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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jasmine and Rachel visit Charlotte. . .er . . .Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley, that is. . .

Though the latest installment of the Jasmine Cox Larson Bush and Rachel Adams Jackson series won't be released until March 12, if you live in Charlotte -- you can get your copy Sunday.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray will be signing copies of their latest novel, Friends and Foes at Wal-Mart on North Tryon Street.

Update: The location of ReShonda and Victoria's signing has moved. The new location is: The Village Bookstore, Johnson and Wales University 800 West Trade Street Suite 150.

What happens when sworn enemies come together and there’s a murder involved?
You get the latest novel from  award winning authors Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. In Friends and Foes, the iconic first ladies, Jasmine and Rachel return for round two in their rivalry – which started in last year’s Sinners and Saints.
It was so much fun, the most fun I ever had writing a book. Not only that, it challenged me creatively because I had to feed off what Victoria wrote. I had to find a way out of situations which made me reach deep into my creative mind,” Billingsley said.  

"When we're planning the book, we'll start talking and we feed off of each other," Murray said.  "One sentence becomes two, two, three and it just keeps going.  It amazes me all the time and that just makes it so much fun."

The authors, who call each other writing twins, will be signing copies of Friends and Foes on March 3 at 3 p.m. in Wal-Mart, located at 7735 N. Tryon St.
Billingsley said a few years ago, her publisher said "it would be a great idea for Victoria and I to write a book together."

"She didn't come up with the idea of our characters meeting, but she thought since we wrote so similar it would be great for us to write a book together. And we just thought, naturally, that it would be great for Rachel to beat down Jasmine," she said.
"And it just didn't work out that way," Murray interjected. "This was in 2006, 2007, that's how long it took to get the whole thing together. People think you can jump in and just write books and get deals. This was at a 2007 BEA (Book Expo America) when Louise Burke told me that she'd talked to ReShonda."
For the authors, putting Jasmine and Rachel together was a perfect fit. Not because they're already fan favorites, but according to Murray, they're just so opposite in who they are.

"It's crazy.  People think Jasmine and Rachel are real.  I think it's because they can relate to these off-balance women.  Either they know someone like Jasmine and Rachel, or they can personally relate!" Murray said. 

Publishers Weekly calls Friends and Foes “a combination that will leave fans praying for their further misadventures.”
The sequel picks up where the rivalry left off, though Rachel Jackson Adams’s husband has won the position of president of the American Baptist Coalition; Jasmine Larson Bush has something bigger up her sleeve. She’s been booked on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Rachel isn’t going to sit around while Jasmine gets to chat it up with Queen O. She hops on a plane to Chicago to sabotage the show. And that’s just the beginning of the drama. When one of the Coalition’s big wigs ends up dead, it looks as if Rachel is going to take the fall.
“Anytime Rachel and Jasmine get together you can expect mischief. In “Friends and Foes,” Rachel Jackson Adams’ husband has won the coveted position of president in the American Baptist Coalition. Jasmine Larson Bush (whose husband is also a pastor and who also was a candidate for the top position) comes up with a scheme to one-up her archrival by promoting her charity on “Oprah.” Rachel decides to hijack Jasmine’s TV appearance, and in the mess that follows, neither ends up on the famed Oprah couch. But in the midst of their scheming in Chicago, one of the heavy hitters within the American Baptist Coalition ends up dead — or maybe he’s just missing. Rachel is implicated in the man’s disappearance (oh, and he stole millions in drug money, and she’s on the hook for that, too). Jasmine has the chance to help her rival and get her out of trouble — but does she? These two women have to actually work together to get out trouble,” said Billingsley.
So, why are fans gaga about Jasmine and Rachel?
Blog Talk radio host and founder and president of the Roundtable Readers Book Club Lasheera Lee said she’s looking forward to the new book.
“They are so endearing,” she said.  “Because they are such a hot mess and they are always pushing the envelope of what a stereotypical first lady is. And when you see ReShonda and VCM together, you think they need to take their show on the road.”
Lee said the book flows effortlessly because with Billingsley and Murray, you can’t tell who’s writing. “They give you the very best,” she said. 
And it's not just the fans who love this series. 

"Everyone loves the series.  Not only the readers, but the biggest account, Walmart, did billboards throughout Atlanta for Sinners and Saints," Murray said. 

Jasmine and Rachel will be back, Billingsley said.
 We have had a phenomenal response to the series. Readers want more and thankfully, we have just accepted another two book deal to give it to them.”
The next book, according to Billingsley, will find Jasmine and Rachel on a reality TV show.
“And you can imagine all the drama that will ensue,” she said.
  Charlotte is the only North Carolina stop for the authors on their 15-city book tour.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop Part 22

  David walked me and Sonia to our cars and waited for his cousin to drive off before he turned to me and whispered, "Don't let Sonia fool you. She wanted us to meet for a reason."
"And what reason would that be?"
"She's an undercover matchmaker. I'm guessing that she wanted me to meet someone who wasn't going to try and get in my pants for a record deal or use me for my connections."
"I just think she thought there wouldn't be anyone to talk to if she didn't bring me. Besides, she told me that you're a horrible jerk and to steer clear of you. No match making here."
David laughed and kissed my hand again. I was trying to remain . . . I don't know what I was trying to do other than keep my clothes on until I got home alone. Totally alone.
"So, what are you doing Sunday morning?" he asked, still holding my hand.
"Watching SportsCenter," I said with my right eyebrow raised.
"Why don't you come with me while I scout talent?"
"Mmm, I'm not a . . . wait, where do you go on Sunday morning to scout for talent?"
"Church, of course."
Most women think that a man inviting you to church is a huge step. And if today hadn't been the first time that I met him, I would've been weak at the knees. "Why do you want to take me to church with you?"
"You believe in God, right?"
"Yes, it is religion that I'm too excited about."
"I get that. But we can go to church and then breakfast is on me."
When I heard the word yes escape my lips, I was more than surprised. He smiled and took my hand then kissed it. "You don't have to wait until Sunday to use that number."
"All right," I said with a sappy smile on my lips. He smiled back and it was as if we were both in high school. "OK, I said after a few beats passed with us standing there looking like grinning fools. "I'd better get going."
"It was really nice meeting you."
Still grinning, I slipped in the car and waved to him.