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 more...you 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.
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! http://thebutterflymemoirs.blogspot.com/p/character-diary.html

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?”
“No.”
“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… (thiswriterslife-mjkane.blogspot.com) 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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MJKaneBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ButterflyMemoir
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mjkanebooks?ref=tn_tnmn
FB Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/The.Butterfly.Memoirs
Blog: http://thiswriterslife-mjkane.blogspot.com/
Blog: http://thebutterflymemoirs.blogspot.com/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/111337870949730559736/posts
Email: mjkanebooks@yahoo.com

3 comments:

  1. Great interview!

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  2. How wonderful of you to update this and send it out. I noticed it's one of your popular posts, which doesn't surprise me. MJ already has a great prescence on Twitter and Facebook because of her generous attitude and her witty and informative blogs. Very excited for her.

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  3. She truly is a great person, Carmen, and I am looking forward to our big follow up post. I wish her the best!

    ReplyDelete