Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author Jamila T. Davis

Please join me in welcoming author Jamilia T. Davis to Conversations today! Jamila is here to talk about her book, She's All Caught Up! So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Jamila T. Davis!

Lisa ~
_____________________________________________

She's All Caught Up!

She's All Caught Up is a cautionary tale for young people enamored by the fast life and the older folks that love them. This memoir tells of the negative influences that swayed the early life of author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series). She is currently serving a 151 month sentence for her role in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.

Young Jamila grew up in a loving, middle class home. Her hardworking parents, the Davises, overcame the barriers of poverty and racism faced by African Americans in the segregated South. From the back wood shacks of the rural south, the Davises migrated north, making Jamaica Queens, New York their new home. They drove themselves relentlessly. By education and endless hard work, they attained their portion of the American dream.

Determined to afford their own children the opportunities they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children's success.

At first, it seemed as though the formula worked. Jamila became her parents' ideal "star child." At a young age she performed in dance recitals at Lincoln Center and toured the country in a leading role in an off- Broadway play. Throughout elementary and middle school she maintained straight A's and was accepted to the acclaimed "Fame" High School of Performing Arts in New York City.

All was copacetic until high school years, when Jamila meets Craig. He was a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside projects of Jamaica Queens. His street edge fascinated naive Jamila, and he quickly usurped Mrs. Davis' position as role model and protector.

Jamila became mesmerized by the hustlers and life in the inner city ghetto. Her values quickly changed. She wanted independence, power and notoriety, and she chose life in the fast lane to claim them. With her brains and beauty, she rises to the top!

As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents' tight reins, the Davises wage an "all-out" battle to save their only daughter who they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by materialism and the drama of street life, she resists, and the Davis family is turned upside down!

This real-life story exemplifies the powerful societal influences that affect today's youth, and the almost insurmountable challenges of the older generation who fight hard to protect them. This heartfelt story empowers both youth and adults to understand the tragic consequences of poor choices while instilling the ability to resist them.

When this good girl goes bad, it seems as if there is no turning back.

SHE'S ALL CAUGHT UP!




Excerpt from She's All Caught Up
 
     “Pull the car over now!” I heard blaring from a bullhorn as I was suddenly awakened from a deep sleep.
    
“Oh my goodness, Jamila, wake up!” Theresa shouted as she fiercely nudged me from the driver’s seat of her gray Mitsubishi Mirage.

    
“What in the world!” I shouted as we pulled over on Capital Boulevard and close to a dozen cop cars surrounded us.

    
“Oh, God, girl. We are in trouble. I’m so nervous,” Theresa whimpered in a panic as sweat began to pour down her jet-black petite face.

    
“Calm down, girl. Just act normal,” I instructed, trying hard to gather my composure. My heart pounded intensely as I watched the police gather through the rearview mirror. Two cops exited their vehicle.

    
“You don’t understand! I’ve got a ton of drugs in the trunk. Oh, man, Jamila, I think we are in big trouble,” Theresa ranted as the cops quickly approached us.

    
“Young ladies, step out of the car and show me some identification,” the tall, white cop said in a strong Southern drawl as he approached the driver’s door of the vehicle, with his hand tightly gripped on the gun in his holster.

    
We stepped out of the small, two-door car and fear engulfed me as I watched several other officers swarm our vehicle. It became apparent this was not a routine traffic stop.

    
“You can make this difficult, or it can be easy. Do you give us permission to search this vehicle, gal?” the officer asked Theresa sharply in his strong Southern accent.

    
“Well, um,” Theresa mumbled, clearly confused and frightened. “I don’t . . . um. Well, I guess so.”

    
That’s all the officers needed to hear. They had Theresa’s consent and began to ransack the car. After a brief search, the drugs that were hidden in the luggage in the trunk of the car were quickly apprehended.

    
Tears rolled down my eyes as Theresa and I were read our rights, handcuffed, and placed in the back of the police car. I was seventeen years old and under arrest!

    
My life flashed in front of me. What was I going to tell my parents? How could I ever explain this? I was supposed to be enjoying my freshman year at St. Augustine’s University. Instead, I sat in a tiny holding cell at the Wake County Jail in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    
I nervously stood silent as I was finally taken before a magistrate judge, who formally announced my charges and determined my bail.

    
“Jamila Davis,” the old white judge announced as he banged his gavel, “I hereby set your bail at two million dollars.”

    
Two million dollars! I thought in rage and disbelief.
     I was escorted out of the small courtroom by the bailiff and sent back to the dark holding cell. I cried uncontrollably as the reality of the consequences of my lifestyle had suddenly crept up on me. I had no clue the power a few bad decisions could have. My life didn’t have to turn out this way. It was one poor choice that ultimately altered my entire destiny!



Interview with Jamilia T. Davis
 
Introduce yourself to the audience and tell them a little about your latest memoir, "She's All Caught Up."

Hello, my name is Jamila T. Davis. I am the author of "She's All Caught Up." My book is a memoir about my early life, written as a cautionary tale. It exposes some of the negative influences that led me on a destructive, high speed chase to find fulfillment.

I grew up during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80's. Back then, it was cool to date drug dealers who were getting significant amounts of money. Just like kids today, my desire to be accepted by my peers caused me to try to appease those I admired, regardless of the consequences. Unlike the average chicks I grew up with, once I got a taste of life in the fast lane I wanted my own share. Instead of simply accepting handouts from my drug dealer boyfriends, I decided to try my hand in the game. Overnight, I became addicted to the high of getting money and it all went downhill from there!

Please share with our audience where you are at? And, how your current experience sparked the creation of your memoir?

I am currently serving a 12 1/2 year sentence at the Danbury Federal Prison camp in Danbury, Connecticut. It is the same facility where Piper Kerman, author of the book "Orange Is The New Black," was housed.

While incarcerated, I participated in a prison public speaking program, geared to deter at-risk youth from crime. Hearing teens vow to avoid participating in criminal activities after listening to my story made me recognize the power it had. This inspired me to write my book to warn others about the detriments of living life in the fast lane. I want kids to understand the severe consequences of this lifestyle, so they will think twice before committing crimes.

What audience do you think will benefit most from this book and why?

I think teens will benefit from reading my book, as well as adults. A lot of people from all races and backgrounds have told me they can relate to my story in certain aspects. I created my book to become a mirror that causes readers to reflect. Even if you didn't make the same mistakes as I did, most of us have been vulnerable to some form of peer pressure or negative influences to gain acceptance. It is my goal to cause readers to dig in and analyze themselves. I share my flaws so that others will have the courage to take a look at their own flaws. We all make mistakes, but true empowerment occurs when we dare to go back and fix them. It's all about being real and breaking free from the chase that keeps many in bondage.

Share with us a little about how your family life was growing up?

My mother was a school teacher and my father was a NYC Transit supervisor. They migrated from the South to build a better life for their family.

I grew up in an upper middle class home, with two very loving parents. They enrolled me and my brother in all types of activities including dancing, singing, acting, gymnastics and Judo. I had a full schedule and was expected to get straight A's in school. My parents wanted to ensure that my brother and I had all the things, and opportunities, that they lacked growing up. So for the most part, we were pretty spoiled.

Do you think your childhood life fits the typical prisoner? Please explain.

Not at all! My parents raised me for success. My mother's dream was for me to become a doctor or lawyer, while being successful in the world of entertainment. They never imagined that I would be enamored by life in the fast lane. My desire to be accepted swayed me over to the other side. After that, there seemed to be no turning back!

What was the changing point in your life that turned you into a "get money" chick?

I was dumped by my first boyfriend, a well known drug dealer, for an older girl who worked in a bakery. He told me he chose her over me because she made her own money, attracting him to her independence. At that moment something went off in my head. I felt like money would be the key factor that brought me happiness and companionship, so I went after it full fledge. Once I saw the attention it got me, I was hooked!

What is your message to teens that think living in the fast lane is cool?

Take a look at my life. Serving time in prison is certainly not cool! Regardless of how smart you think you are or what you think you can get away with, in the end crime will always catch up to you!

For the past 6 1/2 years I've raised my two children from a prison visiting room. I missed out on their birthdays, graduations and all the major holidays. I would give back every dollar I ever made to regain the time I lost with them.

My experience has taught me that nothing is ever worth losing your freedom. Therefore, avoid crime at all cost!


Jamila T. Davis, born and raised in Jamaica Queens, New York, is a motivational speaker, prison reform activist and the author of several books geared to empower the young and the old. She is also a co-founder of WomenOverIncarcerated.org, an advocacy group created to shed light on the lengthy sentences of non-violent, female federal offenders and rally for sentencing reform.

As a former Hip Hop Music & Professional Sports Celebrity Advisor and real estate investor, Davis is no stranger to triumphs and defeats. From a self-made millionaire at age 25, her life took a tragic twist. Today she’s known as federal prisoner #59253-053, sentenced to 12 1/2 years for bank fraud.
From behind bars, Davis embarked on an intense journey of inner healing and restoration. Documenting her findings, she created the “Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series,” which has helped to transform the lives of female offenders across the country.

Discovering her purpose while incarcerated, and encountering injustices within her own case, Jamila T. Davis developed “The High Price I Had To Pay” Book Series, creating a platform for women serving decade plus sentences for non-violent crimes to tell their stories. The success of the series led to the formation of WomenOverIncarcerated.org.

Despite her current obstacles, Davis is committed to paying her way forward and transforming lives through her literary work. From behind bars, she’s making a difference!


Connect with Jamila:
www.jamiladavis.com
Website: www.voicesbooks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjamilatdavis
Twitter: @jamilatdavis
Instagram: jamilatdavis
Email address:jamiladavis06811@gmail.com



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author Mariposa Urbana

Please join me in welcoming author Mariposa Urbana to Conversations today! Mariposa is here to talk about her new novel, Jane of All Trades. So, check out the cover and blurbbelow. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Mariposa Charles!

Lisa ~
_____________________________________________

Jane of All Trades

To all of her friends Kat is no different than any other woman. She’s a hardworking business woman always on the grind and occasionally she manages to squeeze in a relationship. But there is also a different and much darker side to the seemingly innocent Kat. She has a seemingly unbreakable tie to the drug kingpin Lupe who runs her city with an iron fist. With each step she tries to take forward and away from him and the lifestyle he lives, she gets sucked in deeper. Balancing this double life gets even more difficult when she meets Angel. The two bump into each other at an amusement park and suddenly Kat is seeing life through new eyes. She falls in love fast and hard. Being with him pushes her to want to walk away from it all for good and start over. She doesn’t get far before the streets are knocking on her front door reminding her of who she truly is. Trying to continue her normal life and hide Lupe from Angel and the rest of the world proves to be a bit too much for the orphaned Kat. All things past and present come to light and Kat realizes she has to choose. What will she choose, Lupe and the game or herself?



Interview with Mariposa Urbana
 
How do you feel now that your second book is about to be released?

I’m so excited. And so nervous. I’m starting all over again in the literary world. A lot has changed with me since the release of my first, D&K.
 
Is your latest release a reflection of this transition in your life?

No not really. The next one will be trust me. But Jane of All Trades can kinda go with my whole restarting situation. I mean both Kat and I had to learn how to get out from our comfort zones and just learn how to let go and let it roll, you know?
 

Why do you think readers are going to love Jane of All Trades?

Personally I love it because for once the girl is running the show. Usually its always the man thats the boss. Other than that fact readers will love this because this book takes you on a roller coaster. You’re going to fall in love with some of the characters then in the next moment want to smack the hell out of them. Then you’re gonna cry with/for Kat. But in the next chapter you’re going to be laughing over something stupid she says or does. All around its just different.
 

Would you say this upcoming release is more street than D&K?

I would like to think so. When I was finishing up Jane of All Trades I was in a new environment where I definitely learned some new things that completely shattered that cute little safe box I’ve been in my whole life. So some of that is reflected, especially with Kat’s character. I feel like my main character is way more vicious in this one.
 

Now I’m intrigued. What was it about this past year that has seemed to push you to go so hard now?

Umm besides walking in on my “husband” and another woman, or working in a strip club? Ha-ha. But honestly I really do take all of my fears, frustrations, and heartbreaks and pour them into my writing. That’s where the anger and pain came from in my new character’s life. So with this one I will say that I did pour a little of my situation into our main character just in the sense that its like just like me, we want to just move on and be happy and worry free but at the end of the day you have to wake up and realize that its either go hard or you don’t eat. So love, friendships and things like that kinda get pushed to the back burner so you can focus on your hustle. For me it was like a mantra, I just kept reminding myself it was just me and my daughter. Providing for us was all me now.
 

Wow! It seems like you have been through a lot. Strip club huh? What was that all about?

Read the next one and see, ha-ha.
 

Okay, okay. Well what can readers be looking forward to from you from here on out?

Now that I’m at a point where I can relax a little bit more I am going to be way more active online and reaching out a lot more. I’m gonna get back to “Mariposa the Fiction Vixen” as I used to call myself. Back to blogging, doing short erotic stories for my blog, book signings and just being more present. I want people to know I’m here and hungrier than ever. I’m on a mission to make it to the top of that best sellers list. But in the mean time you can link up with me on Facebook or Instagram!




Mariposa is an urban fiction author who often refers to herself as the mistress of the pen. She has had a passion for writing since she could first pick up a pen and began writing poems and short stories at the age of nine. Once she began to take writing, seriously, she ‘became a new woman’ and the persona Mariposa Urbana was born. She uses writing and her alter ego to express her new found challenges as a single mother. “Its like Mariposa says all the things that Teshia was afraid to. When I’m her I can say what I want when I want and I don’t care who likes it. It’s liberating!” She chose the pen name Mariposa Urbana because just like an actual butterfly regardless of its surroundings a butterfly is still a butterfly, it doesn’t change.

Connect with Mariposa:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MariposaFiction
Instagram: MariposaUrbana
Email: MariposaFiction@gmail.com
Blog: marithebutterfly.blogspot.com



Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Conversations: #author JoAnne Myers

Please join me in welcoming author, and painter, JoAnne Myers to Conversations today! JoAnne is here to talk about her mystery novel, Murder Most Foul! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! Plus, she's offered to share with us her insights into writing mysteries. Thank you JoAnne!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

Hello and thank you for having me today. I will be awarding two lucky people who comment each a paperback or PDF of their choice of one of my books. The choices are: Murder Most Foul, Wicked Intentions, Twisted Love, The Crime of the Century, Flagitious, Loves, Myths, and Monsters, or Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between.

Author Note:  Murder Most Foul is in the process of being transformed into a screenplay, so that I may offer it to production companies.


Writing Mystery - by JoAnne Myers 

    Before writing a word, take some time to jot down key story points. As you're writing, the story will want to take on a life of its own. Having a handy reference of key points will help keep your story on track and you from pulling your hair out. A list of key points is also helpful when outlining the story plot. You may very well find that the story begins to unfold as you're writing down the key points. If this happens...let it! Write down any ideas or details that come to you, they'll come in handy later.
Some key points to consider are; what is the mystery? This is the underlying theme to the entire story so be as in-depth as possible (has there been a murder or a theft or a kidnapping? If so, how and where was it committed?).
    Hunt for the culprit. Every good story has at least one antagonist, but what steps must the hero or heroine take to find him/her? How will the villain evade the hero? How is the mystery solved? In mystery writing there are a lot of twists and turns. Write down your initial thoughts for plot twists, red herrings to throw the readers off the trail of the true villain, and of course the final stages of how the good guy will prevail...or does he? You need to decide whether or not the hero or the villain wins in the end. Many hero’s die trying to solve their case. Many are involved in physical altercations with other characters. You must decide how many altercations, the number of characters involved, and what weapons if any are used. It is not a good idea to only engage your characters with fist fighting. Throw in some knives, chains, falling from windows, or my favorite, a poisoning, and other nasty assaults.
    Every great story has well rounded characters. We read fiction because we want to be entertained and develop a connection with the characters. Outlining items such as personality traits, physical features, and quirks can help bring your characters to life; a speech impediment, or limp, or a nervous twitch.
    For the Protagonist, decide the name, age, where does he/she live, does he/she have a family or pets, what is their driving goal for taking on this particular case? Is the hero a police officer, a person sworn to honesty, pride, and valor. Or is the good guy a private detective being paid to find a certain someone. Or your main character could be a parent or sibling searching for a missing loved one.
    For the Antagonist, decide the name, age, where does he/she live, is there an underlying reason for being the antagonist? Perhaps this person is a career criminal. On the other hand, maybe he/she is a good person that suffered an unjust and turned to crime out of bitterness and despair.
    Then you have your support characters, who are the color of the story. They provide depth to the story whether good or bad. A support character could be as simple as a loud mouth hot dog vendor standing on a street corner or as in-depth as the villain's partner in crime. In writing a mystery story, support characters can take on a life of their own with the reader, so make them interesting. Just because they are labeled support characters does not mean they are any less important than the main characters.
    Next is the location of the story. When and where is the story set? These two key elements are what bring your story to life. Mystery story writing is a broad genre and could be set in any time period and in any place. When working with actual locations it is a good idea to do research on the location first. Readers want to feel as though they are there with the characters, so being able to accurately describe a location is vital. Time periods are no exception. If the story is set in 1940's New Orleans, the reader will want to see their surroundings, not just be told the story is taking place in a speakeasy or church. Be descriptive!
    A mystery story is not a story without a solid well thought out plot. Some things to consider when developing the story plot: What is the driving force of the mystery? To solve a murder, or rescue a kidnap victim? What does the villain do to thwart the hero? Does the villain get his goons on the hero? Is the hero being set up by the villain and now he is being hunted by police. What other obstacles get in the way of solving the mystery?
    One of the most important elements of writing a mystery story is suspense. Giving away too much too soon will bore the reader. It is best if the suspense is sprinkled throughout the story; bring the mystery to light within the first few chapters, then as the story progresses add a clue here and there without revealing the outcome until the final chapter. Do not be afraid to add a "red herring" or false clue, within the stories context. Readers love nothing better than to think they have everything figured out only to find in the end they were mistaken the entire time.
    The final few chapters of the story should hold the climax of the conflict and resolution between the hero and villain, including how all of the clues scattered throughout the story cumulatively solves the mystery. A good conclusion gives the reader a sense of closure in finding out how the hero solved the mystery. Remember that not all mysteries have to be completely solved or have a "happy" ending. If you are writing a series of stories, the villain may get away at the end of story #1 with the hero using clues from story #1 to track down the villain in story #2. In mystery story writing, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

__________________________________________

MURDER MOST FOUL

When two dismembered torsos wash up on the banks of the local river in the small industrial town of Pleasant Valley, residents are horrified. Between contradicting statements, police ineptitude, lust, lies, manipulation, incest, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Disciples, crooked cops, and a botched crime scene, everyone becomes a suspect.

The young beautiful Jackie Reeves, a registered nurse, believes the killer is a man from her past. She contacts the dangerously handsome FBI Agent Walker Harmon. An arrest is made, but Harmon and Jackie believe an innocent man is being railroaded by local cops. How far will these lover’s go to solve this heinous crime before anymore killings. Determined to find the truth, Agent Harmon and Jackie are forced to run a gauntlet of deep trouble and turmoil, which marks them for death.




Excerpt from Murder Most Foul by JoAnne Myers

Setting:  Inside the office of Police Chief Malcolm Barstow

Undaunted and short on patience, the agent stared at the fat jerk sitting before him gleefully puffing on a cigar, most likely homegrown in Detroit, Michigan, not Cuba. “I attend the Kingdom Hall on occasion,” he said.

 “Well most of us like Malloy. He's helped rid this town of criminals. He was a volunteer firefighter, and his wife cooks for the annual policeman's ball. Hell, Malloy even coached volleyball for the kids when he wuz younger. Now a person who does that ain't all bad,” the chief declared.

Barstow's sudden burst of energy to safeguard his fishy friend, picqued Harmon's interest. What had Malloy done? He decided he wasn't leaving until he had the full, sordid story.
“So you and Malloy are pals, and he did something he couldn't get out of, and you tried to salvage his job, but the big shots said, ‘No!' Is that how it went?” Harmon asked.
“Yeah, Malloy did somethin’ real stupid.”

“I'm listening,” Harmon replied.

“The rumors of Malloy allowin' his friends and family members to snoop through the cornfield, and photograph the area after the victims were removed, was true. Everyone is curious about this crime. Nothin' this big ever happened in this town before, and the pictures were for souvenirs, you know. Then after the limbs were removed, he brought in a back hoe, and tore up the whole damned crime scene, involving Thomas.” The chief growled in disgust.

“Yeah, that was stupid,” Harmon said. “So Malloy's unethical conduct was the reason the disciplinary board was in session?”

“Yep, they made their decision this mornin',” the chief said. “He's out. There was nothin' I could do for him.”

“You'd think a cop with over twenty years’ experience would demonstrate better reasoning then destroy evidence. Unless he's covering his own tracks,” Harmon said realizing what he was implying. “Do you believe Malloy committed the murders?”

“Now, I didn't say that. A lot of officers were on this case, so a lot of mistakes happened. We never dealt with this type crime before. Many might have made the same mistakes Malloy did.”

Dismissing the chief's excuses for Malloy's incompetence, Harmon demanded an answer. He was tired of being duped by the local cops and wanted the truth, and wanted it now. Standing and placing both palms on the chief's shiny desk, the agent looked the chief square in his squinty brown eyes and said, “Cough it up, Chief! There's more to it then that. If there were numerous mistakes made by officers other then Malloy, why was he the only one kicked off the force? Now spit it out! What the hell did Malloy do?”

“All right, all right!” the chief whined, “Malloy screwed the dead girl three weeks before she was killed–and got caught!”

The Agent was speechless. Walking to the window overlooking Main Street, he stared vacantly. Hadn't one of our witnesses suggested something like that? But–with the crisp wind howling, the citizens dining in the local cafés, others window shopping for Christmas or starting their shift at the town's businesses–this seems unreal. How can such a seemingly sweet country town be so full of bad apples, savage murders, police misconduct and corruption, evidence tampering? This town is certainly no Mayberry, thought Harmon.



I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint.

When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams.


My original canvas paintings, can be found at: booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com

Other books by JoAnne:
"WICKED INTENTIONS" a paranormal/mystery anthology
"LOVES', MYTHS' AND MONSTERS'," a fantasy anthology
"THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY," a biography true-crime
“POEMS ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN”
"TWISTED LOVE," a true-crime anthology
“FLAGITIOUS,”  a crime/mystery anthology

Contact JoAnne:
Email: joannemyers@frontier.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/joannemyers
Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/authorpage.joannemyers
Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne
http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/

JoAnne’s Blogs:
Jo Anne’s Postings: https://joannemyers.wordpress.com/
Jo Anne’s Blog: http://joannemyers.blogspot.com/
Books and Paintings by JoAnne Blog: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/page2
JoAnne’s WordPress Blog:
http://joannemyerswordpressblog.wordpress.com/



Monday, February 23, 2015

On Conversations: #bestselling #author Debra Salonen

Please join me in welcoming bestselling author, Debra Salonen to Conversations today! Debra is here to talk about her new Big Sky Mavericks novel, Montana Maverick! To celebrate, she'll pick one commenter to win a $5 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is answer her question found in her very informative and entertaining guest post. Thank you Debra!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

Support your local tropes
by Debra Salonen

A year ago I'd never heard the word: tropes.

At RWA in July, the word was everywhere. There were walking/talking tropes posing for pictures. (Mostly sexy cowboys.)
 

So, please, just what is a trope?

According to Merriam-Webster:
 

trope
noun \ˈtrōp\: a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect
Uh....huh. It's all clear as mud now. Thanks.

So, let's try the Urban Dictionary:

"Despite the erroneous definitions already published here, TROPE on the interwebs really refers to an often overused plot device. It can also be described as another variation on the same theme. TV shows, movies, comics, games, anime', & books are full of tropes & many rabid fan-sites now name & track said tropes with a self-explanatory title for each one."
 

Of course. Why didn't I think of that?

The tropes I was seeing at conference wore cowboy boots, but I've also heard people talking about the sexy, single billionaire trope, ('cause there are so many of them walking around), the lonely, misunderstood beta hero trope, the friends-to-lovers trope, the second-chance-at-love trope...you get the picture.

Perhaps the reason I'm oblivious to tropes is that I can't go into a book planning to create a trope-worthy performance. At one point in Montana Maverick (my new release), I was aware of not wanting this plot to hinge on a second-chance-at-love story angle because this was a "trope" I'd used in the first book of the series. But I knew my hero and heroine were acquainted. They even admired each other from opposite sides of the bargaining table. The media tried to squeeze them into a trope: enemies-to-lovers or opposites-attract, but that wasn't them. They were real people with real lives; they supported causes that were important to them. Their causes were oppositional. This may have kept them from acting on any attraction they felt toward each other back in the day, but it's not enough to keep them apart now--other obstacles play that role.

Is there a trope for that? Maybe...Adults-Behaving-Normally? Why do I think that will never catch on as a trope? But, hopefully, my readers will understand and appreciate that some characters don't need a trope to be memorable.
 

MONTANA MAVERICK is releasing today. New release price is just 99¢ for a short time. To celebrate, I'll pick one commenter to send a $5 Amazon gift card. Do you have an opinion on tropes? Do they exist, or do they, as one commenter suggested, "...exist only in the eye of the publicist." ;-)

May the tropes be with you,

Deb

MONTANA MAVERICK
Big Sky Mavericks Book 4

Be careful what you wish for-

Meg Zabrinski, successful scientist, well-known environmental advocate, and tenured professor is as independent as they come in Montana. She doesn’t need a man in her life, but she does want to have a baby. She retreats to her isolated mountain cabin to write and ponder her future when Henry Firestone–an old rival and former secret crush from her distant past–drops out of the sky on Christmas Eve with three young children and a baby. Meg doesn’t believe in cosmic signs, but even she realizes she’d be crazy not to consider all her options.

The sparks that have always smoldered between them ignite a mutual passion, but when Henry Firestone makes it clear he’s done having children, Meg is forced to accept that falling in love with Henry and his ready-made family would require her to abandon her dream.  Can this “Lone Wolf” assimilate into a new pack, or is this Big Sky Maverick meant to be alone?





Find Debra Salonen: Amazon / Facebook / Twitter / Website / Blog

Winner of Romantic Times Reviewer's Career Achievement "Series Storyteller of the Year" award in 2006, Debra Salonen's 26 titles for Harlequin Publishing have sold more than 2.3 million copies, worldwide.

A six-time nominee for RT's Best Superromance of the Year award, UNTIL HE MET RACHEL (May 2010), took home that honor with Debra's most unlikely hero and never-say-die heroine.

Montana comes alive with bold heroes and modern heroines in Debra's Big Sky Mavericks series from Tule Publishing (check them out on Goodreads):
 

MONTANA COWGIRL - "Cowgirl, you can go home--and love--again."
MONTANA COWBOY - "He's nobody's cowboy until his new neighbor rocks his world."
MONTANA DARLING - "Her land. His tent. And this is Montana, where property disputes can lead to a range war...or love."
MONTANA MAVERICK - "A lone wolf PhD rescues a rancher--and gains a life."
HER FOREVER GIFT (a FREE holiday novella) - "The system failed him, but she never would."


Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Conversations: #author Darlene Gardner

Please join me in welcoming multi-talented author Darlene Gardner to Conversations today! Darlene is here to talk about her paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up, Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! And right now, the boxed set is FREE! Totally FREE. No cost. At all. Plus, Darlene has a great post to share with us about being cursed by a psychic! Thank you Darlene!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

Cursed by a Psychic - by Darlene Gardner

I was once cursed by a psychic. A really cranky psychic. She flung negative energy my way, wishing me enduring unhappiness.

My offense? I agreed to give a co-worker my opinion about whether she was legit before he agreed to write a feature story about her. At the time, we both worked for a daily newspaper in South Carolina.

I walked into the psychic’s dark, incense-filled room at one of the happiest times of my life. I was in love, living in beautiful Charleston and had just notched a playoff win for an adult-league tennis team. I was even still sweating lightly and dressed in my tennis clothes.

The psychic told me I was deeply troubled. She said the only way things would turn around was if she lit candles for me. And, oh yeah. The candle lighting would cost another $100.

I didn’t pay to have flames burn away my troubles, and my co-worker didn’t write the story. When she found out why I had entered her psychic lair, she became livid and put a curse on me.

I didn’t shake in my tennis shoes. I didn’t beg her to reconsider. I didn’t even lose any sleep.

Because the curse thrilled me, probably because authors are wired different than other people. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, is fodder for a book.

I wasn’t even writing fiction full time yet, but I knew that some day I’d write a book where I’d call upon that experience. And now I have. Psychics play prominently in Dead Ringers, my paranormal mystery serial. One psychic even gives readings.

A slew of other mysterious things are going on in Dead Ringers, not the least of which is body switching. But the memory of the psychic who issued that long-ago curse is what spurred me to write the book. Speaking of the curse, you’re probably wondering if it worked.

Uh, no. Not unless curses kick in after more than twenty years of a happy life.

If you want to help me keep fighting the curse, download a copy of the first Dead Ringers boxed set. Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3 is FREE wherever eBooks are sold.

I can't imagine the psychic would want you to read it.

__________________________________________

DEAD RINGERS: Volumes 1-3

A paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up. All nine 25,000-word volumes now available individually and in boxed sets!

Dead Ringers 1: ILLUSION
Jade Greene's memories of the two days she went missing are slowly returning, but they involve a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff of sanity.

Dead Ringers 2: INVERTIGO
Max Harper insists Jade's best chance to find out why she remembers so little of her abduction is to team up with him. But can she trust him?

Dead Ringers 3: THE SPIDER
Someone in Midway Beach isn't who they seem and unless Jade and Max can figure out what's going on, they could become the next victims.



Excerpt from Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3 by Darlene Gardner

CHAPTER ONE
Four months ago

When the police find me, I’m stumbling out of a deserted carnival. The place is boarded up for the season, awaiting the fresh swarms of tourists who descend on Midway Beach every summer like Alfred Hitchcock’s birds.

I trip on a crack in the pavement and pitch forward onto my knees. The sound of laughter resonates in my ears and the back of my head throbs. I reach up to touch my skull, half-expecting my hand to come away bloody, but the wound’s nothing more than a bump.

The dizzying spin of police lights and the accompanying thud of footsteps against the frosty ground intensify my headache. I wrap my arms around myself to try to stop my shivers. It may be North Carolina, but even southern beach towns feel the chill in February.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” A flashlight shines in my eyes before angling back to the ground as the cop bends down to put a hand on my shoulder. The voice is much softer as he takes in my state. “Are you all right?”

It’s a fight to force the words past my chattering teeth. “H-h-how did I get here?”

Another beam of light hits me in the face as a second, shorter cop jogs up behind the first. “Hey, Wainwright? Isn’t that the Greene girl?”

Why would a Midway Beach cop know who I am? The answer slowly penetrates my fuzzy brain. My stepfather’s a felon now, and these must be the two cops who came to the house asking questions about him. The surge of anger is preferable to the headache, but only barely.

“Yeah, it is,” Wainwright says. He’s so ripped he looks like he’s wearing a muscle suit. He loops a strong arm under my shoulder and helps me to my feet. The ground spins, but he doesn’t let me fall. “Your name’s Jade, right? What are you doing here, Jade?”

“I was walking to Becky’s house.” I’d set out for my best friend’s house at dusk, but judging by the darkness shrouding our surroundings it seems much later than that now. “And then I was here.”

A terrible realization sweeps over me. I’m missing time. It’s the sort of thing that happens in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For all I know, there’s a pod Jade hiding in the carnival, waiting to invade our peaceful little town.

“What happened to me? Where have I been?” I ask the cops.

Wainwright peers over my head at his partner. “We better take her to the hospital. Looks like she has a whopper of a concussion.”

At the hospital, I discover things are worse than I thought. Much worse.

I haven’t just lost hours. I’ve been gone for days.



Darlene Gardner no longer spends her days waiting for an athlete to say something interesting. Nope. Now she makes up her own quotes and torments people. Fictional people. Promise.

Although leaving her life as a newspaper sports and feature writer behind for love and romance worked out pretty well, she's veering off in a haunting new direction with the Dead Ringers eBook serial, landing at a seaside carnival where evil lurks and nothing is as it seems.

Darlene has more than thirty books in print, from single-title romantic comedies to emotionally charged family dramas. Updated editions of her romcoms, as well as a couple romantic mysteries, are available for the eBook market.

 
Connect with Darlene:
Website -- www.darlenegardner.com
Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/DarleneGardnerBook
Twitter -- @DarleneGardner
Goodreads -- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/29623.Darlene_Gardner



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author M. Skye

Please welcome contemporary romance author M. Skye to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her new novel, Circle of Deception. So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know M. Skye!

Lisa ~
_____________________________________________


Circle of Deception

Megan Marie Cardoza, is a twenty- six-year-old Media CEO with a less than impressive personal life. When Meg’s best friend Emily returns to town, she, and Meg’s siblings shake things to the core prompting Meg to reveal her true feelings for her ex Alex, and give in to her needs she has been suppressing for six long years. After a steamy reconciliation between her and Alex, things seem to be falling back into place, until the past comes back to slap them in the face at their engagement party no less. With the arrival of Meg’s parents and the continued interference by Alex’s father, who hates Meg, secrets much deeper than they ever expected float to the surface threatening to rip Meg and Alex apart for good, with fatal results for some. When everything she thought she knew is in question, Meg must decide if the secrets are big enough to walk away for good.



Excerpt from CIRCLE OF DECEPTION by M. Skye

Surprises and Ambushes 

“One last glance,” Meg said to herself, as she looked over her appearance in the mirror.

“Come on here sis,” Gio said, winking at her. “You look smoking hot.”

“You don’t think it’s too much?”

“You look great, stop worrying,” he grabbed her hand.

One reassuring look from Gio, and the nervousness in her bright hazel eyes dissolved and was replaced with a brilliant smile. She wasn’t sure why she was anxious, but the way everyone had been acting since they left the store told her that something was going on. Maybe a blind date or something, she thought. With her hand latched to Gio’s, she walked the stairs.

She was dressed in her red dress, looking radiant. Gio always had a way of shattering her nerves and then building her up with killer confidence. The fact that he was painfully honest let her know that he meant what he said about her appearance. When they made it to the front room, Emily was sitting, waiting for them in a beautiful black halter-top dress looking simply amazing.

“You look stunning,” Emily looked over Meg’s appearance.

Meg’s hair was now in deep spirals and pinned into a loose up-do that accented her dress and jewelry. The smile she shot Emily after the compliment put her conflicted heart at ease as she thought about the details of the evening that they left out.

“You dolls ready?” Gio asked, extending his arms out to both women.

“We sure are,” Meg smiled brightly. “Where are we eating tonight?” Meg asked,

once they headed to the restaurant. “La Bella,” Gio answered quickly.

“I love that place, they have the best truffles.” “We knew you would,” he replied and chuckled.

“Are Lele and Maddie already there?” Emily asked knowingly.

“Yes, they have arrived,” Gio supplied, winking at her through the rearview mirror.

When Meg saw the looks exchanged between Gio and Emily, her suspicions were confirmed. “You guys know you’re not fooling me.”

“What are you talking about?” Gio asked innocently.

“I know you’re setting me up.”

“Why on earth would you think such a thing?” Emily asked, feigning shock.

“The clothes for one.”

“Oh honey, you really did need new clothes, date or not,” Gio said quickly.

“Giovanni Ivan Valenzio, you know I can smell bullshit a mile away, now tell me what you’re up to.”

“Oh, okay you got me, I have Brad Pitt waiting for you at the restaurant,” he said, and began to laugh hysterically.

“You know you can be such a cunt,” she flashed him a grin.

“And you can be such a pain in the ass,” he said. “We are just going to enjoy each other.”

Emily, who was just watching the exchange, smiled when she saw Gio’s game face. Only he could go blow for blow with Meg and keep up pretenses. She had to admit, he had nerves of steel.

When they pulled up at the restaurant, the valet opened the doors for the women, and Gio quickly tossed him the keys. Once out of the car, Gio again extended his arms to the girls and led them inside.

“Do you have reservations?” the hostess asked as they approached the front podium.

“We should already have a party waiting for us under the name of Hanover,” Emily replied and began to look around.

“Hanover, which Hanover?” Meg asked warily. “Your sister and Matthew of course,”  Gio

interrupted before Emily could answer.

Without being fully convinced, Meg just accepted his answer and walked towards the dining area after the hostess. When they arrived at the table, she noticed Aiden there and got a bad feeling about the evening.

All the thoughts running through her mind disappeared when she saw the warm, inviting   smile of her long-lost friend. Sure she had been around Matthew, because he was married to her sister, but seeing the smile from Aiden gave her a sense of reassurance. She thought after the breakup with Alex, he might not see her as a friend anymore.

They greeted everyone and quickly took their seats. Emily gladly took a seat next to Aiden, and Gio next to Maddie and her boyfriend, Sean. With everyone else seated, this left Meg sitting next to an empty chair on the end. Seeing all of her old friends and family in one place made her feel good, but it also made her think about Alex and the way it ended between them. She couldn’t believe how wrong she had been about him.

While Meg engaged in conversation with Aiden and Emily, Gio took the opportunity to ask Maddie about Alex’s whereabouts. “Where is he?”

“He stepped off for an important call, he should be back shortly.”

“Does he know she is here?”

“Not a clue,” she replied and smiled.

Meg found herself staring at Aiden while engaged in conversation. He looked so much like Alex it wasn’t funny. While he was still talking, she drifted off looking over at the empty seat, secretly wishing that Alex was sitting beside her. Despite what happened between them, she still thought about him all the time. She wasn’t sure she would ever stop. When Aiden noticed her looking at the chair, he stopped talking and smiled back at Emily.

“I guess we were right, she does miss him.” “What about him, do you think he misses her?”

He smiled at her question. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes. Now tell me,” she insisted.

“He still has the ring,” Aiden said gleefully. “Oh my god!” Emily screamed, drawing the attention of everyone at the table. They were all so distracted by Emily’s outburst that no one noticed Alex heading in their direction.

“Hey, I’m going to run to the ladies room,” Meg said to Aiden and Emily and began to get out of her seat.

When she stood, she bumped into a waiter standing behind her and sent the tray he was holding flying out of his hand. When she began to tumble over, she felt a set of strong arms grab her waist and pull her close. The loud crash startled everyone at the table, but was forgotten when they saw who was holding Meg’s back against his chest.

“I’m so sorry sir,” Meg said to the waiter, before turning around to thank the man who kept her from falling.

“It’s fine. I should have been more careful. I’m just glad I wasn’t carrying anything on the tray.”

When Meg saw the group staring at her with amused expressions, she suddenly remembered the strong set of arms clasped tightly around her waist. When she shifted her weight, he slowly released her from his grasp and she felt a surprising sense of deprivation. Even though she hadn’t seen his face, something about this polite stranger felt familiar. As she slowly turned to face him, she heard several loud gasps from the table of onlookers. When she discovered the identity of her rescuer, she felt her knees go weak, and he reached for her once more.

“Hello, Angel Face,” he said sweetly, while holding her up.

“Alex…” she gasped quietly, still in shock.




Interview with M. Skye

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly poems and short stories. I only recently started to dabble in full-length novels. I love to read, so I was sitting reading a book from one of my favorite authors, and I thought, hey, I can do this. Two months later, I had Circle of Deception, and I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s the story behind the title of your book?


The title lets you know right off that the book will be full of secrets and dramatic events. I wanted to sell the belief that at some point, every character in the book has a secret to be told. Some are insignificant, and some are too large to contain, thus making the whole circle of friends deceptive to a certain extent.

How do you get to know your characters?


My characters and I are one in the same in some ways. The all display some semblance of my snappy personality, but they also have the ability to make you fall in love with their sincerity. I’m a big fan of evolution so you will see growth in my characters as the books go on. Even the most unfortunate of characters have their turning points.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people? Who?


In a way, the characters are like many of my friends and family all wrapped up in one. For instance, the main characters, Meg and Alex, are strong, stubborn, and passionate much like a couple I’ve known for quite a while. Their love gets them through some pretty dark times in the book.
 
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.


There were so many to choose from, but I would have to say, the scene towards the end where Bianca comes clean about everything past, present, and her plans for the future. In that scene, we get to see how deep Alex and Meg’s connection really is, and how selfless they both are when It comes to protecting their daughter. It gives you so much to smile about in a time of tragedy.

Who are your favorite authors?


I love Eric Jerome Dickey & Brenda Jackson

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?


I hate unresolved storylines and predictability. With each of my projects, you can expect a dramatic twist, and if it is not resolved then, you can believe there will be a sequel.


Do you have a routine for writing?


My routine is a bit unorthodox. I work crazy hours, and when I get off of work, it’s like I get a second wind. When I get home, I toss in my headphones with a nice R&B playlist and write until I fall asleep. I have been averaging a chapter every two days or so.

Where’s home for you? 


The beautiful state of Texas, Dallas, to be Exact. I love it here, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
 
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?


Oh goodness, I’m sleeping! No, really, I’m spending time with my husband and family or either at work. My life is hectic sometimes, but I love it!

What are you working on now?


I have been writing a new book every other month. I finished the sequel to Circle of Deception, and a new series called Mixing business and pleasure, the first book of that one is published as well. Like Circle of Deception, it has all the drama and steamy encounters you can stand with an exciting plot and main characters with very strong personalities. I have tons of projects in the works that I’m very excited about.


Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, but I’ve only recently gotten into doing it in a professional sense. As a writer, I tend to throw so much of my quirky personality into my characters. My stories are all fictional, of course, but every story has some parts of things that have actually happened in my life. I love to test the waters in my writing. Whether it’s the crazy things they say or the racy romantic encounters, I like to push it to the edge to leave my readers wanting more. In my books or my projects, as I like to call them, I like to show a strong sense of family and togetherness, for the most part. I just throw in what I can to make it interesting and unforgettable.


Find the author:
Website: http://www.iammskye.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IamMSkye
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammskye?ref=hl
Instagram: http://instagram.com/i_am_mskye/
Email: topics@piknflameexp.com

Good Reads Review

This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program where the site owner receives payment/credit for books sold by clicking through to Amazon. Clicking on the slideshow or carousel will bring you directly to Amazon.