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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is why book clubs rock!! Oosa's Pajama Jam!

Writers love book clubs and here's why: the members are amazing. It's always a good time when you visit a book club. And finally, book clubs are so supportive!

Are you looking for something fun to do? Join or start a book club.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting For The Other Shoe to Drop: Part Four

We arrived at what looked like a hole in the wall restaurant on the east side of town. Judging by the full parking lot, the food must have been good. I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t ordering a damned thing until I saw the sanitation grade. Richard opened the door and held it as I crossed the threshold. The polite thing would’ve been to say thank you, but when the scent of his cologne filled my nostrils, my ability to speak left me. Why did he have to look and smell good? Offering a small smile, I walked ahead of him and waited for the cashier to spot us. The restaurant was full of people from every walk of life – students, professionals, construction workers and nurses from the nearby hospital. I couldn’t help but laugh because no one and I mean no one was eating anything healthy.
                “Two?” the cashier asked.
                Richard nodded and the woman pointed to an empty table in the corner. I sighed inwardly, if this had been a date, this table would’ve been perfect. Secluded and small. When we sat down, our knees collided and I struggled to ignore the electric rush that kissed my spine and traveled between my thighs.
                “What’s good here?” I asked.
                “Everything. I enjoy the chicken and broccoli, but that’s because I’m a big fan of veggies.”
                “So, you’re a vegetarian?”
                He shook his head. “Can’t give up the yard bird.”
                I laughed and picked up the menu to hide the goofy smile on my face. “Then I’m going to have the chicken and broccoli. If I don’t like it, I’m blaming you.” Easing the menu down, I saw he had those brown eyes trained on me and there was that twitch again.
                “What?” I asked.
                “Nothing, because if I ask you the question I want the answer to, it’s just going to start an argument.”
                Narrowing my eyes at him, I was about to tell him to go ahead and ask, but I let it slide. Richard, however, didn’t know when to say when.  “These last few months, you’ve been a beast at work, taking on projects that no one wanted, coming in early and leaving late. Now, I know that when sisters do stuff like this, it’s either for a promotion or because she has a broken heart.”
                Sighing, I decided not to be confrontational – this time. But there is nothing worse than a man who thinks he knows everything no matter how cute he is. “Of course I’m looking to advance my career,” I replied carefully.
                “I don’t believe that’s the only reason.”
                “And I don’t give a shit.” Oh well, there went being non-confrontational.
                “Ouch. That pretty much proves my point.”
                “Here’s my point, keep your dime store psychoanalysis to yourself. Until you decided to muscle your way on to my project, we never have one conversation.”
                “That’s because I knew you were involved with someone and every time I see you I want to lick your bottom lip.”
                The needle fell right off the record and I gasped. “Umm, that’s very. . .”
                “Inappropriate, I know. But how else would I get a chance to talk to you? You don’t go to after work events, you eat lunch at your desk and you keep headphones in your ears.  The hint was taken; you wanted to be left alone.”
                “And you decided to pull this stunt anyway?”
                He grinned and nodded. “Yes, because if your lips are as soft as they look, it will be worth it.”
                I waved for the waitress and ignored the river flowing between my legs.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Victoria Christopher Murray gets Scandalous

Jasmine Cox Larson Bush is a character you love to hate or hate to love. Either way, author Victoria Christopher Murray created an iconic character that just can't get enough reading about. 
We first met Lady Jasmine in Temptation, released in 1997. Then her story continued in A Sin and A Shame, Too Little Too Late,  Lady Jasmine, Sins of the Mother, Sinners and Saints (co-written with ReShonda Tate Billingsley) and the soon to be released Friends and Foes (also written with Tate Billingsley).
Victoria Christopher Murray
Now, readers get a look at who Jasmine was before Temptation and salvation --sort of. . .
1.  Jasmine is back for the first time. Why did you decide to tell her back story?

I wrote this story a while ago.  It was just a short story and I was able to increase it to novella size (60,000 words.) I wrote it because I always wondered, 'Who in the heck is Jasmine?  Where did she come from?'  And it was so much fun to write this and find out.

2.       What will readers learn about Jasmine that they don’t already know?

Jasmine's past is far more scandalous than I ever realized.  What readers will really learn is why she's so hard core, why she doesn't back down.  And readers will also learn why Jasmine focuses on married men!  There's an app (I mean, reason) for that!

3.       You and ReShonda Tate Billingsley have a great series on your hands featuring Jasmine and Rachel. When is the next book coming out?

The next book is coming out at the end of February.  It's called Friends and Foes and it was as much fun to write as the first.  This time, Jasmine and Rachel have to work together to get out of BIG trouble.  Of course, Jasmine does her part, and helps out poor, little, not-so-bright Rachel.  I always have the time of my life writing with ReShonda!

4.       Is Scandalous only an e-book?

Yes, this is my first only e-book.  This is a test by my agent and publisher.  I may do other ebooks only if this does well.  I have quite a few shorter stories in my head and would love to write them.

5.       What has the response from readers been like to Jasmine’s scandalous past?

I don't think I ever had so many people say they couldn't put this book down.  I think readers really like this book because they already know Jasmine and it's fun to look into her life when she was in her early twenties.  It's fun to read about her before she was the First Lady, or had children, or met Hosea.  People love reading about her when she was just Jasmine....and she was, well, SCANDALOUS! :-)


Before she was First Lady Jasmine Cox Larson Bush, before she had children, before she met Hosea, Jasmine was....SCANDALOUS. This is the story of Jasmine before Temptation and how Jasmine became Jasmine.  In e-book format - $4.99

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What YOU don't understand about being a woman sports writer

When you pick up the newspaper and read the sports section or log on to your favorite sports web site, most of y'all don't notice the byline. You're reading the story about your favorite team or player. You want to celebrate the win, bemoan the loss or just get mad because you don't like what was written.

Then you look at the byline. That's when you leave your comments -- as you have the right to do --and if the author is a woman, some how her sex is always in the mix.

Of course, sports is rocket science and how in the world can a woman grasp it?
It's one thing for readers to "diss" a woman who covers sports. Most readers will hate what anyone who doesn't fawn over their favorite team says. On the other hand, having a "professional" athlete call you sweetheart in a press conference because you asked a football question -- that's just sexist, immature and offensive.

Let me tell you something about the "sweetheart" Cam Newton referred to on Sunday after the Panthers lost another game. She's been covering sports since 1997. She's 35 and can read a defense. Yet, when I tell people I cover sports, I get asked questions that no man would be subjected to:

You get to go in the locker room? How else will I interview the players after a game? The NFL, NBA they don't really do a lot of on the field on the court interviews.
Do the players ever ask you out? Why would they? I'm a reporter with a recorder in their face. I'm doing my job --which is to ask them questions about their job.
Has anyone ever called you sweetheart?  Err. . .until Sunday, nope.

Before Cam Newton's sarcastic "sweetheart" comment, I couldn't say that I had ever experienced any sexism on the job. I was treated with the same indifference as my male colleagues. That was fine with me. Here's what you don't get about being a woman sports writer: We don't want special treatment. We just want the story.
We don't want to date the athletes, we want the story.

While many in the South don't see a thing wrong with a man calling a woman sweetheart, the Charlotte Fox affiliate made that clear, but calling a woman, who's doing her job sweetheart (and calling a man in that same presser sir) only makes the man look bad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop. . .Part Three

Walking out of the bathroom, I put my game face on and returned to my desk where Richard was waiting.
                “Are you ready?” he asked.
                “Sure.  Let me grab my purse.” I shot him a look telling him that he was in my way.  He stepped aside with a smile on his face and I grabbed my purse.
                “Where would you like to go?” he asked as we headed for the exit.
                “You invited me, should you have an idea?” OK, I was being a little extra, but if I made him not like me, then I could deal with working with him, right? Slipping my hand into my purse, I retrieved my sunglasses and put them on.
                “You’re a touch chick or at least that what you want people to believe, huh?”
                “This attitude you’re giving me, for no reason I might add.”
                “I’m not giving you attitude. But I do have to say, I’m a little perturbed that someone upstairs feels that I need a partner when I’ve been doing research projects like this—alone—for years.”
                “I’m the one pushing for the partnership. It’s not an indictment against your work.”
                I fought the urge to snort. As much as I hated to admit that he was right, I did try to be a tough girl at work. I didn’t like to get help from a coworker or share the glory. In my last evaluation, Perry did say I wasn’t a team player. Not that I changed anything. Glancing at Richard, I decided that maybe I needed to stop acting like the “tough girl.”
                “Do you like Chinese?” I asked.
                “I do. As a matter of fact, I know a great place. Are we taking separate cars or do you want me to drive?”
                I sucked my teeth and said, “Why don’t I be nice and drive?”
                “What?” He placed his hand on his chest as if he was Fred Sanford threatening to join Elizabeth. “Not you.  Being nice.”
                “Don’t believe the office grapevine, I’m the nicest person you’ve met in the last five minutes.” Oh snap, I was flirting. This was going to be bad. I knew I should’ve eaten my turkey sandwich at my desk.

No one seems to know what's wrong with the Carolina Panthers, sweetheart

Update: Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler wrote about Cam calling a "female reporter" a sweetheart in a public forum. 
Newton sounded as frustrated afterward as he ever has following a loss, and that’s saying a good bit. The final question of his press conference was posed by a female reporter, asking him what the Panthers could do to score more points.
“I’m going to leave this room and I’m going to bring in a suggestion box and I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don’t know,” Newton said. “I really don’t. I wish I could tell you. But the only thing I control, sweetheart, is myself. Offensively, I am the leader of this bunch and we haven’t been getting the job done.”
Calling a female reporter “sweetheart” isn’t a good idea in a public forum, even in jest.

Read more here:

Sunday afternoon, Bank of America Stadium became Cowboys Stadium North as the Cowboys and the Panthers squared off. Carolina fell to 1-5 for the season.

“We have to play better overall,” wide receiver Steve Smith said before the bye week. “That’s the straight up answer. The only thing that’s acceptable is to play better.”

However, that message didn’t seem to translate of the field in Sunday’s loss.

But the opportunity to have a post season bid is slipping from the Panthers grip as they are last in the NFC South and travel to Chicago Sunday to play the Bears, who are 4-1 and trounced Jacksonville last week 41-3. The Bears play the Detroit Lions on Monday night.

On Sunday, New Orleans beat Tampa Bay, improving to 2-4. The Panthers lone victory this season came against the Saints.

“The tale of this game when we watch it on tape will be about missed opportunities,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “Nobody said it was going to be easy. It’s not. We know that. We’re going to continue to work at it and look to change some things and we’ll find solutions. We just have to keep pounding away.”

What the changes and solutions are, no one seems to have an answer.

“I’m going to leave this room and bring in a suggestion box and I want your suggestions to be in that box because I sure don’t know.” Newton said. “The only thing I can control is myself. Offensively, I am the leader of this bunch and we haven’t been getting the job done.”

Defensive end Thomas Keiser sums it perfectly. “Right now things are really bad. But we’re going to figure it out and we’re going to get better.”
Newton, leader of the bunch as he calls himself, doesn't like to be asked questions that would require more of an "we don't know" answer. So when a certain woman reporter asked what do the Panthers need to do to show the dominance on the field that he kept talking about, he called her -- and by her I mean me -- sweetheart.

Borderline sexist. Insulting. Not a good look, Cam.
And yes, there is video

Because I want to help a brother out, let me give Cam and all those men out there a list when sweetheart is appropriate and inappropriate:
  • Appropriate Sweetheart: "Hi, sweetheart, I got this from Tiffany's for you."
  • Inappropriate Sweetheart: "Sweetheart, this is football."
  •  Appropriate Sweetheart: "Sweetheart, would you like me to run your bath?"
  • Inappropriate Sweetheart: "Sweetheart, I can only control what I do."
  • Appropriate Sweetheart: "Sweetheart, did you hear what I said? I love you."
  • Inappropriate Sweetheart: Calling a woman YOU DON'T KNOW sweetheart. Try ma'am, miss or lady.
  • Appropriate Sweetheart: "Sweetheart, I love your book."
  • Inappropriate Sweetheart: Calling a professional sports writer Sweetheart because your offense is, well, offensive.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet Synithia Williams, author of You Can't Plan Love

Debut romance author Synithia Williams is building a huge buzz around her novel, You Can't Plan Love. She was featured in USA Today and deservedly so. Williams crafted a sexy and page turning read.

1.              How did you come up with the story of You Can’t Plan Love?

Nothing specific lead me to this story. It came from one of the typical “what if” moments we writer’s have. What if a woman hurt in the past tried to plan her love life. I don’t think love is something that can be planned, and if more people stopped planning and just went with things I think happiness will follow.

2.              Have you always wanted to write romance?

Yes! I’ve read romance since I was a teen. I hand wrote my first two romance novels in high school. After that real life kicked in and writing was a hobby that I occasionally returned to. In 2010 I saw a friend pack up her family so that she could go to law school. Seeing her pursue a dream was the kick in the butt I needed. I finished my book, researched publishing options and sought feedback to help improve my story.

3.              What’s the best thing about being a published author?

Seeing my name/book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all those other places my book is listed. Yeah, it’s kinda vain, but it’s also awesome!

4.              How did you celebrate the release of your book?

With a pre-release party the Saturday before it launched. I invited family, friends, co-workers, my husband’s co-workers and beta readers. It may seem silly to some to celebrate with a big party before the book came out, but to me this was an achievement of a lifelong dream and completely worth a party.

5.              What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m still writing. My second book is scheduled for release from my publisher (Crimson Romance) on January 7, 2013. I’m taking a break from revisions from my third manuscript to write a novella I hope to finish before Christmas. And since the characters in a fourth novel are bothering, me I’m writing a few hundred words here and there on their story.

6.              When you saw your book mentioned in USA Today how did that make you feel?

Okay, so I know you’re not supposed to check emails while driving, but I was at a red light so it doesn’t count. When I saw the alert that my book was spotlighted on USA Today I screamed and immediately called my husband. It’s surreal and so appreciated that Michelle Monkou shined the spotlight on my novel.