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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chatting with Deatri King-Bey: Precious Jewels series

It's release day for author Deatri King-Bey and the start of a new series!
Cue the happy dance. 
Deatri is taking us inside the Precious Jewels security agency starting with Amber. Here's why you should be excited; when it comes to story telling, Deatri is one of the best!


Tell the readers about your new Precious Jewels series. 



The Precious Jewels are a four sister security force to be reckoned with. Introduced in my Write Brothers series, these women kick butt now and take names later. Each sister is used to being in control of her life, so giving in to the uncontrollable things that go along with falling in love won’t be easy for them. Amber is the taskmaster of the group. Everything must be done according to plan. There is right and wrong, no gray. Not until Malachi comes along and blurs all the lines. Ruby is the fixer. If something is wrong or out of place, she figures out how to fix it. Pearl is the thrill seeker. She hasn’t met a mountain she hasn’t wanted to climb or a perfectly good plane she hasn’t wanted to jump out of. Jade… Baby Jade just wants to be left alone to her shop, but keeps getting pulled in to assignments.


How did you come up with the idea for this romantic suspense series? 

In the majority of romantic suspense books, it’s the female who needs to be rescued. Well, I’m not into damsels in distress. So I wrote the Write Brothers series in a way they needed to call upon the ladies for assistance.

I love strong heroines and after reading chapter one, I have to know . . .where did the inspiration for Amber come from? 

I grew up in the 70s on blacksploitation films. If I were to re-watch them now, I’d probably be offended, but as a kid, the women in those movies were heroes to me. Much bigger than life. Amber is a cross between my memories of those women and my mom updated for a contemporary audience.  

How many Precious Jewels can we expect? 

Next up is Ruby in Ms. Fix It. Those of you who remember Cody from my title Third Time’s A Charm, will be happy. Then Pearl becomes – Teachers Pet. And last but not least is Jade. I have her story, but not a title for it yet.

Give us the links so that we can buy this exciting novel!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chatting with Farrah Rochon: Maplesville's next chapter I Dare You *UPDATE*

My fan girl moment with Farrah Rochon
in New Orleans
Farrah Rochon is, hands down, one of my favorite authors. Not only can she write her face off, she is a die hard football fan. One day some one needs to research the link between romance writers and football. But I digress.
Oh and she really did write "Who Dat" in one of my autographed copies of a book of hers! Got to love it!

Next month, Farrah is taking us back to Maplesville with the provocative I Dare You. The novella will be released on Nov. 10, but you can preorder it from Amazon today.


Author visit alert! Farrah is making her first trip to North Carolina! 

Fall Into Romance 2014
November 7 & 8, 2014
Durham County Library, Southwest Regional, 3605 Shannon Rd.
Join other romance fans for a celebration of the romance genre hosted by Southwest Regional Library. The event kicks off on Friday, November 7th with a party at Six Plates in Durham and continue on Saturday, November 8th at the Southwest Regional Library with a full day of speakers, swag, and a book signing.
For more details, view the complete schedule.

 1. Tell readers about the latest in the Moments in Maplesville series:


I Dare You! is the fourth book in my Moments in Maplesville novella series. I originally planned for three stories, but within just a few hours of the first book’s release, readers were asking about a story for Stefanie, the widowed Army nurse twin sister of Stefan Sutherland, the hero in the first book, A Perfect Holiday Fling. I Dare You! is Stefanie’s story.

The novella opens on the island of Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos where a small number of family and friends have gathered for the wedding of Stefan and Callie, the couple from A Perfect Holiday Fling. Stefanie, who has been in a bit of a rut relationship-wise, takes on a dare from her best friend to have a one-night-stand while on vacation. She doesn’t realize that the hot guy she picks up at a bar on the exclusive resort’s beach is her brother’s boss and ex-Navy pilot buddy, Dustin Patrick. Once they return to Maplesville, the two embark on a series of fun, sexy dares where Stefanie rediscovers the fun-loving girl she used to be.


2. How did you come up with Maplesville?

The town of Maplesville originally showed up in my Bayou Dreams series with Harlequin Kimani Romance. In that series, the little mom & pop shops in fictional Gauthier, Louisiana start to feel the heat when the neighboring town of Maplesville undergoes a growth spurt because of a new outlet mall. I created the Moments in Maplesville series because Maplesville was getting a bum rap. I wanted to show another side of it so that readers could see that it, too, has interesting characters that are not all hell-bent on causing headaches for the people in Gauthier. 

3. Are there differences in the series that you publish independently and the series that you publish with a mainstream publisher? 

I get to push the envelope a bit more with my independently published books, so the language is a little saltier and the characters more down-to-earth. They are not all filled with millionaires and billionaires, but with relatable characters that readers don’t necessarily get to see in today’s romances. For example, in Just A Little Taste, the third Moments in Maplesville book, the hero, Trey Watson, is a divorced father who lives in a converted Bluebird school bus. He’s sexy as hell, and that converted bus is one of the coolest settings I’ve ever written, but as a hero he would never fly in my traditionally published books. The same goes for Jada Dangerfield in A Little Bit Naughty, who sells sex toys as a way to make money while she looks for a permanent job.

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

I’m looking forward to my Fall/Winter writing schedule because I have a bunch of fun stories on my plate. I’m currently working on the sixth book in my Bayou Dreams series, Stay With Me Forever (Aug. 2015). Readers of both the Bayou Dreams and Moments in Maplesville series will be happy to see some familiar faces in that book. I’m also planning to return to one of my previous series, but I’m not saying which one just yet.

5. What’s been your favorite book that you’ve read this year?

I hate to be so unoriginal, but it has to be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I usually dislike the much-hyped books, and couldn’t get through her 2008 book, Dark Places, so I started Gone Girl with the expectation of being completely disappointed. Instead, I was blown away. I thought it was brilliantly written and deserves every bit of the hype and praise it has received. 

Follow Farrah on Twitter: 
Like her author page on Facebook: facebook.com/farrahrochonauthor

PS: There is a sneak peek at I Dare You on Farrah's author page. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dear White People: I really wanted to love this movie


As I left the movie theatre today following a showing of Dear White People, I was thankful for two things —my decision to attend Johnson C. Smith University and Spike Lee's School Daze.

I wanted to LOVE this movie. I wanted to have the same experience that I had when I saw School Daze.  I didn't.

This movie was trying to do a little too much and ended up being a confused over bloated tale of black kids on a white college campus. It's not as if they didn't have choices. They could've gone to other schools. A movie that I thought was going to be about busting stereotypes was just very stereotypical.

Angry light skinned girl, who has to prove she's down for the cause.
Self hating brown skin girl.
Gay black man who doesn't fit in anywhere.
Weed smoking black students.
White kids who do what they want with no consequences.
A reality show.
Black guy dating a white girl to get a head.
Black parent telling his black son he has to be better than the white kids to get ahead.
An ending that was so predictable that it hurt.

*Yawn.
The YouTube videos are much better than the movie.

  1. The unexpected election of activist Samantha White as head of a traditionally black residence hall sets up a college campus culture war that challenges conventional notions of what it means to be black. While Sam leverages her notoriety as host of the provocative and polarizing radio show "Dear White People" to try to prevent the college from diversifying Armstrong Parker House, outgoing head-of-house Troy Fairbanks, son of the university's dean, defies his father's lofty expectations by applying to join the staff of Pastiche, the college's influential humor magazine. Lionel Higgins, an Afro-sporting sci-fi geek, is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture-a subject he knows little about-while the aggressively assimilated Coco Conners tries to use the controversy on campus to carve out a career in reality TV. But no one at Winchester University is prepared for Pastiche's outrageous, ill-conceived annual Halloween party, with its "unleash your inner Negro" theme throwing oil on an already smoldering fire of resentment and misunderstanding. When the party descends into riotous mayhem, everyone must choose a side.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Club Spotlight: Building Relationships Around Books

Book clubs keep authors in business.
Book clubs keep authors motivated.

And without book clubs, many of your favorite authors may have quit a long time ago. So, let's hear it for the book clubs!

This month, I want to highlight a club that started on Facebook, but has branched out with off line events for readers and one of the most active pages on the world wide web!





Building Relationships Around Books or BRAB is the brain child of Sharon Blount, who joins me today to talk about the club and, of course, books!

Sharon Blount, founder and president of BRAB, with author Keith Thomas Walker in Atlanta at the book club's reader's retreat. 

Why did you decide to start BRAB?


I was reading so many books and I did not have anyone I could talk to about it. At one point time, I did have a physical book club but it did not work out with me. Being a new mom at the time, meeting up became difficult. Years later, I still wanted a place where i could talk about book characters they are like family members without getting the side eye (lol ). I did some research about online book clubs and took the leap of faith and started Building Relationships Around Books in 2009 I am very proud to still be around.

When I was thinking about book club names, I asked myself what I wanted out of the book club. I wanted friendships that was built around books, that was actually the name I had.  I sat on it for a while and it just did not feel right. I was stuck for two weeks thinking, then one day I had the light bulb moment. How do you obtain a friendship you build on it, and BAM, there goes the name Building Relationships Around Books.


 What has been the biggest surprise for you about running your online book club?


The biggest surprise in running online book club is the amount of work it takes to run it property. I could have a book club where you don't have anyone talking just posting, but I knew I wanted more for BRAB than that. What's the point in having a book club if your not talking about your favorite books and characters.  Another thing I found surprising is the  sisterhood that comes along with running a book club. Every morning I look forward to chatting with the members. I met some wonderful women in the group that I now call sisters, my admins Ms. Prissy Parker and Denise Stokes, they help me run the group.  We are truly Building Relationships Around Books.


 Who was the first author that BRAB hosted?


Keith Thomas Walker was the first author BRAB hosted. I remember being so nervous talking to him I spelled his name wrong  even though I was looking right at it LOL. He was a sport about it gave me tips on running a group. Very proud to to say he's still a member of the group and a friend.

You just recently hosted a book club event in Atlanta, tell the readers about it and the next BRAB event.


Our recent event "A Readers Retreat A Southern Affair", was simply amazing we all had fun readers and authors.
Our actives ranged from character based baby shower where we threw a baby shower for our favorite fictional characters.  Yeah I know it sounds strange but everyone had a blast.  It was so much fun with games also with the donations of baby items we were able to help three different organizations for families in need. 
We had an author's Q& A with book signing and Award nomination party.  It was a weekend nobody would soon forget. Next year we are going to Las Vegas so you know it's going to be an event you don't want to miss!


What are the rules to joining your book club?


The rules to join BRAB are have a Facebook account. You have to love to read and talk about books. Most important of all BRAB is DRAMA FREE book club. Oh yeah be prepared to spend money we are all addicted to one clicking lol..



Want your book club highlighted? 
Email me at cherisfhodges@gmail.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chatting with Andrew Neiderman. . .carrying on the Legacy of VC Andrews

I must have been in the fifth grade when I discovered Flowers in The Attic by V.C. Andrews. It was a haunting story that had me wondering how could a mother and grandmother be so cruel. With each book, Petals on The Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday and Garden of Shadows, I fell deeper in love with this author and the world she created.

My favorite V.C. Andrews book has to be My Sweet Audrina. I'm thankful that Andrews legacy has been continued by writer, Andrew Neiderman.
Neiderman, author of one of my favorite books, The Devil's Advocate, joins me today to talk about the upcoming Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth and some exciting news about the Landry series.


What was the first full series you wrote as VC Andrews? 

Neiderman: I completed the Dollanganger series by writing Garden of Shadows and completed the Heaven series and everything since.

 


Tell the readers about the upcoming Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth (Dollanganger). What other secrets are left in the Foxworth Family? 

I can't reveal the secrets. That's for the readers to delightfully discover. They will enjoy some of the new twists and revelations and the new characters who are involved with the discovery of the diary. It's the first of a three book series.


What is your favorite part about carrying on the VC Andrews legacy? 

Meeting the fans worldwide and having the satisfaction of satisfying them.  Under my work, we have built the books from just under 30 million worldwide to now over 106 million in 95 countries.
 

 How has writing as VC Andrews changed Andrew Neiderman's writing?

 I taught creative writing for 20 years and was familiar with style and voice.  It has helped me build my own novels by building characters.  The next Neiderman novel is The Terrorist's Holiday out March 10.
 

What are your favorite VC Andrews books? 

Probably Ruby, the whole Landry series because of the research  involved. I spent time in the Cajun world to do it. Fascinating.  Now it will be developed as a television series.
 

 What's next on the horizon for you? 

 I  have written the stage play of Flowers in the Attic. It will be produced in England first next year. I am developing The Devil's Advocate as a stage musical in London as well. I just finished a new Neiderman novel, The Incident and we're now working on V.C. Andrews novels for 2016.
 

How can readers keep up with you online?  


The best way is the Official V.C. Andrews page right now on Facebook.
 

 

A message from Andrew: 

Why Did I Write Christopher’s Diary? By Andrew Neiderman  After writing V.C. Andrews novels now for over 27 years and developing a Facebook page for the fans that Facebook itself called the 7th most explosive in terms of its growth, I realized that
Flowers in the Attic and indeed the entire Dollanganger series has been and continues to be a phenomenon in the publishing world. If any title deserved a retrospect and revisit, it was surely this one. But it was important not to simply retell the story developed in Flowers in the Attic. Christopher’s Diary does give another prospective to the events. Christopher, as a character, has been seen only through Cathy’s eyes, and basically she assumes and interprets as would anyone, through her own perspective and subjective feelings about what’s happening to them throughout the series. Virginia Andrews did a wonderful job of fleshing out Cathy’s character and although limited obviously by her point of view, Christopher’s and Corrine’s characters especially. It was time to delve deeper into Christopher’s motivations. He is, we quickly see, an extraordinarily intelligent boy, far more mature than most his age. Like any child, he is not objective about his parents, but in Christopher’s Diary we see that he can be when it is necessary to be. His disappointments in his father and his mother become clearer and understandable for us. Most important, perhaps, we see more motivation for why and how he put up with his mother’s obvious lies. He battles the child in himself constantly, the urge to be optimistic and naïve, and eventually he faces the truths about his parents and most importantly, about himself. What a wonder all this can be when it is brought together with some of the mysteries not really solved in the Dollanganger series. Christopher’s Diary provides that. The second major reason for the novel is to develop the A-story, the story of the high school senior girl whose father while evaluating the ruins of Foxworth Hall discovers the diary. Couched now in what would be closer to reality if such an event as depicted in Flowers in the Attic really happened, Christopher’s Diary is full of discoveries for any reader. What the novel examines and personifies through the main character, Kristin Masterwood, is how readers through the decades reacted to reading Flowers in the Attic. The way the diary affects her is the way the novel affected the millions of readers who experienced it. There will be a great deal of understanding and the resurrection of feelings that were experienced. Christopher’s Diary reinforces therefore why Flowers in the Attic is a publishing phenomenon and will help it live on for decades to come.

Christopher's Diary now available to preorder.

Be the first to read it in print or e-book:
Amazon : http://amzn.to/1jXG90C BN: http://bit.ly/1ns9z9B Apple: http://bit.ly/1rd0qD7

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chatting with Orsayor Simmons of The Book Referees

You know what makes a book review amazing, when the reviewer isn't afraid to tell it like it is.

We as writers can learn from all book reviews, the good ones, the bad ones and even the ugly ones.
Today I have the pleasure of talking to a woman who knows good books and isn't afraid to talk about them.

Orsayor Simmons of The Book Referees  calls it like she sees it. (Yes, I stole her tag line. LOL)

She spoke to me about books and reviews as well as a secret project.

When did you decide to start reviewing books?

2008 - I wrote my first “review” on Amazon after reading a Carl Weber book.  That book was so good – I couldn’t keep it to myself.  It wasn’t until 2010 when I started Book Referees and the rest is history.

What is the worst way an author can try to get you to do a review?

The worse way an author can try to get a review from me is to friend me on Facebook – then start sending me purchase links to their book(s).  

Of the books you’ve reviewed, what are your top five favorites?

 Only 5? I will list the first 5 books that pop in my head…

  1. All of Brian W. Smith books (even the 3.5 star review)
  2. Dream Girl Awakened – Stacy Campbell
  3. Diary of A Stalker – Electa Rome Parks
  4. Parallel Pasts – Julia Blues
  5. Homecoming Weekend – Curtis Bunn 

Has an author ever thanked you for a bad review? 

Yes! I was actually surprised when it first happened because I’m used to authors reacting in a negative way. I have the utmost respect for authors who can take constructive criticism. 


What advice do you have to people who want to get into reviewing books?
 1. Create your own style. There’s nothing worse than seeing another reviewer copy another’s reviewer style.  
2. Do it for the love of reading. If you are doing it only to become friends with authors - then you have already failed.
 3. Be Honest – Don’t let your personal feeling interfere with your ratings. If the author gets mad at you for a low rating – that’s their problem not yours.  
4. Review with Respect – If you didn’t like the book – there’s no need to insult the book or the author. There’s always a way to voice your opinion respectfully.  
5. Grammar Check – There’s nothing worse than a book reviewer that doesn’t know how to spell or use their grammar correctly.  
6. Stay Humble – Check your EGO at the door.

What’s your favorite genre?

I read it all.


Have one of your favorite authors ever disappointed you with a book?

Wow! The word disappoint is such a harsh word. LOL!  I will say this… Yes! There have been a book or two from my favorite authors that have made me give them the side eye.

What are the things you look for when you review a book?

The first thing I look at is the book cover & title.  No disrespect to anyone, but I refuse to review books on my blog with nudity or the word BITCH/HOE/SLUT on the cover. When reviewing books I look for elements I think every good book should have: vivid settings, fresh plot/storyline, story structure, dialogue, character development, and proper grammar. (She did tell me that a parody of Gone Girl, titled Gone Bitch, might make it on the web site!)

Is there a proper way to write a review and what is it?
Yes!
Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about

Discuss what you particularly liked/disliked about the book

Summarize your review
Refrain from being harsh in your reviews. (ex: This book sucked... )
Don't be afraid to add your personality to your reviews.
Edit your reviews (How can you tell someone about their book - if you can't spell or compose a simple sentence)
Limit/Avoid Spoilers (Don't mention anything more than what the synopsis says - these days synopsis give away a lot of the book. Just be careful not to give away any key points) 


You read a lot; do you ever plan to write a book? 

I’m working on something. This project is very close to my heart, so I won’t share it with a soul. Not yet anyway!