was in the children’s choir at church but I was kind of shy. I always sang with the choir but the thought of leading a song terrified me. It was no problem for my family to hear my voice but I was afraid of leading a song in front of so many people. My aunt was visiting one day and she convinced me to finally stand up and let my voice be heard. That was over 20 years ago and I’m still singing for God to this day. I didn’t realize it then but singing is my ministry. It’s the gift that God put inside me to be used for his kingdom. I have perfected my gift over the years and tried to be obedient to the call over my life. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the enemy doesn’t want you to ever discover the gifts that God has for you but more importantly he doesn’t want you to use those talents and gifts to bring someone to Christ. The significance of learning the will of God for your life is that you will be tested and you will be tried. I’ve had many good things happen in my life and many tragedies as well. But the real test of my life so far came during the Christmas holiday of 2009.

When my illness first began I had no idea where it would take me or how long I would be going through it. I’ve always been kind of sickly so I thought it was just another small battle that I would have to face.

Intrigued by The Job Experience? Then click [here] to purchase the book today!


What is FIRSTS? First is that digital peek we all take in a real-life bookstore when we're thinking about buying a book. We glance at the cover and if that interests us, we flip it over and read the book description on the back cover, maybe even read a short author bio, and if that compels us, we'll flip open the book and read that ever important first page. If all these things make us burn to continue reading, we waltz right up to the counter and make our purchase!

If you're interested in having your book featured as a FIRSTS, [e-mail me] and let's talk about it!

January 17, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Anthony Anderson

The Writer

Upon reaching a certain age and noticing a certain expanding of his waistline, Anthony Anderson struck upon the idea of a writing career as a method of weight loss. He is so confident that he will not be overeating in the future, he has begun work on his second novel. You can learn more about Anthony and his writing endeavors at his [blog].

The Book

What would Latrina Emerson, unassuming librarian and church organist, have in common with an agnostic physicist and a bunch of occultists over 2000 miles away? Absolutely nothing if she could help it. Some not-so-benevolent "Forces of Light", alas, won’t let her help it. She’s part of their plan save their credibility after some recent embarrassments (Y2K failing to end the world on prophetic schedule, increasing distrust of authority, etc) and shut up those smart alecks in the Forces of Darkness. But the Forces of Darkness have never followed the Light's rules—like the ones that say they have to be totally evil or always lose in the end—and they're not about to start now. A faction of Hell, in fact, has decided that despite religious and philosophical differences, Latrina is too decent a person to be martyred "for the greater good". Warning her, however, gets a bit tricky. And the real wild card may be Latrina herself, who may not be as “manageable” as the Powers-That-Only-Think-They-Be would like.

Click the cover above to order your copy of The Vile, Sinister, and Most Utterly Diabolical Account of Latrina Emerson today!


What is your definition of a good book?
My definition of "good" as far as books, movies, music, TV shows, newspaper articles, video games, etc is so simple that some people of a more "intellectual" bent might take umbrage to it. How "good" I judge a work to be is how well it answers this question: "Do I REALLY want to spend my time with this piece?" If I'm under no outside obligation to deal with this book, film, etc (writing a review, studying it for a class or book club meeting, trying to impress some woman I met at the art museum...); do I really care what happens next in the story? Once I finish, do I feel it was a fair exchange of my time? Would I purposely listen to the song again? How much time would I spend looking at some particular piece of artwork? Would I buy this video game after renting it? A lot of times the answer has been "no", but that doesn't necessarily mean that the piece is "bad" in some objective sense. It's just that the piece didn't work for me.

How does your latest literary offering qualify as that "good book"?
Well, in light of what I've just written, the most honest thing I can say is "Dunno." It's been good for me because--now that I look back on it--it's sort of an homage to a lot of my favorite stories and ideas that have passed through my little brain during my lifetime. I loved writing it overall even when I've been so frustrated with it that I'd seriously despaired of ever completing it. Hydra M. Star, who edited the book for me, and other people who've read the earlier chapters when I was calling it "Maid of Honor" told me they liked it, so I guess it was good for them. Other people who take certain things more seriously than I do may very well NOT like it (especially once they read the book description I've included here). To such people, it could very well be a very BAD book.

I've got nothing against "literary" or "artistic" works; in fact, "highbrow" ideas are the kind of toys I like to play with. But I indulge myself in them because I enjoy doing so, not because some humorless intellectual told me that I should for posterity's sake. I'd rather concentrate on writing the best stuff I can for readers who are alive now. Being remembered by some "artist circle" decades after I'm dead and gone is not my primary concern (and from what I studied, it wasn't the primary concern of Shakespeare or many other "darlings" of the literary world either).


Sathariel continued. “We now must consider a crucial qualification: just how well can she handle knowledge of certain Secrets of the Universe? She may fare a little better in that category than in general combat. She’s a member of one of the more charismatic denominations of Christianity. As such, her belief system considers angels and demons to be real and palpable forces in her world. The Cherubim calculate she wouldn’t suffer as much of a shock as our more ‘practical’ candidates. Then again, belief in things beyond the physical doesn’t necessarily protect a human from severe cognitive dissonance, regardless of faith. I’m sure you can all recall problems we’ve had with visitations.”

The angels all muttered in agreement. They well remembered the Virtues’ initial attempts to recruit humans by condensing down to Earth and performing direct miracles like healing the sick, feeding the hungry, giving sight to the blind, and so forth. The fortunate recipients of these boons were then supposed to go forth and recruit even more humans for Elysium. More often than not, however, when a bunch of eight-foot tall glowing humanoids with twelve-foot blue wingspans had suddenly materialized, many so-called ‘believers’ had simply keeled over dead in shock, the little ingrates. From then on, Elysium resorted to direct manifestation and miracles much more sparingly.


“Okay, but as long as it’s not some mess about thugs, pimps, and prostitutes,” she said as she took the 15A exit off the Interstate and turned toward the posh center of Memphis Yuppiedom that was Germantown. She was thinking more about what she might or might not have heard on the radio a few minutes ago.

Meanwhile, the radio deejay announced that he was going to go “back in the day” with the next song. Latrina thought he meant some Motown song out of the Sixties, but apparently the announcer felt Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” was old enough. Mavis was in the passenger seat snapping her fingers and swaying to the beat. “Oh, yeah, that’s my shit right there, girl.”

Lord, grant me the serenity, Latrina thought, not believing the morning she was having. She didn’t have to look directly at Mavis to let her passenger know how she felt. The blank look on her face said that she took to the song in much the same way she would have taken to the suggestion that she could help increase attendance at her church by wearing only clear heels and a thong and offering lap dances during Sunday service.

“Oh, lighten up, girl,” Mavis said as she changed the station to 103.5 FM, much to Latrina’s relief. “We’ll put on some grown folks’ music for you.” They came in on the middle of Marvin Gaye crooning “Sexual Healing”. “Oh, now, that needs to be your song, Trina.”

“Yeah, when I finally get married,” she said. She preferred Marvin Gaye’s older stuff like “What’s Going On”. “Sexual Healing” was not something she wanted to think about just then.

“Well, if you want to catch a husband you might want to just modernize your wardrobe a little bit,” Mavis said as they stopped at the traffic light on Poplar and Kirby Parkway, near the shopping plaza. Marvin Gaye faded back into the static once he had had his say. No one really bothered with trying to adjust the radio as they were only a tenth of a mile from work. “I know you ain’t a ho, but would it kill you to remind the fellas once in awhile that you’re an actual woman?”

“I don’t think guys would normally wear my clothes.”

“Oh, now you’re trying to be funny, huh? Well, let me tell you what’s funny. What’s funny is that the average mummy shows more skin than you. Look, all I’m saying is that I don’t see how you going to attract a man’s attention when your clothes probably make him feel like he’s trying to push up on his grandmamma. I mean sometimes you dress like an extra for ‘The Color Purple.’”

“Hey, I liked that movie,” Latrina said. “Besides, I know you’re exaggerating because I know my clothes are not that far out of style.”

The chorus of “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show suddenly resounded out through the static.

“And you can just hush,” Latrina snapped at the radio, forgetting to care how that looked to Mavis.

Chronicling the Google Wave Writing Journey: Author Pascalle Onika Lewis

ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING begins with a series of interviews I'm happy to be a part of. Last year, I along with 5 great women decided to hook up and go on a novel writing journey. We each decided to write an 80k novel between June 25, 2010 and November 25, 2010. We used Google Wave to communicate during the time, and now that the journey is over, each of us will be talking about our experiences with writing our novel, with using Google Wave, and with discussing what we'll do next with our writing project.

Up next is author of Collections of a See Through Soul - Portraits (2008) and Collections of a See Through Soul – Bardvillian Symphonies (2009), Pascalle Onika Lewis.

Come join us over at [ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING] as for the next three weeks we continue to share our writing experiences! If you've been working on a novel, share your experiences, too, but commenting on the posts!

ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING
Chocolate-caramel lattes + Women writers = ONE GREAT TIME!

January 10, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Miki Starr Martin

The Writer

“What would happen if…” That is the essential question that Miki Starr Martin lives and writes by. The granddaughter of poet Mai Taj Penovich, Miki first showed an appreciation for the written word at the age of 5 when she wrote a poem [later published by her grandmother] titled "Black & White." Since, she has taken every opportunity to explore the written word and creative process in new and unique ways. To date, Starr has completed 6 novels, co-authored 1 book of poetry, and compiled 1 book of short stories. She is a married mother of one and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota where she does freelance web and graphic design.

[Official Website] [Twitter] [Facebook]

The Books

Dr. Nicollet Madison Fairway is a fictional psychotherapist straight out the mind of authoress Miki Starr Martin. Problem is - she doesn’t realize it. In a loft located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Dr. Fairway has created a very lucrative business counseling fictitious characters through a celebrated system that has been dubbed, The Fairway Method and has been greatly successful in her treatment of many very notable fictitious characters. From Eric Jerome Dickey’s Arizona, to the late Alex Haley’s Ruthana, with many other authors’ characters in between.

Now, Dr. Fairway has decided to take on a new adventure in her practice by serving a group of characters all from a single mind. In this case, it is her very own creator, Miki Starr. Unfortunately this is a much greater undertaking than the good doctor could have ever suspected. Between the troubles with her own relatives, a family filled with arrogant, self-serving doctors, her bickering clients, and her quest for true love - Dr. Fairway is doing all that she can to hold on to her sanity while trying to help her clients find a piece of their own.

For decades, the children of the planet Marieux were told tales of the birth of a savior that would free their world from the clutches of the heartless organization that controlled it for years. Military rule, unjust laws, and recruitment of women for the purpose of serving the needs of their oppressor, exemplified the society into which they were born. But with each passing year, as civilization was further plunged into the depths of despair, it became even less conceivable that the prophecy of the Anointed Daughter of the Marinites was true.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Kalaath, has heard this story since childhood and rejected it for just as long, despite at times being accused of being this prophecy come reality. After all, she has the golden skin tone and the extraordinary instincts synonymous with the mythical figure. Either way, being different has its price. In order to keep herself and her mother below the Shadow Realm Allegiance’s radar, she practices the age-old art of concealing, a survival technique she learned as a child. But when her best friend goes missing, Olivia must decide what she believes in once and for all.

Click the covers above to order your copies of OLIVIA and PSYCHO today!


What is your definition of a "good book"?
I find a book most intriguing when it has depth, strong characters, landscape, and realistic dialogue. If I can visualize it as though it were a movie on a screen before me rather than text on a page. If I can hear the character's voice [not create it myself]. If even after I’ve walked away from the story and come back to it, the voice is still the same. When characters have a consistent personality, idiosyncrasies, their own unique sense of humor and relatable connections to other characters in the book. When I cannot for the life of me predict what the outcome will be. And even if I can, the path there is not at all what I expected. I consider a book to be “good” when there are multiple plots so delicately woven together that you hardly even notice. Though drama is a necessary element, it needs to be purposeful. I appreciate when an author takes care with every element of bringing their tale to life, including names. There is a distinctive difference between a story that was written and a world that was created especially for me to escape to.

How does your latest literary offerings qualify as that “good book”?
There is no formula involved in my creations. No ‘short story writing 101’. No rules. Anything goes. My literary offerings are not orchestrated. I write strictly from the heart and I think that is what brings the stories to life. I get lost in their worlds, lost in their experiences. I become each and every character. I breathe them from beginning to end. If I don’t believe them, how do I expect anyone else to? For me, the characters are real. I don’t make up a story and dictate how it will turn out. They come to me and dictate to me exactly what they want me to know and share with the world. My job is never to actually author their story, but rather breathe life into it so that it is real to more than just them and to me but the reading world et al.


From Psycho

I’m only late this morning because Giada felt the urge to take advantage of me as her big sister and as a therapist – as usual. One o’clock in the morning finds my sister and her hubby parked at my door. I’d only just gone to bed myself about twenty minutes earlier. I’d been up late reading FLOSS, a book by an author named Monica Marie Jones. I don’t know much about the author yet but apparently one of her characters, Dionysus, has heard of me and I need some background to know what I’d be getting myself into should I take her on as a client.

I hadn’t realized there were unwanted guests in my home until Joseph crept back to the bed, tired and irritated with sleep tugging at his eyelids, shaking me into consciousness and directing me to go and deal with them.

“Gigi? Claude? What are you doing here? What time is it?”

“I guess Christian was right, you are sleeping with the man. Tsk, tsk. Giving up the milk, huh? Mom’s going to love this.” Giada is wide-awake and filled to the brim with her usual “charm.”

“I’m not giving anything up,” I say defensively in a voice that sounded more like it should have come from a toad than a human.

“Liar,” she replied with a devilish smile on her face.

“I am not sleeping…oh, what’s the use? What do you want, Giada? It’s the middle of the night.”

She took a seat on my sofa, inviting herself to stay and making herself more comfortable. Claude looked quite uncomfortable, even embarrassed by intruding in my home during these wee hours of the night but what would he have done, tell my sister ‘no’? I only wish that were possible.

“Claude has a problem. I told him that you could help him fix it.”

Claude’s brown face turned two shades darker. “Honey, please. I do not have a problem.”

“You do, Sweetie.”

“I don’t, and if I did I don’t think I’d want your sister knowing about it.”

“She’s a doctor.”

“She’s Nic.”

“Well, see, that’s your first problem. Don’t think of her as Nic right now, think of her as Dr. Fairway, psychiatrist or…or psychoanalyst-”

“Psychotherapist,” I say.

“Whatever. My point is darling, you have a psychological problem and Nic can help you solve it.”

Claude paused as though he was considering this for a moment, then looked at me with a horrified expression before turning back to his wife. “But it’s Nic.”

Giada’s eyes rolled to the ceiling. “Nicci, please. Will you excuse us for a moment?”

“Sure thing, it’s only my house,” I moaned to myself, turning away and disappearing into my kitchen to fix myself up a warm cup of vanilla soy milk while they figured out who I was to be on this night.

I leaned against the counter, sipping from my favorite mug, trying my best to tune the couple out while mentally willing them away.

“Oh, Dr. Fairway, we’re ready for you,” Giada called out.

I fought the urge to scream and reminded myself that, like it or not, Gigi is family and not just that but my baby sister. It is my God-given burden from birth to be there for her…even at one in the morning on a weeknight. I dragged my tired body back into my living room. I stopped…stood with my back to the wall, arms folded, savoring my drink and dreading what was to come.

The room was silent as I looked between the couple, Giada looking to Claude and Claude looking everywhere but at me.

“Well,” Gigi said. “Tell her.”

“Baby, please. This is embarrassing.”

“Tell her or I will.” I guess the season of compromise in this marriage was done for the night.

For a fleeting moment I thought I saw Claude’s manhood returning to him. There was a look in his eyes that almost made me believe he was going to turn to my sister and demand she hand over the key to the safe she locked his testosterone in. But, he exhaled and it all blew away. “I can’t…I can’t…” He was struggling to find the words to express to me his “problem”.

“He can’t get it up.”


Now let’s pause here and reflect. Because, see, this is the exact moment when my life flashed before my eyes. Clearly the Lord was coming for me, had to be. There was no other explanation for this. The milk that I was about to happily swallow…gone. Across the room, all on my floor. Okay, you can hit play now.

From Olivia

“Legatus Dupec. Come in, Lega. Dupec.” The scratchy voice came through loudly from the *Com Device on his waist.

Dupec groaned and took a step back. He snatched the device from his uniform pants and pressed the button on the side. “What?” he growled.

“Orders have come down from headquarters. Your immediate presence is required.”

Dupec scratched the side of his neck. Even in the dark I could see the anguish on his face. “I am busy right now.”

“My apologies but Commander Dupec has specifically requested your immediate presence.”

He stepped close to me and grazed the tips of his phalanges across my cheek as he licked his lips. “Ready the transport. Over.”

I remained poised, ready to attack...ready to defend my honor no matter the consequence. Dupec stepped back to adjust his uniform but halted. He stepped forward, firmly grasping my neck, lifting me slightly and forcing me to look into his face. I fidgeted with the glass, my mind reeling, trying hard to make the right choice while my toes strained to touch ground and I struggled to hold onto what remained of my oxygen supply.

“Do not worry. I will back for you, beautiful.”

His lips pressed to mine and my arm swung forward, the sharp glass aimed directly at his most vital internal organs. I tried hard to make contact but could not. I had not noticed her move but she had. Diana had stepped forward right on time, catching my arm and holding me back with all that was in her.

Dupec lowered me. He moved away looking suspiciously from me to Diana. My arm relaxed and her hand discreetly moved to mine, taking the shard away and placing it into the sink. Dupec smirked. He charged by her and into the hallway, his hurried steps fading in the distance.

“I am sorry,” she managed to utter once we were certain he was gone.

I angrily pushed away from the sink and walked to my clothes. I stepped into my pants as she begged for my forgiveness.

“Don’t,” I said.

“Olivia, please. You have to understand-”

“Don’t,” I cried out.

She opened her mouth to speak but paused as the sound of doors opening reached us. We listened to the stampeding sound of soldiers from various floors, exiting rooms at once throughout the building. We were quiet, watching as two rushed past. My curiosity piqued. When it seemed as though our floor was clear, I gathered what remained of my belongings and charged past Diana.

“Olivia, listen to me,” she pleaded, tears thick in her throat. “I could not stop him. Even if I said no, you think it would have stopped him?”

I turned to face her. “I can deal with him coming for me if that was his will but you gave me to him, Diana. You delivered me into his arms.”

I continued forward into the flat with Diana close on my trail.

“You were already recruited; you just did not know it.”

“What is your point?”

“I was doing you a favor.”

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare!” I walked to the window, looking down into the lanes as I wrapped my bodyrag tightly around my sliced open hand. I carefully pulled my shirt over my head. I wondered what was happening. Soldiers were loading into transport cars and departing their posts.

“Olivia, listen. He was going to take you away. It was either SOTA compound or stay here with me...take my place.”

I turned. “This was not done for me. Maybe I could forgive you if it were. You did not want to lose the money. You did it so that you would not lose money. No dashii’s, no obi red, no blackberries!”

She opened her mouth to speak but no words formed. I dressed quickly. I gathered my meager belongings, what I could fit into my bag. I tossed it on my shoulder and rushed across the room. I knelt forward, prying the floorboard free with my good hand and removed the dashii’s hidden beneath.

“Olivia, *lil'eail.” Her voice was soft, innocent but I was beyond making amends.

I counted out two months of my portion of the tax fee and extended it to her. She shook her head no.

“Take it.”

“I cannot. I do not want it.”

“You do, that is the problem.” I passed her and tossed it onto her bed. “I will suggest you find someplace safe to hide before Dupec returns.”
I pulled my hat down firm on my head and adjusted the bag on my shoulder as I headed to the door. The sound of Diana’s sorrow filled the room. I paused, my hand on the knob. I swallowed my emotions and moved ahead, exiting the door and leaving her selfish despair behind.

January 6, 2011

Promo Your Book with FIRSTS


These days, writers need to grab the reader on the first page. Firsts is a new segment that will be featured on ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING [website] and/or All the Blog's a Page [website]. With Firsts, authors can send to me the first page of their novel and the following information:

  • Book cover
  • Book description (what we'd read on the back cover of your novel
  • Author pic
  • Short author bio (what we might read on the back cover of your novel or the author page within your novel)

I will schedule the feature on one of the above sites and send out alerts on the feature's post on various social media outlets.

What I envision Firsts to be is that sneak peek into a novel that often moves us to take a book to the counter of a bookstore and buy it.

If you'd like to have your first promoted on CLG or AtBaP, e-mail me.

January 3, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author L. Anne Carrington

The Writer

L. Anne Carrington is a writer whose previous work has covered topics from fiction to news stories, human interest features, and entertainment reviews. A decedent of silent film star Rubye De Remer and criminal justice reporter/detective magazine article writer/author James G. Baldwin, she wrote The Wrestling Babe Internet column for seven years, is a former music reviewer for Indie Music Stop, and pens several other works which appears in both print and Web media. One of her recent freelance articles, An Overview of Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness, was licensed by Internet Broadcasting, the leading provider of Web sites, content and advertising revenue solutions to the largest and most successful media companies.

One of Ms. Carrington’s current projects is multitasking as weblog manager, weekly columnist/entertainment reporter, and acting as one of the literary agents on the website Authors On Show, giving encouragement to unpublished authors. Since its May 2010 launch, the website been viewed in more than 70 countries around the world, including publishers such as Penguin Books and major literary agents.

Ms. Carrington resides in the Pittsburgh, PA area, where she continues to write and appeared as a guest blogger for sites such as Slush Pile Reader and Paparazzi Publishing. Plans to host a show on BlogTalkRadio and developing a jewelry line based on her novel are underway for the near future. A nominee for the 2010 USA Network Characters Unite Awards, she was named a local division finalist in the cable television network's annual event.

[Official Website] [Twitter] [Facebook] [Blog] [Authors on Show] [Authors on Show Blog]

The Book

Brett and Karen come from two separate worlds with one common interest that brought them together - wrestling.

Brett Kerrigan is a smaller than average cruiserweight wrestler who loves to entertain the crowds, giving it all for his fans throughout the world. In spite of his size, Brett proves he can be as strong, quick and fierce as his larger competitors. Away from the spotlight, he struggles with being taken seriously as a wrestler, backstabbing co-workers, and power hungry management.

Pittsburgh-based sports journalist Karen Montgomery has followed wrestling since her teens. An acclaimed article printed one year earlier won a prestigious sports press award, and, when several attempts to arrange a personal interview with Brett are thwarted, she almost gives up attempting to meet her idol without the help of her editor, Greg Sullivan. One fateful night after a wrestling event, Karen has an unexpected encounter with Brett in a hotel lounge - ending in getting her sought-after interview with him.

Click the cover above to order your copy of THE CRUISERWEIGHT today!


What is your definition of a "good book"?
A good book not only has to be well written without grammatical or spelling errors, but also should have a good plot, an original story line, great characters, an eye for detail, and the classic rule of 'show, not just tell.'

How does your latest literary offering qualify as that “good book”?
I feel that my book meets the majority of the latter descriptions, and wanted to create a novel with something that hasn't been already overdone (e.g. vampire and fantasy stories). There's always an untapped reading audience out there looking for something new that will stand out and they want to read. The first four chapters, in my opinion, should be able to hook in your reader. If they don't, chances are the rest of the book will remain unread.


Getting psyched was Brett's specialty, the kind of madness he needed for the championship. Tonight, he was wrestling Big Mac, one of the strongest contenders, and needed to be ready.

He was completing three hundred push-ups when the small locker room’s battered door swung open. “Five minutes, Kerrigan,” one of the assistants said. “You’re on in five.”

“Yeah!” Brett grunted from the floor on toes and fingers. “Thanks, Randy.”

The door slammed. He counted out three more pushups, “98…99…100!” He bounced to his feet. One of the smallest cruiserweights, Brett established a reputation as the fastest wrestling superstar.

When his entrance music played, Brett sprinted with confidence past an excited crowd, his heart racing, and ready to face the battle which lay ahead of him. The fans were on their feet, jeers ringing through the building as lights shone on his undersized physique.