Friday, April 27, 2012

MJ Kane and The Butterfly Memoirs

Today I have the great pleasure to introduce you to M.J. Kane,
author, blogger, mother and all-around wonderful person.
Take a look, you won't be disappointed.

"Writing is not to be taken lightly. It's more than putting words on paper. It's the art of seducing your readers into your world.” – M.J. Kane

I am an aspiring author (Allow me to butt in here...but aspiring no ARE an author.) with big dreams. As an only child, I spent a lot of time exercising my imagination by acting out short stories with my collection of dolls. As I got older, I tuned to reading books as a way to escape the boredom and keep my mind active. My favorite genres were Sci-Fi, Drama, and Mystery, Suspense. Very rarely did I pick up a Romance novel. And to think, when I decided to start writing, Romance was the genre I chose.

My love of romance novels started by accident. I was at work on my one-hour lunch break and halfway through, I finished reading the final book in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Return of the King. A co-worker noticed, dug into her desk and loaned me a Nora Roberts book. I wasn’t excited about reading a sappy romance novel, but decided it was better than being bored. Thus my love of the genre began.

Four years later, I was a stay at home mom and once again found myself bored. One day, my husband reminded me of a short story I had written, a fan fic of the show Lost, and suggested I continue to write it. I gave it a try but decided I wanted to tell my own story and have my character experience more. I wanted my character to experience more. Before I knew it, I was at the library reading books on writing, and the romance genre. My desire to write began.

Over the past three years I’ve gone through the ups and downs of studying the art of story telling. I’ve put down my pen and paper, deciding to give up. But a month later, my character was knocking down the door begging me to tell her story. And tell it I have.

The genre I have chosen – or rather has chosen me – is Contemporary Romance/ Multicultural Romance/ Women’s Fiction. Rather than approach telling my characters stories in the tradition of the romance genre, I have created The Butterfly Memoirs, a collection of stories told by the characters themselves, a diary if you will.

Butterflies have long been a symbol of dynamic change. This evolution is what each of my characters - both the heroine and the hero - go through in their story. My goal is to not only entertain my readers, but to inspire, encourage, and bring hope to those who can relate. My characters do not live in the world of make-believe. They are like you and I, facing everyday hardships, trials, and heartbreak, yet manage to find the moments of joy and happiness that keep them going.

To learn more about me and my writing journey, you can find me online. Visit my blog: This Writer’s Life…, and learn more about path to becoming an author. You’ll be glad you did!

A Heart Not Easily Broken
By, M.J. Kane

     Twenty-six-year old Ebony Campbell is a black woman determined to fulfill her dream of working for the Los Angeles Zoo as a Veterinarian Technician. For seven years she has fulfilled every requirement needed to earn the one thing needed to get the job: the initials, D.V. M. behind her name. Nothing, not a man, and not even her friends, come between her and reaching that goal.
     There are two sides to Brian Young. During the day, he owns and manages his lawn care business. At night, he plays at a night club with his band, Diverse Nation. Cool and confident day or night, he is not satisfied with just playing the club. He wants to go where the money is: in the music studio. Done with relationships after having his heart broken, Brian is determined to focus on only one thing, the notes on his sheet music.
     Their paths cross when Brian spies sexy Ebony dancing in the crowd at the club where his band plays. He’s hooked. Determined to learn more about her, he refuses to let the color of his skin be an excuse to stay away. He’s attracted to her eyes, her mind…and her curvaceous body.
As things heat up between them Brian, scores the chance of a lifetime, an offer he can’t refuse that will take him away from Ebony and the relationship he’s convinced her to build. Despite the three month separation, Ebony decides she can wait for him. In the meantime, she’s focused on school that is now back in session.
     Everything runs smoothly until Ebony finds herself trapped in a situation that changes her life. The secret she is forced to keep from Brian, and her best friend, Yasmine, threatens to ruin everything she’s built over the past seven years.
     Her education, her friendships, and the new love in her life.

Admit it, sounds interesting doean't it? Now I want you to grab a cup of tea or coffee, whatever you please, and take a moment to enjoy this little gift from our author, because it's not found in the book. This is our author doing what she does best...creating a scene, drawing us in and leading us to this amazing story.

I was walking around the zoo the other day with my kids, who’d begged me to get out of the house. It had been a while since we’d gone to visit the various animal habitats. We’d reached the orangutan exhibit when I saw a sign that caught my eye. It read:
‘Please help us welcome a new edition to the Los Angeles Zoo, Baby Nala. The orangutan was born last night and is in good health. Look for her to join the exhibit in the months to come.’
“Cool,” my son said.
I joined my kids in gazing at the orangutans who were in the outdoor portion of the exhibit. Lost in thought, I nearly jumped out of my skin when a hand tapped my shoulder. To my surprise, it was an old friend of mine, Ebony Campbell.
After hugging, I left my two kids to watch the animals while Ebony and I retreated to a bench across from the exhibit.

MJ: Ebony, it’s great to see you! How long has it been?
Ebony: Too long! What’s kept you away?
MJ: Life, family, writing.
*we laugh*
MJ: So I see you still work here. Guess your dream job finally came through.
Ebony: Not just yet. I’m still working as an intern. My final year of college starts at the end of summer and then…we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll get that permanent position once I have my degree.
MJ: Wow, Ebony, you’ve been in school for years. I have to admire you because I didn’t have the patience to stay that long. I graduated and got out.
Ebony: Well, dreams are worth working for. *she shakes her head* Though I’m not ashamed to admit I’m ready to move past this stage of my life. I’ve got other things I want to do. *she looks over at my kids*
MJ: Like getting married, raise a family?
Ebony: *shakes head emphatically* Oh no, I didn’t say all of that. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me before I even think of settling down. As it is, I barely have time to date. Did you see that sign over there? *she indicates the welcome Baby Nala sign*
MJ: Yeah.
Ebony: That is the only baby I have time for. *she smiles* I’ve been here long enough that I can now assist the vets with her care. In fact, this is the exhibit I work in. I’m so excited!
MJ: *eyeing her warily* You are that excited about a baby orangutan? Girl, you need help, quick!
Ebony: *laughter* You sound like my roommates, Kaitlyn and Yasmine.
MJ: Kaitlyn and Yasmine? You guys are still hanging together?
Ebony: Yeah, we are. We’ve always had each other’s back. You should have moved in with us.
MJ: It wouldn’t have worked. Nothing against you guys, but you were more goal oriented than I was. I found my dream man and got settled, quick. You know, I thought you were right behind me. I remember you dating what was his name? *I snap my fingers* Patrick, right? Tall, brown-skinned …delicious. And didn’t he become a doctor?
Ebony: *looking away* Yeah, Patrick, that was him. Yes, he became a doctor, but we were on two different playing fields. He wanted me to drop out of college, get married, and start popping out kids. I don’t think so. I was not about to be his baby making machine.
MJ: You’re kidding! He didn’t want you to become a vet?
Ebony: No. In the end it all became what he wanted. That, I don’t miss. But, I do miss the sex. He was a god in bed. *we laugh and slap high fives* But that wasn’t enough. Besides, it seemed like the only time we got together was for sex. I was in school and balancing out two jobs while he was always on call with the hospital.
MJ: Sounds like he wasn’t the right one for you.
Ebony: I’m beginning to wonder if there is a man for me. My ideal man would be able to work around my schedule. He’d be supportive and let me be me, not want me to give up my dreams to please him. Would I mind being in a relationship? *shoulder shrug* I honestly don’t know. So instead of wasting my time, I’m going to spend the next few months burying my head in books so I can graduate with honors. And get this permanent position at the zoo.
My daughter: *yelling* “Mommy, can we go see the giraffes?”
My son: “Giraffes are lame; I want to see the snakes!”
I shake my head and shudder.
Ebony: *laughing* I may be a vet, but I can’t stand snakes either. *she glances at her watch* Well, break time is over. I better get back to work. It was great seeing you again, MJ.
MJ: I wish you the best, Ebony. Let’s stay in touch, okay?
*we exchange contact information*
Ebony waves at the kids as she walks off.
I have to admire a woman who is determined to see her dreams fulfilled. Though, being alone like that has to be hard in some way. I couldn’t help but wonder if she were truly happy?
Just as I was about to get up, I looked down at the bench. A little brown book rested where she’d sat. I guess it must have fallen out of her pocket and been left behind. Closer inspection shown it was a diary.
There was no lock, so I took a moment to peer inside. It was Ebony’s! I got up to give it to her, but she’d disappeared in the crowd. I grabbed my cell out of my pocket and dialed the number she’d just given me. No reply. I left a voicemail. I would give it to her later. I stuck the book in my purse, but my fingers were itching.
What was it like to be her? Single, unattached, and living her dream? I reached in and pulled the little book out. Nosiness has always been in my nature. My fingers stroked the leather cover.
I think I’m about to find out.

Visit The Butterfly Memoirs blog to find out what happens next!

Now for an excerpt from the book
This is the scene where Ebony meets Brian

I’ve got this,” a deep voice said close to my ear, making me jump. It was incredibly sexy despite the fact it scared me. It also sent a warm tingle down my spine. Intrigued, I turned and found myself face-to-face with the guitar player. The same one my barstool neighbor wanted to go home with.
Any sort of coherent words failed me.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Two dimples rested on either side of firm lips when he smiled.
Wow. The man looked good from the stage, but up close, his presence demanded my full attention. I took a moment to study him from head to toe. He was tall, probably a good six-two to my five-foot-five. His build reminded me of a basketball player, a well-built basketball player. The low lights of the club reflected off damp blond hair with dark undertones. His confident smile cocked to the side, revealing pearly white teeth. The blue shirt he wore complimented the color of his eyes, sparkling like waves of the ocean while hinting at mischief. Baggy shorts and a pair of clean black Converse completed his attire.
His attention went to the bartender. “Joe, put her drink on my tab. I’ll have the usual.” The bartender nodded before walking away. The blond focused his gaze back on me, watching before he spoke again. “You’re not going to thank me?”
I raised my eyebrows in annoyance at his comment. “I didn’t ask for you to pay for this.” I couldn’t stand a man who expected me to be ecstatic because he bought me a drink. I was capable of doing that myself.
Humor flashed in his eyes. “Excuse me for being a gentleman. Unfortunately, it’s too late for you to pay. Guess you’re stuck.” He reached for his beer when the bartender returned, twisted off the cap, and took a huge gulp.
Stuck? Is that what he thought? Passing the drink over to the brunette, saying it came from him, then ordering my own sounded like a good idea. But at five dollars a drink, I’d be a fool not to except a freebie.
Instead of saying thanks, I said, “Don’t let this dress fool you. If you expect to get laid because you bought me a drink, forget it.” My focus left him and resumed searching the crowd for my friends.
I turned back around in time to catch blue eyes exploring the length of my body.
“That was not my intention.” His eyes now focused above the deep cleavage of my dress. “Since we’ve gotten that out of the way, maybe you’ll answer this question.”
I smirked. “What?”
He chuckled. “What’s your name?” He extended a hand. “I’m Brian.”
My attention immediately went to his hand. Large palm, slightly calloused, sporting a deep tan, his nails were a little rough, fingers sporting a few cuts, but they were clean. I glanced back up at his face. This white man was hitting on me. I was flattered knowing he watched me dance, but buying me a drink and asking my name? What did he expect to happen next?
He waited patiently, his hand suspended in midair.
“Ebony.” I accepted his handshake.
“Ebony.  That’s a beautiful name.”
My name was not beautiful; it was a typical name for a black female. Yet the tingle going up my spine from the way it rolled off his tongue, and the sensation of our connected hands, kept my lips from moving. This was unreal. I didn’t expect any kind of spark from him. But then again, after a sexless six months, it wouldn’t take much to get me excited.

When I studied his eyes, lust and desire weren’t visible; but there was something else. Something made him hold my hand longer than necessary. I squirmed involuntarily before being the first to turn away.

“Meeting like this is not the best way to get to know someone.” He released my hand before leaning down to talk to me without yelling quite as loud.
My body tingled at the warm caress of his breath near my ear again. The scent of his musky cologne mixed with sweat from standing under the stage lights was alluring, the heat from his body inviting.
Then I looked back at his skin. “You’re kidding right?”
“Why would I be joking?” He took another swig of beer, his gaze steady on mine.
I laughed lightly while raising my hand to break his line of sight, wiggling my fingers.
He studied it briefly. “I don’t see a ring. Are you married or in a relationship?”
He seriously didn’t get it. I glanced over my shoulder for a moment, wondering which corner of the club my roommates were hiding in while laughing at the practical joke they’d sprung on me.
“Are you color blind?”
“The lights in here are low, but you can’t say you didn’t notice. I’m black, that doesn’t bother you?”
A deep line creased Brian’s brow. “Why should it?”
I smirked.
He appraised me for a moment. “Does it bother you?”
“No,” I said a little too forcefully. I’d left myself open for that remark.
“So what’s your point?” He angled himself to look directly in my eyes.
I assessed him again. His cerulean eyes were sharp, studying me as much as I studied him. Sun-bleached hair set off his bronzed skin, a clear sign of time spent surfing, no doubt. Long legs led to a narrow waist and broad shoulders. I could only imagine what he would look like naked. Wait, why did I think that way?
“You’re not my type, and I’m not yours.” I put my cup to my lips and gulped, forgetting about the extra shot of tequila, I nearly choked.
Brian angled his head, apparently musing over my statement. “You have no idea what my type is.”
“What about her?” I nodded at the brunette who sat behind me.
She’d gone quiet the moment Brian came to the bar. I risked a glance over my shoulder and saw her lips were in a tight line as she glared at me. She didn’t bother to look away. If looks could kill, the coroner would have picked me up off the floor a long time ago. Fortunately, the music was too loud for her to hear our conversation.
When I turned back, Brian’s stare continued to be intense. The room felt as if it had shrunk to the size of a shoebox.
“If I wanted her, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”
Disbelief had me laughing. Of all the brothers in the club, none approached me. Yet, this man spied me from the stage and made his way over. I had to admit, he was bold.
“I want to get to know you. We could−” Annoyance flashed on his face when he acknowledged the hand on his shoulder.
I scoffed, nearly spitting out my drink. The drummer, the object of my suggestive dancing−and oh, my God, that body−stood next to Brian. He didn’t give me the time of day.
Just my luck.
“Yo, man, the next set starts in five.”
Brian nodded. “Sorry. I want to continue this discussion, but they need me back on stage. Why don’t you meet me in VIP when I’m done? It’s a little less crowded. Plus it’s away from the speakers, so you can hear yourself think.”
As if to prove his point, a waitress caring a large tray full of empty cups bumped into his elbow. He managed to hold his beer without spilling a drop. “Tell security the Bass Man sent you. You’ll get in with no problem.”
“The Bass Man?”
“Yeah, I play bass guitar. You’d be surprised how many women try to get in there.” He nodded to the roped off corner of the room with oversized plush sofas under focused track lights. A few women were already lounging in the area. A man the size of Chewbacca and thankfully, a lot less hairy and dressed in black, stood, his arms crossed while wearing dark shades. He mean mugged the crowd, discouraging them from walking his way. My eyes must have bulged, because Brian chuckled. His laugh was as deep as his voice.
“He won’t bite,” he said with a wickedly charming grin. “Till then, Ebony.” He toasted me with his bottle, drained the remnants of his beer before disappearing into the crowd, and then reappeared on the stage. 

Hold  on! There's still my interview with author MJ Kane

I am actually excited to have the chance to introduce you to the wonderful M.J. Kane.Welcome, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Would you like to share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
 Certainly! But first, let me thank you for having me here on your blog! For those who don’t know, I am a stay-at-home mom and have been for several years. I’ve always been an avid reader. Anything that was fantasy, mystery, or sci-fi caught my attention. I didn’t start reading romance novels until 2005 when I finished reading Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King for the second time during my lunch break. A co-worker noticed I was bored and offered me a Nora Roberts novel. Need I say more? After that, I began exploring the genre. When I decided to start writing, romance is what I chose, or rather, chose me!
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Sure. My first novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, is the first in a series entitled, The Butterfly Memoirs. It is a contemporary romance, interracial romance, and women’s fiction novel. It explores the depths of the main character, Ebony Campbell, a black woman, and her ability to discover new love outside of her comfort zone, with Brian Young, a white man. Yet the book doesn’t just focus on interracial romance. It explores her relationships with her best friends, and most importantly, the reader is with her when she experiences the worst thing in her life and must find a way to protect hide her pain from her friends, and Brian. But the novel is not just about her. Brian has his personal triumphs and failures as well.  

Where did you get your inspiration for you main character and her story?

Real life experiences. No, they are not all mine, but like any writer, I pull a bit from the various people I know, put a twist on it and allow my over active imagination to take control and voila! A plot is born! 

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?

This particular story has a theme, one that unfortunately many women have been unlucky enough to experience, or know someone who has experienced it, rape. Though the subject is not one many women want to talk about, and for good reason, I decided to write a story about a woman who not only survived the incident, she refuses to retreat into a shell and allow it to destroy her life. She pulls herself together and puts on a brave front, keeping the pain locked away from those closest to her. While that may not be the wisest thing for any woman to do, the fact that she did and managed to continue to meet her life goals instead of giving up is an amazing story. It is my sincere wish that anyone who reads this will find encouragement to face their daily battles.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? 

OUTLINE!!!! When I first started writing several years ago, I didn’t have a clue as to what to do. I just knew I had an idea and a laptop. Paper, planning, outlining? What was that? LOL. But after nearly two years, and several stories that were seriously lacking, I decided to listen to my family and critique partners when they said I needed to plot my story from beginning, middle, and end. Yes, is was work and very time consuming, but I realized I actually grew to KNOW my characters. That not only made them more real for me, it made it easier to pull the story out of my imagination and put it on the screen, or paper, or whatever was handy when the moment hit me.

From what I understand, you are now waiting for a response from a publisher. Do you have an agent behind you? How has that been going?  

Publisher? I wish! No, not yet. Right now I’m in the query stage, and have been for the past few months. But as anyone who’s been here before knows, the chances are astronomical that someone will jump at publishing a newbie. But that’s okay, because with the options writers have now of indie publishing and self-publishing, I know one way or another my stories will get out there. After putting in three years of hard work and teaching myself how to write, I decided I owe myself a shot at the big boys. It’s just a matter of patience, not only on my part, but hopefully my fans.  Bear with me guys, I promise not to disappoint!

Could you tell us what you’re working on now? 

I’d love too! A Heart Not Easily Broken is the first part in a series of books I’m writing entitled, The Butterfly Memoirs. The books are a twist of the general romance theme. My characters are as real as you, me, and your neighbor down the street. My themes are real life, things that you or someone close to you may have experienced. My goal is to offer not only entertainment, but encouragement to those who may relate to these stories. So far I’ve planned six books in the series, but I am leaving room for at least another three based on supporting characters. The second book in the series, Jaded, is based on a supporting character in AHNEB, Yasmine Phillips. Her story actually starts from her POV during the final chapters of AHNEB, and is picked up two months later in the beginning of Jaded. I can’t tell too much or else I’ll be giving away the ending of AHNEB! What I can tell you is this story, like the first one, is dear to my heart. It is filled with a lot of emotion and you will ride the wave of ups and downs Yasmine experiences. Not to mention, her love interest is a total hottie! What can I say, I love my male characters!

How much did you know about life as an author before getting yourself into this crazy world? How much time do you spend writing and marketing? 

Honestly, not a thing! I’ve been learning as I go, like I said, I am a self-taught author. No writing classes, no college. Just my over active imagination (it happens when you’re an only child and grow up in the country!) But that hasn’t stopped me from being a sponge and absorbing every bit of knowledge I can get a hold of. In fact, I’ve learned so much from so many people that I have to share what I’ve learned. My blog, This Writer’s Life… ( is where I share my experiences and what I’ve learned, good and bad. One thing I have learned is not all writers have a support system like I have that allows them to have time to research and read book after book to improve their writing skills. Not everyone can make that writer’s workshop, or conference. I hope that by my sharing what I’ve learned, writers who have time to jump online to research will find my blogs helpful and encouraging in some way. How much time do I spend writing and marketing? Too much, yet it often feels like it’s not enough! I am a mother of four beautiful children and have a house with seven people and two Pit Bulls who are inside dogs that are spoiled rotten. I am awful with schedules! I have my early morning, late afternoon/evening routines that are set in stone, but that’s about it. Doctor’s appointments, the business we run from home and other life events often pull me a way for brief periods of time. But I find a way to keep it moving. Carrying pen, paper, a sometimes laptop, and smart phone with apps keeps me in the social loop and writing. So does my voice recorder on my phone for those times I get struck with an idea while dropping the kids off at school. My husband is always telling me to keep a schedule. One day it will stick in my thick head! LOL!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Definitely. NEVER GIVE UP, I repeat, NEVER GIVE UP! If you find yourself frustrated, as if you can’t adequately transfer your thoughts to paper so that a reader will understand your story, put it down and step away. Find something else to occupy your time. Take a brain break. Then, when you’re not as stressed, come back and try again. I had to do that. I took a month off, determined never to write again. As you see, it didn’t work. Instead, I took a three day writer’s workshop at my local community college, and tried again. That was a year ago, and now here I am, confident that I have improved as a writer, and ready to share my tale.

 Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for us. I’m sure my readers have enjoyed your answers as much as I have. It has truly been a pleasure having you stop by.

Thank you for asking me to do my first interview! Hopefully I’ll be able to come back to share when my book is available!
Here are a list of links to help you follow The Butterfly Memoirs and author MJ Kane

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The House that Jacqs Built

The House That Jacqs Built

A Mystery/Suspense Novel


Carla had something to prove. There was no way she was going to be just the average.  She was the youngest child of a mother who offered her no hope. Her sister was just as hopeless as their mom.  At twenty five Carla had grown accustomed to the life. She had dealt with the you can not’s, you should not, it will never work and the your heading for failures all her life. The more she was told not to, the harder she tried. First it was just her mom, but as her sister got older she had let their mom dominate her ability to control her own thoughts which left Carla with double the dose of negativity. Carla grew up feeling like the enemy in her own home. Other than sleeping there, she had practically raised herself since the age of fifteen. That’s when it started. Carla had always had a drive for life. High school had given her that push to experience all that her mother would have never shown her. She had teachers that took interest in her and taught her well beyond the classroom.  She had become a part of every program and all the activities that she could. With her school work, her busy after school schedule and then homework; when she finally did reach home, it gave her all the opportunity she needed to avoid her mother. At home she spent most of her time in her room with the door closed. She was not only closing her body away from them but she was protecting her eyes, ears and mind from her surroundings; she refused to let them keep her confined.
                Her sister Leslie had a group of girlfriends that Carla liked to refer to as the No Fly Deltas.  The No Flies were in their mid-twenties at the time. They hung around on the block, most of them not even obtaining a high school diploma, and they gossiped. Their idea of having a good time was to abuse marijuana, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes all day long. Carla called them the No Flies because in her eyes they were never going to soar to any great heights in life. It is amazing how the world Delta represents both of what these women will never be. A popular airline that flies or a sorority group that excels but yet these Deltas would never fly anywhere.  They were Carla’s example of all she would not allow herself to be. She watched their boyfriends physically abuse them. She watched them abuse their friendship. They fought constantly cursing at each other. They borrowed bread, oil, sugar, and even toothpaste if you let them.  It saddens Carla to know that Leslie was one of the Deltas which was probably the main reason why Carla and Leslie were never close. They had nothing in common and most of the time, they didn’t even talk. Even now years later, that remains the same. No way was Carla going to adapt to that much longer in her life. She worked hard and graduated from Norman Thomas High School with honors and valedictorian of her class. She was happy to accept her full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. She could not wait to get out of her mother’s house; this is what she has been saving herself for. Her bright future awaits her.

Chapter 1
      Carla looked over at him and smiled. He was sleeping so peacefully she didn’t want to wake him. She quietly slid out of the bed as she glanced at the alarm clock. She pulled the bedroom door shut as not to wake him. The hot shower woke her up as she wiped the sleep from her face. Seconds later she heard the bathroom door open and the sliding glass doors to the shower moved as he stepped inside and kissed Carla without any words. Carla wrapped her arms around his waist as she slid her leg between his to adjust herself firmly into his arms. She could not think of any better way to start her morning. Carla has been with Jon Jacqs for two years now. They spent many nights together between her apartment and his house. Jon wanted Carla to move in with him but Carla refused. Jon lived in a big house all alone. He had plenty of money, not because he worked hard for it but because his father did. Jon’s father passed two years ago when they met and apparently he was worth a lot. Carla was not sure exactly how much but she knew it was far more than she could ever imagine for herself. Although Carla worked very hard every day and she was only months away from becoming Carla Brandon attorney at law, Jon simply saw her as the woman in his life. He admired her hard work maybe especially because he had never worked hard for anything yet he had everything. Carla realized that meeting Jon was wonderful, he was like a gift wrapped in love. She felt as if she had beaten the odds against her. She didn’t have a man like the Deltas who abused her in any form. She had a loving patient caring man. Not only that, he was handsome, smart and sexy to say the least. He could have easily been with any woman who had as much money as him but he chose to be with her.

Carla was excited about her morning start in the office. She was researching a new case for her boss. Amy allowed Carla to freely express herself through her work. She never questioned her work methods and really appreciated all her hard work. Whenever they had a new case the two of them would sit and discuss the facts. Afterwards, Amy would call the client in for an interview. She would get their side of the story and from there take what she gathered back to Carla. Most of the time Amy didn’t even need to tell Carla what she needed because Carla was so thorough that she was already on it.

Amy was a great lawyer. She hired Carla in the beginning of the year when she herself had only been at New Beginnings for a short time. They have grown to know and respect each other’s style of work. They were a powerful team and they complimented each other very well. It was still a shock to Carla that in only two more weeks the year would be over. Ever since she started at New Beginnings that’s exactly what it has been for Carla. Carla looked up to notice the office secretary coming in to work. She was a sweet lady who had to be in her mid to late seventies. Since she was the eldest in the office, everyone referred to her as momma although they would dare not call her that to her face. She refused to be called old or the older lady. The one bad thing was that her desk sat in the middle of the office. She had not privacy or no space of her own. When Carla first entered the office for her job interview with Amy that is one of the first things that she noticed.  Carla felt that she was often taken advantage of because of it. They would literally drop files and ask her to do work that was not required of her.
     In the mist of her deep thoughts Simeyon got off the elevator and waved a friendly hello to Carla. Simeyon was the cute guy with the cute name that often tried to get Carla to have dinner with him. He had been with the firm for years but to Carla he was just the office flirt. Although he was cute Carla had no interest in him. He was the firm’s runner, if that’s a good way to describe his position. He did all the footwork for Mr. Jacobs and the other lawyers. Whatever the office needs were, Simeyon was there to take care of them.  When he was in the office he handled the mail but most of the time he was on the go. Mr. Jacobs, the owner of the firm, loved him.  He called him his go to man.

                Carla was very thorough about her work.  The biggest part of her job was uncovering all the little things that the average eye missed. And there was nothing average about Carla. She was a perfectionist and a keen research analysis. She missed nothing. When there is a crime scene or incident that requires detectives, paramedics, police officers, and the many other people that are at the scene, usually there is always something very small that is missed.  That is where Carla comes in. Carla’s job was to uncover the unnoticeable. She would look at pictures over and over which was sometimes difficult.  Looking at how someone’s life was ended in such a brutal way or looking at the effects on the body of a young rape victim is never easy. If it were not for the justice of knowing and proving how it all happened, Carla doesn’t think she would be able to do this job. Piecing together pieces of evidence along with her critical thinking is what made her so good at what she does. She wanted to be sure that the client that the firm represents could not have committed this crime and the only way to do that was to investigate from both angles, the prosecutors and the defense. That was the secret behind her success.
                The new case she was working on hit kind of close to home for her.  She had to put all personal feelings aside so she could focus on the facts. After all day of researching it was time to turn over what she had to Amy.
“Ms. Armstrong, I have paperwork for you. Would you like me to call the accused and set up an appointment for your interview?” Carla buzzed in to Amy.
“No Carla, let me look things over first and then I will let you know. Can you bring me what you have?”
     “Surely, I’ll be right there”. Carla walked to Amy’s office and handed her the paper work. She told her she was going home for the day. Amy had no problem with that. Carla noticed a change in her boss in the past few months. She had always been nice to her but these days, she was sporting a softer side of Amy.  She was still a very strong woman but just with a more polite edge. Carla didn’t know what it was but she knew there was something different about her. On her way back to her office Simeyon greeted her in the hallway.
“Well, if it isn’t my research lady. I have some things I want to research about you if you let me.” Simeyon flashed his cute smile with a dimple. Carla tried to think of how many men she could remember having a dimple.
“No thank you. Not even if you had to do an autopsy would you be able to find out anything about me. I’m far too complex for you to understand.” Carla teased.
“Well, that’s good to know because I am far more interested in getting to know you alive rather than dead. Maybe all that research is getting to your pretty little head. You should let me take you out sometimes just so I can slow down the process of your brain activity.”
“OK Mr. Sims, so does that mean that a woman has to be uh, stupid, to go out with you?” Carla addressed him by his last name. She enjoyed giving him a hard time.
“If that were the case, I’d surely not be going after such a beautiful, smart, and amazing woman such as you.” Simeyon shot back at Carla. Carla walked into her room as he followed her. Every time she looked at him she could not help but to think about how cute he was. The problem was; that was just it. He was cute. Not handsome and not manly to her. He kind of reminded her of the little brother that she never had. Carla realized that she didn’t even know his age. She gathered her belongings and headed out of her room. She stood at the door waiting for Mr. Sims to get the hint and follow suite.  Complaining that he was being put out, Carla smiled at him and shut off the lights.  On her way to the elevator she said goodnight to the secretary and goodnight to Mr. Sims. As the elevator door opened he asked her to think about having dinner with him. It didn’t take long on the one minute ride down from the firm to the lobby for Carla to give it some thought and make up her mind. As the doors re-opened on the main floor she said to herself “thought about it, not in a million years” as she smiled and headed to her car.

Chapter 2

Only heaven knows how much Carla loved being at Jon’s place. His house was in a part of Pennsylvania where seeing the Amish was not rare.  Carla found herself fascinated by their lifestyle. She would watch from Jon’s full floor length view, their correspondences with each other and the people they may have come in contact with. They walked very close in proximity to each other, almost even in syn. Sometimes Carla wondered if they rehearsed that, it seemed too perfect to have not been.  The only thing that really puzzled Carla was that she thought the Amish were very modest people yet there was nothing modest about Jon’s community. His community was for the blue blood; Carla remembers hearing an old saying that the people with blue blood were rich. One look at Jon’s block of fancy oversized houses with five fancy cars lined up in the front was enough for Carla to know that her blood definitely ran red. So why were there so many Amish living their? Maybe they’ve learned that even they had to change with the times.  Jon lived in a town called intercourse. Carla joked with Jon that intercourse should have the highest number of babies born a year with a name like that. Believe it or not, Carla lived in a town named quite opposite of Jon’s. She lived in Blue Ball. Carla could not escape Jon’s jokes for their neighboring towns when he felt he needed to see her.  He would say when she’s in Blue Ball then so is he and she needs to come to intercourse so he can be happy. When Carla would tell him to come to Blue Ball he would say there no intercourse over there. He was telling the truth, Blue Ball could not even remotely compare to his rich lifestyle. Carla made a modest living for herself and Blue Ball was great for the average but for Jon it compared to hood life, if he only knew what that was. Although Jon was rich, he never put Carla down, not with word anyway but unbeknownst to him his faces said it all sometimes. Carla would reason that it really was not his fault; he was just born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
The two met on campus. Jon was graduating and Carla had two years to go. After a few acquaintances Carla quickly began to realize that Jon was not the man for her. She did not want him to know that she was in college on a full four year scholarship and not because her mom could afford to pay for school flat out like his rich dad had done for him. She didn’t want him to know that she grew up in the tough streets of Brooklyn on Stuyvesant Avenue in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant’s hood. She could not tell him that she was raised by a single mother with a history of mental illness, undiagnosed. For these reasons she tried unsuccessfully to keep her distance from Jon. The passing of his father almost sent Jon into an emotional breakdown. There is no amount of money that can heal the pain of a lost loved one; it was at those moments that Carla began to see Jon in a different light.  She was there for him as he needed her support through the healing process.  Jon hadn’t planned on it, but he took over his father’s business. It took him a year to really learn the ins and outs of the pharmetucal industry.  Having just obtained his degree in sports medicine was a big help when talking with all the high powered drug companies agents. Jon ran the largest pharmaceutical drug company ever. Carla remembers her younger years when her peers thought it was actually cool to date boys who were selling illegal drugs to the addicts in the community. She was proud to say that she was dating a drug dealer who was actually helping the sick people and legally.
Carla looked out of the window in Jon’s foyer. As much as she been there, she was still amazed at the view. Even the rich should be overwhelmed living on a grand scale day to day. Jon’s house had double French doors opening to highly glossed slate flooring. A grand piano sat to the left and a huge indoor patio like setting sat to the right. Going past the grand piano where an additional set of French door that led to the family room. The furniture was beautiful cream Italian leather lined with wood trimming. The oversized area carpet was black with square cubes of red, black, and gray. Covering the walls were oil canvassed paintings of family portraits. Jon was an only child so there were many pictures of him. Whenever Carla was in the family room alone, she felt an eerie feeling. The images seemed to give a sad undertone of some of the paintings. The happy moments seemed to be painted in color and the sad where black and white. Actually what she noticed was that all the pictures with Jon in them were color paintings but the paintings of his mom were all gray or filled with some sort of gloom. Her smiling image would throw anybody off to believe that she was a happy woman but Carla saw beyond that. There was sadness in her eyes that spoke to Carla every time she looked at those paintings. The paintings with the whole family were painted in both color and black and white. There was a story behind those paintings that needed to be told. Carla knew that the average eye would have not caught on but this is what she got paid to do every day, to notice the unnoticeable. She wondered if Jon noticed it or knew the story behind the gloom.
The spiral stairs with carpet on each landing lead to the living quarters of the house. Jon recently adorned the walls with black art which was his passion. He had black artist, musicians, and instruments placed on the walls of the long corridors. It was like walking in a maze of jazz singers and swingers from the sixties. Whenever Carla walked the hallway which seemed like it had no end, she felt like she was at the cotton clubs in Harlem during that era. The four bedrooms or suites as Jon liked to correct Carla were all overly decorated and overly huge with its own bathroom in each. Thinking how this lifestyle could easily be hers was far more unimaginable than she could ever believe. As much as she loved it, it was all Jon’s. Carla needed to see the fruits of her own labor. She felt if she had this life then maybe she would lost her drive to work hard, what would there be to work for if she already had everything? Carla strongly believes that all this has affected Jon’s approach to life. Although he was an intelligent man and he had just obtained his degree, he really has never planned a direction for his life. He went to college because he was bored and only due to his dad’s death did he take over the company. Carla does see the change in him over the past year.  He has really been doing an excellent job with the business but Carla also notices that Jon loves the power of being in control. He has become a lot more controlling with her lately not really giving her the freedom to make decision like he did in the past but Carla knew it came from the job. She knew how much Jon loved her and she was very careful about how she displayed her love to him.  Not to be misunderstood, Carla was very loving and very sweet. She was not ready for the things he wanted. Jon wanted to go visit Carla’s mom and sister in the Brooklyn. She told Jon that her family was nothing like his nor was her upbringing. Carla never used slang terminology around Jon but she was upfront about her past, well almost. He knew that her mom was not very supportive of her but he didn’t know that she was mentally unstable. Undiagnosed mental instability had been difficult for Carla and Leslie to live with. Carla figured out in her teens years that her mom needed help but she refused to get any. As Carla got older she would make suggestions that her mom seek a doctor.  She would always refuse saying there was nothing wrong with her. Carla’s mom mood swung from day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute.
 Carla remembers going home from school telling her mom that her teacher said they needed money for supplies and her mother would say no problem. The next day Carla would go home and remind her mother about the supplies and her mom would go off the deep end. Carla’s mother also could never see any good in anyone or anything. She was a pessimist about everything. Carla was not allowed to play outside like the other kids for fear that she would be stolen by a predictor. She was not allowed to go the slumber parties for fear that she would be hurt. She was not allowed to go to sleep away camp or day camp in the summer for fear of everything. Fear and anxiety surrounded her home. Carla and Leslie did their best to maintain normal lives without their friends knowing their true lives. Leslie’s approach was to be wild and ignore the situation. She ran the streets with the Delta’s and did everything to disobey and ignore their mom.  Carla just wanted out of Brooklyn and her mother’s house so she did everything she could to better herself while she waited on her day of freedom. Over the years their mother’s condition had only worsened. After a few visits to their home by some religious ladies, their mom started to go with them to learn more about God. Carla attended what she thought would be church but this was no church. After several attempts to attend Carla quickly determined that something was not right at that place. Although Carla never went back, her mom continued to go and it just enhanced her mother’s downhill battle to try to hold on to whatever little sanity she had left. From then on, on top of all the negativity, her mom became a bible verse quoting fanatic using God to instill fear into her children. So not only were the plagued by their mom’s fears but now they had to live in fear as well. The religious ladies told her that God promised an opportunity to live forever if their mom would just follow the teachings.  

CAR would like to take the time to express her sincere and deepest appreciation to all those who support and enjoy reading her books. You can get her full bio on her website, please visit.

The book can be purchased through amazon, barnes and nobles, bookhitch and Made very simply for you to purchase ,you can get your copy through her website
E-books is in the works. Will be available very shortly!
And her blog Please enjoy and follow her blogs as she keeps it updated for you to know any author events she may be attending or book signings. Also, fellow authors, please use her blog as a tool for promoting your book. Contact her if your interested.
Other Books By CAR
Caught Up In The Grift (Pre-sale available through her website) 
The Revelation of Genesis:Unveiled (Coming Soon)
CAR is working on her fourth novel. She welcomes your reviews and comments. Thanks Again, Blessings.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Last night, surrounded by a group of army cadets and a lot of noise, I checked my phone and found this comment from Emaginette, a fellow blogger: "What is the Liebster Blog Award? Well it's recognition from a fellow blogger, namely me. Come visit my site for more details."

Once I made my way to her new site, I found this comment about me: Debbie Brown — Author of Amethyst Eyes. On her blog she does reviews, promotes her book, and offers advice to new writers. Watch and learn. I don’t think she even knows she’s a teacher.

I was shocked, surprised and I actually cried. This came out of the blue when I was feeling overwhelmed by the endless demands of all that comes after publishing. I have a home to run and a daughter turning 4 so there are some things that hold priority one status in my day, but I no longer watch television or take time to browse the internet. I am taking an advanced writing course while writing another two books.Reading my email subscriptions on gardening, cooking, writing tips and health matters have fallen to low priority…so low that I am going to have to remove myself from their mailing lists since I can no longer keep up with my bulging inbox .
I want to say THANK YOU, Emaginette, you have lifted my spirits and brought the sun back out from behind the clouds. If you click here: you can take a trip over to her blog. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you, I gladly accept this award.

Here's the best part…I get to choose the next five recipients.  

MJ Kane  Now here is a wonderful person, mother, blogger, and author of the Butterfly Memoirs.  She is imaginative and quite funny, you have to hear her story about plotting out scenes while driving and having no recollection of the drive once she reaches her destination. At least she arrives safe and sound.
MJ, you can now remove the ‘aspiring’ from your description…you’re working on your second book, you’ve made it ;o).

Celine and Ela: If you want to know more about a book before you read it, they are more than willing to share their thoughts. This is a fun and animated site. “We're just two average teenage girls who have a slight addiction to young adult books. We like to think that we speak the truth about the books we come across.”

Jamie:  Always important to authors are the opinions of readers/reviewers/bloggers. Jamie’s comments are spirited, to say the least ;o).   I have always been an avid reader but this little device (Kindle) put a library in my living room and I have found myself flying through books. Sadly, my social circle is lacking people who love reading like I do, so here I am, entering the blog world!”

Codi : A wonderful young lady who takes the time to read and review books. Her blog is fresh and fun. “I love to read young adult books, that and music are probably my life. My friends and family love to tease me because nine times out of ten I'd rather be in my room reading than doing anything else. I also really like to write, though I will admit, it's not one of my strong points.” From Codi.

Making Connections:  MC is there for authors, promoting books, blog tours and bringing lots of people together… a great place to stop in for a visit.

To Accept this award, please follow these rule:

1) Show thanks to the blogger who awarded you by linking back to their blog.
Pick 5 blogs with less than 200 followers and let them know about your nominations by leaving a comment on their blog.
3) Post the award on your blog!

Take a bow, pat yourselves on the back, and keep up the good work.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Making Your Way as an Author

Since I have published my book I have had great pleasure in meeting other authors. I can honestly say I have found an amazing group people from around the world who all share something in common with me, and that’s the love of writing and story telling.

Another thing we have in common is marketing.

Where we may differ is as vast as the ocean…and that’s anything from simple differences like being traditionally, assisted or self-published, to formally trained in writing and journalism or a moonlighter with literary aspirations.

Although I have taken writing courses, which include all kinds of training and preparation from writing short stories, articles and novels to finding an agent or publisher, one thing lacking in these courses is anything and everything to do with marketing. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I have learned, but I would have gladly taken an extra semester that included marketing.

So, here you are the published author…I guess you could compare that to being dropped into a canoe in the middle of the woods, paddle in hand. Note that I did not say “on or near” the water. That’s because you have to start paddling right where you are, to the nearest stream that might lead to a river or lake. Then what? You are still a long way from the ocean and paddling through gravel isn’t easy.

Once you hit water, you find yourself surrounded by others, paddling feverishly toward the next segment or body of water.

Every author knows all too well the amount of work they’ve invested in their manuscript. So why not make sure what your marketing has every chance of making it to the ocean? How? By making sure some simple principles have been followed.

1) Have your work edited, critiqued and revised.

2) Make sure your book cover is a good one…too often Indie authors have slapped whatever/however on their book. Now this is where countless Indie authors will pipe in telling me just how much time/effort/money went into their covers. My point here is that a few bad ones taint the pool, unfortunately labelling the lot.

3) If you are formatting your ebook on your own and do not have the money to have it done right, then ASK SOMEONE. There are other authors willing to help. Bad grammar is one thing, but getting author name and page number smack dab in the middle of your sentence is annoying.

By following these few tips you now have a quality product to promote.

Here are some things to consider while you’re promoting:

1) Develop your author platform and begin letting people know you’re out there. Pace yourself so that you can keep on top of your pages/sites. Doing too much too fast will show.

2) Join groups and cross market one another. I was told in a webinar that more than 10% self-promoting can turn people off of you. Host authors on your blog, do fun interviews and giveaways.

3) Look into Author Solutions, Writer’s Digest and similar places to keep up with the changing trends, get marketing tips and tools, (they offer free webinars). Get onboard with Goodreads (various groups), there are more threads than is humanly possible to follow from blog tours to reviews and cross-promoting.

4) Consider entering your work into contests. The recognition gained is priceless.

5) Participate in author presentations, book signings and book fairs to give yourself the chance to meet readers and become ‘real’ to them.

OK, so let’s say we’ve made it into a larger body of water…now what?
My best advice comes back to pacing yourself because aside from paying someone to handle your marketing, there’s no way out of it. You will have to roll up your sleeves and paddle your way along the current. Once you get a rhythm going enjoy yourself. Have fun meeting other authors, bloggers, and readers. I must say there are some great people out there and I am thrilled to have made some new friends.

 We are going to be talking with author M.J. Kane shortly, and not only will she be presenting her novel Butterfly Memoirs, but she has a few stories of her own to tell. So, stay tuned.