Required Reading: Yes, you need to read these books.

required-reading

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-36-11Philadelphia Fire: a novel by John Edgar Wideman

Anyone who grew up in Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s remembers the MOVE group. John Edgar Wideman’s  novel, Philadelphia Fire, was inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE house in West Philadelphia that killed eleven people and razed an entire neighbourhood, destroying sixty houses. What surprises me is that no one outside of the Philadelphia area seems to even know about this, but it’s left an indelible mark on the city.

So what is Philadelphia Fire about? From the blurb: Cudjoe, a writer and exile who returns to his old neighborhood after spending a decade fleeing from his past, and his search for the lone survivor of the fire — a young boy who was seen running from the flames.

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In case you’re wondering who is the little boy running from the flames, the character is based on Birdie Africa, who died in 2013. He was the lone child survivor of the bombing and spent years trying to build a new life for himself. He was only 41 when he died.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-56-26Another book that is definitely required reading is Kindred by Octave E. Butler. This is a brilliant take on time travel/speculative fiction with Dana, a modern-day black woman, finding herself time and time again being snatched from her home in California and transported back to the antebellum South to save the life of a white plantation owner’s son. Each time, she is stuck there longer and longer and more dangerous and Dana finds herself drawn to the slave quarters and wondering if she will ever be able to return to the present, or if her life will end before it’s even properly begun.

I love Octavia Butler’s novels. She was an amazing writer and her stories speak to the human experience, of the ways humans work against each other, and are as relevant today as when she first wrote them.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-20-58-45Kim McLarin‘s Meeting of the Waters is set in the tense months following the 1992 LA riots. What happens when Porter Stockman, a white journalist covering the trials of police officers who beat Rodney King, finds himself in danger in the midst of the riots and black journalist Lenora Page saves his life. Afterwards, he tries to find her, but she’s disappeared into thin air. Back in Philadelphia, he ends up finding Lenora right under his nose in the offices of the newspaper where he works. What starts as a wary friendship becomes a turbulent relationship, with Lenora constantly second-guessing Porter and Porter not understanding Lenora’s uncertainty and resenting that she is not always open with him or others about their relationship and that he is always on the defensive.

Just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 2001.

Haven’t read any of these? Do yourself a favour and one-click ASAP.

 

Blog Tour: Pure Fantasy by M. Eror

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(¯`v´¯) Blog Tour

`*.¸.*´ M.Eror

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨) Pure Fantasy

(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.#SASSAuthor

#kindleunlimited

 

Lana is convinced that she lives in perfect harmony with her own carefully devised plan. And everything in her life seems to go as she intends it. A new city. A new job. New acquaintances. And most importantly: life without a man!

One autumn afternoon a dark-haired man enters her small shop. His arrogant demeanor and provoking character are more than irritating. She is perfectly aware that her reactions to Mr. Arrogant undermine her most important rule. Never mind! She’ll never see him again.

Will he disrupt her plan?

m eror cover

Excerpt

The shop door opens and I snap out of my thoughts. A dark-haired man comes in. His knee-length winter coat emphasizes his muscular figure, and his attitude and appearance suddenly dominate the entire space. Our eyes meet. He’s looking at me intensely, penetratingly, and for far too long.

I manage to regain my senses and greet him with a cut-and-dried salesperson’s greeting: “Hello. How may I help you?” He nods an acknowledgement, and only then looks away, proceeding in huge steps towards the shelves of men’s shoes, where he reaches out his hand. He takes a brown, high-top shoe which balances perfectly between the elegant, and casual style. It’s one of the latest models, which arrived in the shop several days ago, and my personal favourite.

Hmm… A nice choice.

I shake my head, feeling awkward as I realise that I’m following his every move. Moreover, I approve of his selection. I keep my hands busy by pointlessly replacing trinkets on my counter, and then smoothing out an already perfectly stacked heap of business cards.

“Where can I find this same model, only in black?” He asks me in a deep voice, without a trace of kindness. His indescribably masculine voice causes an unpleasantly-pleasant shudder in the lower part of my back. I raise my head and my eyes meet his. His dark irises rivet mine. We’re staring at each other, again for too long. I feel my dormant insides waking, reacting to him. My breathing is shallow, my heart beating fast.

The curiosity in his eyes is replaced by a raw male arrogance which says unequivocally: Another notch on the list of conquests! I detest male arrogance. It takes me a few moments to regain my composure, then I blink in confusion.

“So? Cat got your tongue?” He breaks the silence as he goes on watching me, arrogant and smug.

“Excuse me?”

“The shoe?” He waves the shoe right in front of my nose, reminding me of the question he asked a little while ago.

I take a deep breath, and purse my lips angrily at his impertinent act, before concentrating and answering coldly. “Over there, the same model is on display in black.”

“I wouldn’t have asked you if that were the case.” He goes on in his impertinent, arrogant style.

I don’t understand his behaviour, but I have no wish to argue. I stop in front of the shelf and look over the models. I frown because I do not succeed in finding what I’m looking for. I work alone, and I don’t understand what could have happened to the shoe. I’m certain that I didn’t move it, and I know for sure that it was there. I turn around the shop confusedly. And lo and behold! The shoe that Mr. Arrogant’s looking for sits among the women’s discounted sandals. I am not a frowner by nature, so I smile and bring him what he’s asked for, forgetting his ungallant behaviour.

I give him the shoe and raise my eyes. My smile freezes, I stop breathing, and my heart dances again to a quick rhythm when I meet his dark eyes. There’s no arrogance, he just examines me calmly. Blood is rushing through my veins, I feel like I’m burning, and all my nerve endings become terribly aware of his presence. He looks perfectly calm and controlled as he stares at me insistently, and without blinking. Then he looks down, lazily.

“That’s it. I mean, a suitable model. And colour. But not a suitable size.” He says, and the haughty smile returns to the corners of his lips.

Fed up with his manners, I snort. He laughs loudly, obviously amused by my reaction. Embarrassment overwhelms me, and I feel my cheeks burning. “So, what size do you need?” I ask curtly.

“Well, I need a 44.” He returns, imitating me. He smiles broadly. It seems that he is amusing himself at my expense. Nervously, I march to the back of the shop and find the required size.

“Here you are.” I say officially and hand him the right shoe.

He covers my fingers with his while taking the shoe from my hand. My skin burns. Strange, powerful vibrations shake my entire body. This accidental touch makes my heart beat madly, and my lungs wail for air. I take a deep breath, raise my eyes but remain breathless. He’s looking at me seductively. My reaction to him has not escaped his notice. It makes him so happy. That touch was no accident. The jerk! He did it on purpose!

I want to run away, as soon as possible, so I turn on my heel.

“I want to see the label with the product details.” He says.

I look at him over my shoulder, confused, then move to hand him the box, which he could easily have taken himself. I stand beside him patiently and wait as he reads very carefully.

“Is there a problem?” I ask.

“I’m just checking.”

“Checking what?”

“Whether they were made in China.” He says coldly, and then raises his eyes to mine.

Made in China? He thinks I sell fakes? What an asshole!

“We sell only Italian stuff.” I say sharply.

He smiles, his eyes fixed. “Oh, look at those claws. I hope you’re well paid.” He speaks in a voice which shows clearly that he doesn’t believe what I say.

He’s provoking me, goading me with his smile, his look, and with the way he addresses me. I count to ten, then frown, turning the box upside-down to show him the embossed label: Fatte in Italia.

“Made in Italy’s written on the box and inside the shoe as well.” I speak briskly.

He bends his head lightly, furrows his eyebrows and studies the inscription carefully, examining the letters devotedly and seriously. I lose patience because this seems to be going on for an age.

For God’s sake, it’s as if he were decoding hieroglyphics!

He shrugs, looks at me naively, and says more innocently: “I had to check, since I don’t speak Italian.”

He doesn’t… he doesn’t speak Italian? What a jerk!

 

Amazon US https://amzn.com/B01CYV21LS

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CYV21LS

 

Author Bio

* Pure Fantasy is my debut novel and it is dedicated to the victims of domestic violence; but I will quote one of my reviewers: “It addresses an issue faced by many women throughout the world, and does so in a positive way.”

** I celebrate friendship and crazy families, caring men, love and romance with a little bit of erotic scenes just to spice it all up.

There’s no sex scene in every chapter.

***So, if you like sweet romance novels I could be a writer for you 🙂

Self-published since August 2015.

I write under the pen name M.Eror (and no, there is no spelling error in my name).

 

Author Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/merorbooks/?fref=ts

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/M.-Eror/e/B0142C8FYO/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14222627.M_Eror

 

Hosted by SASS Promotions

https://www.facebook.com/SassifyYourself/

 

Spotlight: Shyla Colt

 

Coming soon from Shyla Colt

PRETTY HURTS

Coming 23 September

Pre-Order your copy now
http://smarturl.it/PrettyHurtsColt

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Blurb

Efia Bello knows firsthand how much Pretty Hurts. As a make-up artist and stylist, she’s seen the cruelty and unrealistic expectations of perfection required in the industry. When her hair begins to fall out and she discovers she has Alopecia Areata she’s forced to dig deep and find the beauty in herself. The last thing she expects to find during her struggle is love, but barber, Edgar Gilborn is a temptation she may not be able to resist.
When Edgar Gilborn agrees to open his Barbershop early to accommodate a woman with a hair crisis, the last thing he expects to walk in the door is a curvaceous dime piece who threatens to break his one-year dating drought. Healing from a broken engagement he’s focused on his business and family. Now he has his eyes set on a different prize.
Can he show her hair doesn’t matter, and the chemistry between them is worth exploring?

 

Watch the trailer!

About the Author

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Shyla Colt is the sassy international bestseller of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.

As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.

Connect with Shyla Colt online

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

 

What makes me one-click a book?

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 15.55.22A few days ago, someone asked me what makes me decide if I’ll one-click a book. I say one-click since I buy a lot of books online, but this could just as easily be spontaneously buying a book at a bricks-and-mortar bookstore. I probably spend way too much money on books. I won’t even say how much my monthly book budget is because, as a rule, I generally go over the budgeted amount. Whether it’s an ebook or a trade paperback, it’s always pretty much the same things that convince me this is a must-have book.

the cover

What do all of the above books have in common? Great covers. Yes, I am one of those people who judge books by their covers. If the cover looks tacky or amateurish, then I will move on. A beautifully designed cover is the fastest way to grab my attention. If it stops me from moving on to another title, then I’ll turn to a random page and see if the first paragraph I read speaks to me.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 16.49.38a good book description

Something snappy, something sexy, something romantic–all that matters is that it’s compelling. If the blurb sounds too passive or too preposterous or too vague, then I won’t one-click. I recently saw a new release that had a great cover but a god-awful description. I couldn’t figure out what the story was even about. It was really one of those “huh?!?” moments. I read the description three times and still couldn’t make understand what was the deal with the story.

advance reviews

Now, I don’t always rely on these, but I do tend to check if others have read and reviewed an ARC of a novel I think I’m interested in. I usually find a few on Goodreads or Riffle. If I like what I see, then my finger hits one-click in an instant. Mind you, I don’t always trust advance reviews–too many that gush over a novel might give me pause (unless I already know the writer’s work and know the gushing is warranted). If the reviews are vague, then I may wait a while until  a few more reviews pop up.

So any of those three things could make me one-click…and I do love filling up my Kindle or my tote bag with new books.

…and an off-topic shout out

Splendor ToteSpeaking of tote bags, I need to give a shout out to Obvious State. Just before I headed to the US, I ordered their “Splendor” tote, which features a gorgeous quote from John Keats. I had it shipped to my mother’s address in Philadelphia and was so happy to find it there waiting for me.

OMG. I.LOVE.THIS.BAG.

It’s gorgeous and it’s the perfect size for my MacBook Air, my Kindle, my wallet and my phone. There’s even enough room for a few more goodies. It has replaced my NaNoWriMo tote bag as my go-to bag. This tote bag with its lush print of flowers and sublime John Keats snippet–“LONE SPLENDOR HUNG ALOFT THE NIGHT”–has won my heart. I may have to order another one. 🙂

Cover Reveal: Life As We Know It by J.D. Hollyfield

 

Life as we know it

Life As We Know It by J.D. Hollyfield releases Fall 2016!
Add to your TBR here: http://bit.ly/2ald2nF

Life has not been easy for Penelope Summers. Specifically, the last month, when her high-profile boyfriend dumped her, her indecent exposure record surfaced, and her favorite thing in the world, tequila, failed her.

Good thing for Penelope, she has her best friend to pick her up, and take her on the vacation of a lifetime. A seven-day cruise that will change the direction of her downward spiral. But will that spiral shift in the direction Penelope needs? Or will it throw her into a bigger whirlwind of trouble?

With Reckless Abandon as her motto, tequila as her wingman, and a hot one-night stand as her much needed reward, will the tables finally turn for Penelope, or will life as she knows it continue to fail her?

Sometimes you just have to ride the wave of crazy to find out.

life as we know it.

 

About the Author

j.d. hollyfield
Creative designer, mother, wife, writer, part time supehero…

J.D. Hollyfield is a creative designer by day and superhero by night. When she is not trying to save the world one happy ending at a time, she enjoys the snuggles of her husband, son and three doxies. With her love for romance, and head full of book boyfriends, she was inspired to test her creative abilities and bring her own story to life.

Life in a Rut, Love not Included is her debut novel. J.D. Hollyfield lives in the Midwest, and is currently at work on blowing the minds of readers, with the additions to the Love not Included series, along with her charm, humor and HEA’s.

STALK J.D.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Bossman by Vi Keeland

BOSSMAN

(A standalone novel)

A Contemporary Romance novel

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Vi Keeland

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RELEASING JULY 18TH!

iBooks exclusive pre-order:
http://apple.co/1TYvovK

Add Bossman to your TBR list on Goodreads!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30138344-untitled

Sign up for Vi’s mailing list now and be the first one notified of releases! https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l3t4l1

Join Vi’s Violets for early news of books, fun chats and giveaways!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup

boss man cover

Cover designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear

Model: Gilberto Fritsch

Blurb

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room.  Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?

Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

About the Author

vi keeland

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is an attorney and a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author.  Over the last three years, eleven of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and four on the New York Times Bestseller lists.  

 

Links

Author Vi Keeland

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup/

https://www.facebook.com/vi.keeland

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Vi-Keeland/435952616513958

Website

http://www.vikeeland.com

Twitter

@vikeeland

https://twitter.com/ViKeeland

Instagram

@Vi_Keeland

http://instagram.com/Vi_Keeland/

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6887119.Vi_Keeland

Additional Books by Vi Keeland

Standalone novels

The Baller

Amazon ➜ amzn.to/1PBF2hG

iBooks  ➜  http://bit.ly/iBooksBaller

B&N ➜  http:// bit.ly/BarnesBaller

Kobo ➜  http:// bit.ly/KoboBaller

Google Play ➜ http:// bit.ly/GoogleBaller

Stuck-Up Suit (co-written with Penelope Ward)

Amazon:  http:// http://amzn.to/1VK66ll

iBooks: http://apple.co/1Qbwy57

B&N: http:// bit.ly/1UC8wDC

Kobo: http:// bit.ly/1RJdUif

Cocky Bastard (co-written with Penelope Ward)

Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/1LfN3fc

iTunes ➜ http://apple.co/1PffE2J

Kobo ➜ http://bit.ly/1UxCSUO

B&N ➜ http://bit.ly/1EjxNpY

Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Left-Behind-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00OJM92LI/

First Thing I See

http://www.amazon.com/First-Thing-See-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00AWXY3HG

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-thing-i-see-ms-vi-keeland/1114703332

Other books from Vi Keeland

Life on Stage series (2 standalone books)

Beat

http://www.amazon.com/Beat-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00ZOMUV12/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beat-vi-keeland/1121715501

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beat/id983959123

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/beat-5

Throb

http://www.amazon.com/Throb-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00SS2RYBU

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/throb-vi-keeland/1121112695

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/throb-4

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/throb/id948747986

MMA Fighter series (3 standalone books)

Worth the Fight

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Fight-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00FLG5B9S

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-fight-vi-keeland/1117014180

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-fight

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-fight/id805540252

Worth the Chance

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Chance-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00I2UKQOK

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-chance-vi-keeland/1118634058

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-chance/id813714461

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-the-chance

Worth Forgiving

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Forgiving-Vi-Keeland-ebook/dp/B00MWL78EG

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-forgiving-vi-keeland/1120173153

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/worth-forgiving

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-forgiving/id906130022?ls=1&mt=11

The Cole Series (2 book serial)

Belong to You

http://www.amazon.com/Belong-You-A-Cole-Novel-ebook/dp/B00BUTCXLE/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belong-to-you-vi-keeland/1114962845

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/belong-to-you/id639401754

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

Made for You

http://www.amazon.com/Made-You-A-Cole-Novel-ebook/dp/B00DPWVKS6

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/made-for-you-vi-keeland/1115883225

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/made-for-you/id84550637

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/belong-to-you

 

Sales Blitz: A Matter of Trust by Q.T. Ruby


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A Matter of Trust will be only 99c for June 1-3.

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Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA   

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She’s stuck in a rut, stuck in life and stuck in an elevator with Hollywood’s hottest actor. And of course she’s just come from the gym.

Claire Parelli just can’t seem to catch a break, well, except for heartbreak, that is. After a lifetime of following the rules, she winds up heartbroken, unfulfilled, and hiding from life. But she can’t hide for long.

After getting stuck aboard a broken elevator with Hollywood It-Boy, Daniel Chase, they begin a secret romance that pries Claire out of her element, out of her shell, and out of her sweatpants. But when their romance accidentally goes public, Claire’s life implodes, leaving her to choose to hunker down in the safety of her sweatpants, or risk her fragile heart on a chance at life, love, and the pursuit of better clothing.

He nods. “Fair enough. So . . . when might I see you again?”

See me again?  With a cautiously optimistic smile, I say, “You’re the one flying across the country. You tell me.”

“Well, I leave for L.A. after some meetings tomorrow, and my schedule is insane this week, but I believe I have a couple of days off at some point coming up in the next couple of weeks. I forget the exact dates. Anyway, maybe we’ll see each other then?”

“But you’ll be in L.A.”

“It’s not that far by plane.”

I shake my head. “I can’t call out of work.” I won’t blow off work to take a trip. Not for a guy. I’m smarter than that.

He nods. “Maybe I’ll fly back, then.”

My heart launches into my throat. “You’d fly back to see me? You must have a million girls at your disposal on the West Coast.” I’m teasing—sort of.

“True . . . but I’m running out.”

I laugh, enjoying how quickly he can make me laugh. “Oh, so I guess it’s time to move on to the East Coast women?”

He peers down at me through his long lashes, his full lips tugged up on one side. “Or woman.”

My heart flips and flops in my throat, but I won’t let myself buy it. “ ‘Woman,’ huh?”

He rolls his eyes. “Claire, really, how many women’s bedrooms do you think I just hang around in?”

I raise a “do you really want an answer?” eyebrow.

He shakes his head and chuckles. “For your information, if I was merely here for one thing, I’d have had you undressed long ago.”

I raise my eyebrows, smiling. “You think so, huh?”

“Yes, I do. I’m just . . . too polite.”

“Too polite?” I nearly bust out laughing.

“Or maybe I’m just an idiot.”

We both burst into laughter, releasing the tension in the room, and that’s when our eyes lock, speaking the same language, craving the same thing. The atmosphere shifts once again, this time instantly growing tight and thick with heat.

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Daydream believer and homecoming queen (Monkees anyone?), Q.T. Ruby, can now add writer to her resume, which includes thinking in song lyrics. She began her writing career as a child, channeling her ideas into songs she wrote and performed for a bedroom full of Barbies and stuffed animals. She now serenades her children with her songs, like “Just Eat What’s On Your Plate” and “You Are the Cutest, but Pick Up Your Stuff.” Q.T. Ruby loves her mom’s homemade rice pudding, pizza and movie night at home with her family, and is lucky enough to teach middle school in Connecticut where she was born and raised.

Author links

Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  Contact email   Amazon page

 

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Getting to know… GL Thomas

Hi everyone! It’s time for another session of Getting to know… Today’s author is GL Thomas–Guinevere is the G. Libertad is the L. Seems fitting to go by G.L. Tomas as twin coauthors with a mission. They’re mostly known by their platform, Twinja Book Reviews, a review blog that supports and promotes diversity in young adult and speculative fiction titles, but with time, they hope to cross genres successfully with their romance debut Same Page.

Author PhotoSo great to have you both here! Let’s get down to business: tell us a little about yourselves. 

Well this one is wacky because even though we go by one pen name, we’re actually two people! Our pen name is G.L. Tomas and the G.L. is short for Guinevere and Libertad. We’re a twin writing duo who have always had a penchant for diversity in books, no matter the genre and we even have two book blogs dedicated to them, one for romance, the other for speculative fiction and YA.

Originally my sister and I are from Miami, Florida born of Cuban parents but we currently live in New Haven, Connecticut just steps from the Yale University campus.

All our lives we’ve always been interested in culture. Being that we are Afro-Latina, our racial identities have always come into question, so it always made us wonder about other people’s cultures growing up. Languages, food, dance, customs have always been things that have interested us about other people’s culture so I guess that’s more or less what inspired us to write books that center on people of different backgrounds other than the average American experience.

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We are kindred spirits. I’ve also always been interested in different cultures and grew up within walking distance of an ivy league university (University of Pennsylvania). When did you first know you both wanted to be authors?

Wow. This is simple. When I went on my quest to find a romance book that featured an Afro-Latina as the lead character and couldn’t find one. We figured, we might as well write our own. Now we plan on releasing three more books with Afro-Latina heroines this year.

I love it! I’ve got Same Page queued up on my Kindle, so I’ll be posting a review very soon. Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?

Omg, we set our sights high this year. Our goal was to release 11 titles this year alone. All ranging in age categories(YA, NA, Adult)and genres(speculative fiction, contemporary and romance) but yes we are working on four books right now,lol. I know, I know we’re nuts but we hope to have all 4 out by the end of August. We’ll give you a jist of our faves.

Book 1: But I’m not A Robot – It’s an interracial light hearted romance centered on an Oklahoma Native living in NYC with just two issues, he’s Mormon and he’s a virgin. This book has been sitting in our heads for a while and we’re finally bringing it to life. We’ve always wanted to make a male virgin because virginity has always seemed to be a personal choice for only women, so we’re always trying to do something different to stand out from the crowd of already amazing books!

Book 2: The Unforgettables– This one’s a YA contemporary romance centered around two teens who love geeky things and try to balance feelings for each other and friendship. This one is a love child we’ve had for nearly ten years in our heads and yay! It features a Haitian American heroine and a Hapa(Half Japanese/half Welsh) hero who’s also a Buddhist, something I’ve never seen in a mainstream book before, which is also how my sister and I identify religion wise.

Both books sound great, so I will be keeping an eye out for them. What is your favorite part of being a writer? 

This one never gets old. When people tell us how naturally we weave culture into stories. Another is when we get emails telling us how amazing it was that we created a black girl who was better than Katniss in a YA fantasy(not my words,lol). It’s always been our dream to make stories for black women of all ages and words like that always drive us to write the next book!

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I love it! And, readers, in case you’re wondering which book we’re talking about it’s the Mark of Noba. So tell me, what do you think is the hardest part of being a writer? It’s not always easy, so how do you deal with it?

G: I can’t speak for Libertad, but culture tends to be the most difficult. I love showcasing Black women from a plethora of cultures. But that makes them harder to market. When the only market for books for Black women is African-American, what do you do when the couple in question happens to be a British-Ghanaian woman paired with an Afro-Puerto Rican?

The Black experience in the West is often limited to just African-American. I agree, that experience is the dominant one. Black folk who are Nigerian, or Cuban, Jamaican, Afro-Canadian, we often assimilate to the dominant Black culture in the West. There’s often no way around this. I love writing all Black women. Of all walks of life. But it’s often hard to market stories like these.

I have no way of combating it outside of hoping people who read our stories open their mind to an experience different from theirs. I’m always going to write Black women from all over the world. From different cultures, of different walks of life, and different experiences. Black unity is important to me. We’re often only separated by language/culture. I want so bad to be ok with the fact that my experience as a Black woman is different than a German-born Black woman, or a Canadian-born Black woman. So I hope people are open to it too.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading an audiobook called Black Rainbow by J.J. McAvoy and another audiobook in the Percy Jackson series. My sister and I are really obsessed with audiobooks right now! They’re so fun to listen to!

I keep trying to get into audiobooks, but it’ just never worked for me. Maybe I should give it a shot again. So tell me: which of your characters is your favorite?

G: My personal favorite so far has been a YA character we created named Sai Liber-Tetraphirmaportacheeq from The Mark of Noba. It was our debut novel, and as much as I regret using her as a guinea pig, people’s response to her encouraged my passion for difficult female main characters.

Women always have to be pleasant. Virginal. Easy to like. Tetra was my biggest fear, and she turned out to be the star of our series. The female characters who’ve followed her can be likeable in some ways, but they make questionable decisions that make readers disconnect with them. If we hadn’t used Tetra as our guinea pig, we would’ve never had the courage to make heroines like that.

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What’s your take on authors and social media? Is it vital to us?

Yes and no. I think we’re beyond the days of loving authors without knowing anything about them, but at the same time, you want to know you’re investing your money in someone who cares about most of the things you do. Twitter is the most time-consuming, but I think most authors should be on Twitter. Some of my favorite authors I’ve met on Twitter, and the opportunity to connect with them within minutes. I do however think there needs to be a balance of how much time an author uses on social media.

That balance is really important. I think there are days when I spend more time connecting with readers on social media than actually writing. I always have to limit myself.

Which authors would you recommend to people looking for someone new to read?

G: I have quite a few authors that push the typical envelope of the traditional romance reader. While I don’t connect to every single thing she writes, I feel as though Harper Miller is one of the few writers in Romance that goes beyond the typical boy meets girl story. As a QWoC I often feel as though there are a ton of writers who don’t take into account women aren’t always just attracted to men. That’s ok, but it’s disheartening. Rebekah Weatherspoon is also an author who’s not only queer friendly, but non-binary/gender non-conforming friendly. I understand the need to embrace femininity among Black women, but a lot of us feel pressure to, based on the way we’ve been viewed as women as a whole.

I want women of color, particularly Black women to know there are writers who take us in mind too. As far as story telling, I don’t think it’s proper not to suggest who’s blog we’re on–Kim Golden.

There’s the traditional way to put together in a story, and then there’s how people actually meet. I wish the single boy meets single girl always worked in real life, but life has an interesting way of putting two people together. Sometimes you find who’s right for you while you’re in a serious relationship. Sometimes you even realize monogamy doesn’t work for you. Maybe Baby features a heroine who wants children, but is in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want more than what he already has, so she’s forced to seek different things, despite thinking she’s happy. In the end, she ends up with someone she’s more equipped to be with, but if she hadn’t sought that out herself, she would’ve been stuck with the wrong person for the rest of her life.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 07.13.53I don’t do recreational drugs, but I appreciate when writers aren’t afraid to push that envelope, because in real life, people smoke weed, they smoke, even do drugs harder than marijuana. Some people are troubled. Some people don’t deal with things by just pushing them away for another day. Life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. Things are complicated.

Thanks so much for the Maybe Baby shout out. It’s my personal favourite of everything I’ve written. A lot of people didn’t respond so well to the infidelity storyline. Which brings me to the next topic, taboos.Are there any subjects that are taboo for you when it comes to reading or writing?

Well this is somewhat of a tough question. First of all, my sister and I don’t find any topics “taboo.” But there are trends and topics we aren’t necessarily interested in writing just yet. The “surprise pregnancy/baby” trope. This is more or less a personal decision as my sister and I are much younger writers than our peers so motherhood isn’t something we ever think to include because it’s not something many of our characters desire. We’re branching out in “Adult” romances later in the year but our niche so far has been New Adult so we’re really attracted to what one would consider a “young love” story. Sometimes it feels awkward to put that in the equation.

Another is full on Erotica. For now, we’re sticking to steamy and sweet romances, but it’s still early in our careers as writers, so never say never!

So true! 🙂 While we’re on the subject of “taboo topics”, what do you think about fiction addressing topical social issues like racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this? Some readers say get turned off by books that take on these issues and that they read to escape, not to be reminded of the problems in the world around them.

Honestly this is the writer’s decision if they wish to include these topics. We personally like to address them. Because our releases so far are more in the NA classification, these things matter to readers who identify as “Millennials.”

My sister and I are Millennials so social issues like sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, privilege, class and racism are things we talk about every single day. The only books I read to escape are pure fantasies like Harry Potter or anything by Octavia Butler. When it comes to romance though I think it’s great when authors take the time out to address such issues because it rings true for me. But this again is a personal issue and we totally get why some writers just like to make it about the romance or story.

We really try to make our non-black, cisgender characters the allies we’d like to see in real life, so for us, it doesn’t seem natural not to add issues that are important to us. Because we believe you can fall in love and learn something at the same time, if that makes sense, lol.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

I’d definitely say it’s been your cover is your calling card. Cover must convey genre, tone and emotion. That it’s not supposed to tell “the story”. Only the blurb does that. Covers is always something I’ve never known a thing about, but my sister and I are going through all these changes and learning more about what sells and what doesn’t.

I am so with you there. I think a lot of writers don’t understand just how important the cover is. They try to do too much with it.

That’s it for this week! Thanks so much to Guinevere and Libertad for joining us today. I really enjoyed getting to know them better, and I hope you did too! 😀

Have a great weekend!

Belated Cover Reveal: Killing the Sun by K. Larsen & Mara White

In my absent-mindedness (caused mainly by too many things going in my life) I forgot to post K. Larsen and Mara White’s cover reveal for their serial novel, Killing the Sun. Sorry, chicas. It was not intentional. 😦 Posting now!

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Add to goodreads now.

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****WARNING****

 

KILLING THE SUN is a collaborative novel by K. Larsen and Mara White.

KTS is not a ROMANCE

KTS is not ROMANTIC

This book features a non-linear time line, some violence as well as graphic sex.

Do not read this book if you don’t like antiheroes.

Do not read this book if sexual sadism makes you uncomfortable.

Do not read this book if you don’t like dubious consent.

Do not read this book if you are looking for a traditional HEA.

Do not read this book if you like demure heroines and swashbuckling heroes.

KTS is a serial novel that will come in three novellas released in rapid succession.

If you choose to take this ride, please do so at your own risk.

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Prologue

Aimee

 

I was born backwards into this world.

Breeched.

You tore me, she said.

Those were words I remember my mother saying to me, as if I had done those things to her on purpose.

Back first I came, my spine convex, the points of my vertebrae stretching my skin to reveal a miniature Appalachia, peaks and dips, craggy, unmarked indentations that had never seen the sun. I automatically straighten my spine thinking about it, tell my legs to relax, my gut to unwind.

Now I am sun. So full of sun.

You were late.

You made me wait.

But there would never have been enough time. My mother knew the soft strokes of motherhood didn’t suit her hands well, that my brothers’ crying had already scratched and clawed at her nerves like an unwanted emergency, a constant state of distress. But I pleased her. Her only daughter. She liked it when I brushed her hair; she would always close her eyes and hum a haunting song.

I left him by the riverside,

then the sun set on both of us.

Oh, I left him by the riverside,

And no one came back to pick me up.

She liked to look at me, to study my face. Not so much with affection but with a real curiosity that seemed out of place. She was lazy and unenthusiastic about most things, but she looked at me with gusto, almost like I’d been gone for a long time or as if she were searching for someone else in my face. In turn, I searched hers for recognition, some twitch or tic that signaled I belonged.

Mom loved my twin brothers Storm and Farren as best she could. She doted on them the only way she knew how. Food was her most available medium and sugared cereal and boxed dinners were often forced upon them in place of hugs. Mom was big and her eyes an impossibly bright blue. Cotton candy blue, raspberry popsicle blue. Her clothes were twenty years out of date and her hair hung in the same two swooping hot dog curls she rolled daily, framing her round face. I saw the same two curls in her high school pictures, where she listed disco and the roller rink under hobbies. I liked to imagine her sailing quickly around a polished rink, her hands clasped behind her, one foot leisurely replacing the other while the snare beat of disco ticked out of the speakers. She’d have those two hot dog curls and electric blue laces in her skates. In my mind she’d be lighter on her feet and never once would she think she’d be confined to a trailer, her carefree youth whittled down to a sliver, like an old bar of soap in the dish by the tub. You scrub away that many layers and whatever’s left can barely get the job done. That soap’s no good for washing the dirt off. It’s not good for much at all.

Our dad was never around. He carried a gun. Beer cans rolled in symphony, the gasping crescendo against the occasional bottle of schnapps in the footwells of his Dodge Dart. And he was missing a tooth in front; it made him whistle ever so slightly when he’d talk.

“Come here, Aim-girl. Give your daddy a hug.”

It wasn’t often. He’d storm in, fight with Mom, then take off to the sedan. He’d always park on the grass, tearing up the sod and leaving tire tracks of mud. I spent a lot of time on the swing set that belonged to the Dobsons. I also rode the Dobson girl’s grape-purple big wheel after the county bus picked her up for school. If Dad came home at night, he’d always show up drunk, yelling, slurring, sputtering. Sometimes retching.

Mom would disengage even more. She’d sit at the card table and butter slice after slice of white bread, chew through them with the steadfastness of a monk. She could eat a whole loaf like that, staring at the wall. Sometimes I would think she was crying, that I could hear her sobs through the thin trailer walls. But if I’d ever go and check, she’d be glassy-eyed, far removed but never undone.

The only time I saw her cry was at trial, when my brothers were both sentenced to life for capital murder. Storm and Farren—the little tow-headed boys my mom had dreamed would become professional wrestlers—they sealed their own fate because they’d had enough. I can’t help but believe my mom put them up to it. Dad was good for nothing but the worst he ever did was come home too drunk and knock us around; sometimes Mom would get hit bad. He’d yell, warble, then pass out in a lump on the carpet or in a chair by the TV.

Storm and Farren burned his body in a fire pit twenty miles into the woods straight off of the highway juncture where I-35 crosses with Route Seven. I walked out of the courtroom when they hashed out the details. The gory bits about bone fragments and ashes and the stubborn threads from his tattered flannel. How sisal rope had cut into his flesh. They didn’t find the rope, but they did find bloody fibers. The binding was so tight it cut through the skin, leaving the faintest spatter of blood points against the blue tarp that they buried right on the border of Texas. A stupid shallow grave where they shoved in his beer cans and cigarette butts. They sunk the Dart in Veteran’s Lake by Sulphur. I know, I saw it all on 48 Hours.

Those boys never did wash up well before dinner, and in the end, it cost them a bunch. I like to think that I loved them, but they had each other and I was always an afterthought. Born eight years too late to make it to the party. But it kept me out of trouble and ultimately, it kept me out of jail.

So my brothers grew up with a mother they would kill for and I slipped through childhood without much commotion. I spent a lot of time playing by myself. Conquering the dirt mountains out behind Arbuckle Lake. There were days I walked for miles dragging a stick and spitting into the dust until my sneakers turned almost red with dirt. I patched up my own scrapes with Band-Aids I swiped from Wal-Mart. And it’s not like my life was devoid of comfort; I was bussed into Sulphur for school and I thrived there. God knows I wasn’t the only kid surviving off of stained and pilled-up hand-me-downs, a grade D smorgasbord of free school lunch. My grades earned me the affection of all of my teachers. I was the only one in my family to graduate from high school. Aimee Olsen, high school graduate. Moving on up.

And I made sure I had the kind of portfolio that could get me into college. I never once wasted my teenage years fooling around with boyfriends. I didn’t go to the drive-in to practice getting to all of the bases with boys who wore braces and were covered in pimples. I saved myself for something bigger, something grand that the kids in my town would only ever dream of.

Some girls in my class wanted nothing more than to get married and start having babies. A trailer was enough for them; a split-style ranch would make them the envy of Sulphur. I wanted to get the hell out of Oklahoma. So I moved to New York City with a one-way Greyhound bus ticket and Storm’s old gym bag stuffed with my scrappy clothes and a clean set of sheets. I never expected to get much out of life. But I got more than I bargained for.

I got Danny.

 

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K. Larsen

I am an avid reader, coffee drinker, and chocolate eater who loves writing. I received my B.A. from Simmons College-a while ago. I currently live with my daughter in Maine.
I’m working on my sixth novel out later this year. I’ve published Tug Of War, Objective, Resistance, Saving Caroline, 30 Days, Committed and Dating Delaney. Enjoy!

I love hearing from you so please feel free to contact me!

Author links

Twitter  Facebook Website Goodreads  Amazon page  Instagram

 

Mara White

Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

 

 Author Links

Twitter  Facebook  Amazon Page  Goodreads   Instagram  

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