I don’t know why, but I’ve got George Michael on the brain today so thought I’d pass it on and share a little Freedom Flashback with you.
I hope you enjoy.
Oh and I finally ordered new canvases from Easy Canvas Prints with my new self pubbed Creative Hearts Covers and they came in so I updated my wall of Almost Famous (please excuse the glare). I hope your Wednesday has been wonderful!
All the best,
My heart is full and I’m feeling so very grateful this Thanksgiving. Though the places and faces may be a different, the love never changes.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. And to show my thanks you can pick up Seduction’s Canvas for Free on Amazon for the next 2 days. Enjoy!
All the best and with love from me and the Jackster,
I can’t believe we’re already into the new week and talking about the holidays. I’m so not ready and right now I’ve got warm sand and the tropics on my mind as I try hard to get my current WIP finished. As a matter of fact I’ve made a vow to myself (that I’m already half breaking by writing this) that is it’s all new writing on my WIP this week. But no matter I had to pop by to let you all know about my big Kindle Countdown Deal sale on Through The Lens this week. For one week only you can pick up Through The Lens for only .99 cents!
Here is a short excerpt from Through The Lens:
She sucked in her stomach along with her breath and leaned back against the tree trunk closing her eyes. The slight pricks from the worn bark on her bare skin a welcome distraction to her anxiety. She listened to the sound of her own slightly too loud breathing and hoped Ale couldn’t hear it, too. But all too quickly it was replaced by the click, click, click of Ale’s shutter advancing. Fast. So fast. Mika’s eyes shot open. And there he was. Moving around her with the grace of a panther.
“My God, Mika.” He said her name like a prayer. Like she was a revelation to him. He shot the pictures as if they were an extension of his own breathing—and to him maybe it was.
She didn’t dare move. She just watched him, her eyes wide, her lips trembling.
His long finger moved quickly. Click, click click. She thought she could see his pulse jump beneath the beautiful muscle of his neck. “You’re so beautiful,” he whispered practically to himself.
“No, I’m not, but thank you,” she said softly.
At the sound of her voice Ale stopped shooting as if coming out of a trance. “Yes, you are. So very beautiful.”
She watched, heart skittering, as he put the camera down at his feet and came toward her.
This kiss wasn’t punishing and it wasn’t wet and it wasn’t to shut her up. And this time Mika welcomed the whimper that escaped her lips.
You can pick up Through The Lens HERE
All the best,
All the best,
Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to all why participated and helped me with honoring my Nana by sharing yesterday on the #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag on twitter. I was so thrilled with how it took off and can only hope that the powers that be in the industry were listening. Whenever the mood strikes please keep it going. I know I sure will as long as it takes and as long as still #WeNeedDiverseRomance. You can check out lots of the tweets here on Storify. It was my 1st time on Storify so I hope they were all collected. And as for the header? Not sure how Sorify picked that.
Now, speaking of diverse romance I love it when I can bring a new writer to ye old blog and today I’m super excited to have my friend and RWA NYC chapter mate Ursula Renee here on Ye Old Blog to discuss her fantastic historical debut novel Sweet Jazz. Thanks so much for being here today Ursula.
First off can you tell us a bit about your current work?
Sweet Jazz is an interracial romance that takes place in Harlem, New York in 1938.
The Big House’s “Coloreds Only” policy makes the club popular with Harlem residents. The same policy makes it harder for the owners to find and retain musicians. After four weeks of listening to saxophonists with bigger dreams than talent, the owners are ready to hire the first person who walks in and plays “one good note.” Their words come back to haunt them when Randy Jones auditions.
Many of the employees are not thrilled when Randy breaks the color barrier. He does find an ally in Cass, the club’s sassy singer, who goes out of her way to welcome him. Offstage, Cass Porter looks like a teenager, but when she sings she’s all woman. Inside, she’s been hurt badly and has determined never to love again.
As their relationship develops, life at the club for Randy becomes complicated when he has to fight both Cass’s fear of opening her heart and those who want to keep them apart.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I discovered the joys of writing after I wrote my first story when I was eight. Though I continued writing short stories, poems, and fan fiction, I did not considering pursung a career as an author until I started working on Sweet Jazz.
What characteristics are essential in a hero for you? And how about a heroine?
I like my heroes to be handsome, strong and confident. However, they also have to be willing to work with others and not insist on charging in to save the day alone.
A heroine should be strong, independent and smart. She should think before rushing into a situation that could potentially cause harm to her or others.
Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I write during my hour long commute in the mornings and evenings. I also try to schedule one weekend a month in which I focus entirely on my manuscript.
I think of myself as both a pantser and plotter. As soon as an idea pops into my mind, I have to get it down on paper. Once I have completed the first draft, I create an outline. I used this during the editing process to ensure that each plot point moves the story forward and the characters appear and act as I originally envisioned.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Do not give up.
There may be times when you feel as if everyone is against you – family and friends may laugh at you; editors tell you the manuscript does not work; or the words will not come to you. In either case, stop, take a deep breath and remember that success does not come to those who quit.
That is perfect advice. Thanks so much! What can readers expect next from you?
I am working on an interracial romance set in 1957, between a first generation Italian-American and a Filipino/African-American.
Fantastic! And now friends an excerpt from Sweet Jazz:
Cass rolled her eyes as she slid a sheet of paper across the table. He glanced down at the sketch of an older woman standing next to a piano. She wore an evening gown, and her hair was pulled back in a bun, with a feather ornament holding the style in place.
“The Big House is proud to feature Cass, with music by The Big House Band,” Randy read. He
glanced from the paper to her, then back at the paper. He recognized the similarities in the facial features, but it couldn’t be possible. “You can’t be the same Cass.”
“No other Cass here.”
“Your momma lets you work here?” Randy asked as he handed back the flyer.
He knew some parents did not care what their children did as long as they were out of the way.
However, allowing a young girl to work in a club was beyond neglectful.
“My momma doesn’t have much say in the matter, seeing as how she’s down south,” Cass said, placing the paper on the table.
“That’s where she lives.”
“What about your relatives?”
“They’re down there, too.”
Randy lowered his foot to the floor and straddled the chair. He needed to sit down. There was no way she was up there by herself.
“Don’t you have someone lookin’ after you?”
“I’ve been looking after myself for six years.”
“Six years? Girl, you jokin’? You can’t be no older than…what…sixteen? seventeen?”
Twenty-two? It explained why she got away with arguing with Junior, but, still… Randy slowly glanced from the ankle socks and canvas shoes on her feet to her two braids. She looked as if she should be playing with dolls or jumping rope, not singing in a club.
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Ursula can be found on the web at:
And you can buy Sweet Jazz here:
All the best,
P.S. Sidebar: I’ll be appearing at Between The Covers in Riverdale NY on Monday 11/17 from 7-9 reading an excerpt from BOUNCE (I’ll try and find a spicy scene) And I’ll have some copies to sign! So if you are in upper Manhattan come on out! Details are here.
I don’t do well when confronted with myself. Ultra critical, when I look in the mirror it’s the faults I see first, though I’m probably not all that special in that regard. But wait, it goes further. So cringe worthy is my self-reflection, that I find the sound of my own voice, intolerable and I won’t even do the recording on our home’s answering machine. That said, you can imagine how I feel about doing public readings or private ones for that matter, as I loathe the sound of my own voice even more when it’s chiming my own words back at me. Taking every flaw that was a mere whisper in my mind and scraping it out, long and slow like nails shimmying then quick skipping along a chalk board.
All that said, still, many months ago I went and entered my self-published book BOUNCE in the New Jersey Romance Writer’s Golden Leaf contest. The contest where the winner is announced in a crowded ballroom, full of edge of their seat romance writers waiting with baited breath to hear the winners words being read by the iconic, Anne Frazier Walradt. Why would I do such a thing? Me, a person with severe stage phobia who also doesn’t like to hear her own stories read aloud? It makes no sense.
Well, the answer isn’t all that deep. You see, I’d been the New Jersey Romance writer’s conference many times before and like so many others I always wished I was one of ‘the ones’. Those chosen special few who for that year got to get the applause, but more than anything got to have their work read so beautify by Anne. Each passage a perfect literary triumph. So I entered, and this is where it gets a little confusing, because if truth be told, I’m sure I entered, despite my phobias because I well and truly never expected my entry to get very far. You see I entered expecting to lose. I’m a wisher in the worst sense of the word. I make my wish and instantly negate it with a ‘and that will never happen’ on the back end on the wish.
So long story short I entered. I entered and I made a halfhearted wish upon my entry, I’m sure backing it up with my seal of doubt and then I let it go. But then, way later, a strange thing happened. I got a call that I, me, well someone by the name of K.M. Jackson had finaled in the contest. It was a total OMG, Snoopy dance and then what in the world can this really be real moment. The Universe must surly be playing a joke on me. Someone had took my wish and broken the seal of doubt. My system was good and truly wrecked.
But I went with it. And pulling up my big girl pants I, for the most part, slipped it to the back of my mind, telling myself that I was a not one of ‘The Ones’. That this was great and great was as good as it was gonna get so just roll with that and be happy. When friends told me to prepare an acceptance speech I laughed at them, saying what was the point. Preparing a speech took my wish and edged to closer to the dream category and dreams have a way of wiggling under your skin, making you put work behind them as you think they could possibly come true and I wasn’t ready to let that happen. Remember my phobias and I was fine with wishing ThankYouVeryMuch. So while I was wishing I was mentally working on my perfect Oscar clap and smile for the real winner for when I didn’t hear my words read by Anne.
Finally, it was the big moment. I was sitting with my friends, trying my best to look cool as we were waiting for my category to be called. I had it all together in my head and if things would go according to my fool proof unscientific calculations there was no possible way I could be the winner. I had my clap and smile ready and waiting. The Wisher was firmly in her lane. But then it happened. Anne walked up to the podium and I heard the first few words …
“Sean reaches over and pulls my body in close to his, cradling my backside into his groin. He’s sleeping soundly, but his erection is strong and wide-awake.”
Holy crap, she was reading from BOUNCE! I inwardly groan with embarrassment as my inner critic raised her hand to poke me in the ribs (who in the world opens a book like that?!) while at the same time my heart leaped with joyous pride. This was it. This is not my wish moment but my dream coming true. There were cameras and eyes turned my way but all I could hear was my own voice telling myself to focus. Just listen to Anne. Hear the words that I wrote. And you know what? They never sounded so good.
Thank you to Anne Frazier Walradt and the New Jersey Romance Writers for a night I will cherish forever.
And for making a Dream come true.
All the best,
P.S. Thank you to all who entered. The Winner of my Creative Hearts Giveaway is Jackie Roberts! Congratulations Jackie. Please email me at kwanawrites @ Yahoo. Com with your information so that I can send you your gift card.
I’m all full of the feelings today because today is the official launch day, well, the re-lunch day of my Creative Hearts Series under my own banner! I am now my own publisher and the series has a sleek and sexy new look thanks to the genius that is Mae Phillips at Cover Fresh Designs.
Meet the men of The Creative Hearts… Alejandro, Mark & Nick.
As of now the books are all available in E format through Amazon and will roll out to other vendors in the months to come. The print versions will be available coming in November so look out for that announcement soon.
Please be sure to sign up for my Newsletter to stay on top of all my breaking news. Just click here or the box on your left to sign up and leave a comment in the blog comments section to let me know you signed up and tell me which Creative Heart hero you think would be your favorite to be entered in the 10.00 Amazon Gift Card giveaway. It’s that easy and I trust you to sign up.
Please Tweet about the Giveaway or share on Facebook and tell me about it for an extra entry. Don’t forget to leave your email contact info in the comments. Winner will be announced on Monday 10/20.
Through The Lens (Creative Hearts: Book 1)
Mika Walters is a normal-sized woman working in the not-so-normal world of New York fashion. As longtime assistant to uber-sexy photographer Alejandro Vega, she’s tired of being the girl in the background. Just once she wants Alejandro to look at her with the same smoldering look he gives to his willowy models and now she has her chance. Stranded. After a travel mishap where the rest of the crew and the models can’t make the remote island location shoot for another three days, Mika is taking her moment to catch Alejandro’s eye and put herself in front of his camera and if all goes to plan, his bed . . . at least until the real world catches up with them. Alejandro doesn’t know what’s gotten into Mika. Maybe it’s the sand, maybe it’s the sun, but he doesn’t really care. All he knows is that he’s finally opened his eyes and is seeing her clearly for the first time as the smart, gorgeous, and incredibly irresistible woman she is. But why can’t she realize that what he’s feeling for her is not one of his usual one, well, three night stands. This is real. Real love, real passion. What’s it going to take for him to prove to Mika that she’s the woman he wants? Now and forever.
Seduction’s Canvas (Creative Hearts: Book 2)
“I want to paint you” Artist Samara Leighton had wanted to say those words to the sexy motorcycle rider who lived in the building ever since she first laid eyes on him nearly a year ago. But now that the words were out she couldn’t stop her heart from beating wildly in her chest.
“Honey, you don’t have enough paint to cover me.” Security specialist Mark Thorn didn’t mean to come off as a hard ass. As a matter of fact, he wanted nothing more than to let the tempting artist from across the hall do whatever she wanted to him and then some. But her haughty demeanor left the normally cool rider off his game.
Samara knew this was her only chance to live out her long-standing fantasy and she wasn’t going to let it slip through her fingers. She had very little time before her show was done and the pressure of her family legacy meant she would finally go through with living out her life under the umbrella of the Leighton name and its responsibilities. There would be no more downtown jaunts, lazy museum afternoons, and evenings spent lost in the magic of color and her canvases. And definitely no time spent holding tight to the muscular form of her dark rider while the horrors of her past and her cares drifted further away with each mile of road they covered.
Threads Of Desire (Creative Hearts: Book 3)
Sexy fashionista Gabrielle Russell has been challenging Nick Ross most of his life and now is no exception. A top financial analyst, Nick has been dating his boss’s daughter and he’s on the fast track to turning his five-year marathon into a three-year sprint. But life throws him a curve when he finds his perfect girlfriend curled up in a very un-zen like position with her yoga instructor. Faced with this awkward downward dog, Nick heads to the only place he can think of – his brother Steve’s place – only to be stuck face to hips, thighs, lips, just about everything with his roommate, Gabby. She’s the habit Nick just can’t shake. The one that got away and she won’t let him forget it.
Gabrielle is frustrated. She’s been banging it out for years as a curvy girl trying to make her creative mark on the exclusive world of New York fashion and she’s hit a brick wall both personally and professionally. Now stuck in a dead end job designing jersey pantsuits for wannabe mafia wives while dodging the advances of her boss’s son, she doesn’t know how to get out of the hole she’s dug for herself. At least she has a bit of peace in the small apartment she shares with her childhood friend and roommate, Steve.
Or she did until Nick Ross – Mr. Perfection and her own devastation, the one who broke her heart and almost broke her spirit – walked in. And now he’s back and looking for a place to camp out while he gets his life back on track. Well, she’s got news for him: She’s not the same girl she was all those years ago when just a look would send her heart stuttering. Okay, maybe she is, but now maybe it’s time the tables were turned on the unflappable Nick Ross.
As always thank you so much for all your cheering and support. You all are the BEST!
You can pick up your copies of the books here:
All the best,
Today on ye old blog I’m so happy to have a friend who also happens to be a fabulous author, Jamie Wesley here to chat about books, writing and her debut release from Entangled publishing called Tell Me Something Good.
Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for being here today. It’s a real treat. First off can you tell us a bit about Tell Me Something Good?
Thank you, Kwana, for having me and absolutely, I’ll tell you about my book! TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD is an enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance that takes place in the world of talk radio. It’s funny and sexy (in my opinion anyway). Here’s the blurb:
Two radio show hosts. One show. Who will come out on top?
In a moment of restlessness, Tate Grayson sold his multimillion-dollar company and spun his love of sports into a radio talk show. Life, and love, is too short to take seriously—a fact he enjoys rubbing in uptight radio host Noelle Butler’s face.
After the death of her parents, a tragedy she blamed on herself, Noelle vowed to live a controlled, focused life. Now a psychologist, she channels her need for connection into her radio show. But when the arrogant sportscaster next door tells listeners men shouldn’t get married, she’s all too happy to yank the silver spoon out of his overprivileged mouth.
Their heated on-air arguments are a hit, but when the station director forces them to do a joint show for two weeks, Tate and Noelle object. They can’t stand each other, despite the attraction sizzling beneath every interaction. But if they can’t pull the struggling radio station back from the brink, they’ll lose their jobs. Or worse, their hearts.
What inspired you to write this story? The song Tell Me Something Good naturally!
Three years ago, I was driving home from work, flipping through radio stations, when Tell Me Something Good came on. As I was singing along to it, it occurred to me that Tell Me Something Good would be a great title for a book.
I had no characters, no plot. Just a title. But it didn’t stay that way for long.
“Tell Me,” I thought. “Tell Me” led me to “talk” and then “talk radio.” And boom, I had an idea! What if two radio show talk hosts who couldn’t stand each other were forced to do a show together?
Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? I’m a pantser, but I have to have some idea of the plot before I start. I’m not one to sit down at the computer with two characters and just write. I need to know something like they don’t like each other, but they have to work together at their radio station. With that said, I don’t plot the whole story out because – A. I can’t. I might have a general idea of what happens in the first few chapters, but chapter 8? No idea. And the quickest way for me to get frustrated and blocked is to try to figure out what happens in chapter 8 before I start the story. B. I lose interest if I know the entire story beforehand. I feel like I’ve already written it.
Care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers? Funny how long “overnight” takes, isn’t it? I graduated college in 2002. While I searched for a job, it occurred to me that as much as I love reading romance, I should try my hand at writing one. I’d always loved writing, and English was always my best subject. At one point, I thought I was going to be a journalist.
I had an idea for a story, but I got halfway through the book only to realize I had no idea what happened next. I got a job and put it aside. In 2009, I took it back out and finished it. It only took 7 years to figure out the ending! Lol. I tried to get it published in 2010. That’s when I realized that the publishing industry can be the very definition of frustrating. You submit and wait. And then the editor who had your story leaves, but doesn’t pass it along before departing, so you submit again, only to have the same thing happen again.
Anyway, while I waited, I wrote some more stories. I knew my writing was getting better and I got some confirmation in 2012 when I was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest. Surely now, I would be published! Except no. I received rejections from agents and a few publishers, which sucked, but didn’t defeat me. The rejections just meant I had to get better. I knew the story was good, but it could be better. So I set it aside and worked on other things. Eventually, I came back to it. I worked on it, then gave it to a friend for a critique. She did a great job and I worked on the book some more until I thought it was ready. In 2013, I submitted it to Entangled Publishing and had an acceptance less than a week later. That book was TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD.
As for the first book I wrote? It eventually got rejected and it’s now tucked away on my computer hard drive. I still like the plot, but the writing isn’t up to the standard I’ve set for myself. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it.
Who are some of your favorite writers that have influenced you? I’ve been reading Nora Roberts for over 20 years. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Brenda Jackson, Julie James. So yes, the biggest names in contemporary romance. Lol. But there’s the reason they are the biggest names. They’re terrific writers. And this is by no means a complete list.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers? Read the books/authors you love and try to figure out why you love them. Know that you’ll get frustrated and there will be setbacks, but don’t give up. Strive to be a better writer today than you were yesterday.
Lastly, what can readers expect next from you? I’m working on the sequel to TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m going to refer to it as #notabadthing on Twitter. Yes, that’s in reference to Justin Timberlake’s song. The hero is having the hardest time convincing the heroine that he’s worth the risk. She may have her doubts, but my money is on the hero.
Thanks so much once again for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure.
No, thank you! I had an amazing time! As a thank you, I’d like to offer an e- copy of TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD to one of your readers. All they have to do to enter the contest is tell me the biggest curveball a boss has ever thrown at them (please put your contact info in your comment).
Here’s an excerpt from TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD:
She looked up. “I’m fine. Truly.” She grasped his hand on her cheek with hers and squeezed.
Tate stared into her beautiful, gray eyes. All he could see was her. All he wanted to see was her. His eyes slipped to her slightly parted full lips. His breath quickened as the pull between them strengthened. A force he was much too weak to continue resisting.
He lowered his head. A hand to his chest stopped him. He stilled, hoping she didn’t push him away. Hoping she did—to save him from himself. She didn’t. Instead, she gripped the shirt and slowly pulled him to her.
“Oh, man,” she whispered right before his lips met hers.
Lust he expected, but not the overwhelming sweetness and rightness that punched him in the gut. He slid his hand to her chin and tilted it up, seeking a better angle. She wrapped her left arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer. She sighed, a tiny sound that acted as a drug to his senses. He took advantage, slipping his tongue inside her mouth.
They shared a moan. He kept the kiss slow and languid, learning the shape and feel of her. What she liked. But his tactic did nothing to blight how mind-blowing the kiss was. Overwhelming desire filled every pore of his being. If her moans and her active participation were indications, Noelle felt the same.
He slid his hands down her back to her ass, cupped it, and drew her into his body. She went willingly and gasped into his mouth as his rock-hard erection made contact with her stomach.
He grinned against her mouth. Yeah, he wanted her. Bad. A swipe of her tongue against his bottom lip had him going back for more, the embrace turning harder.
Had a kiss ever felt so good, so right? So perfect?
Connect with me at:
Don’t forget to comment folks. A winner will be announced on Monday!
All the best,
I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Though the weather was a little gloomy and muggy, spirits were still high and I had a great time signing books with the fantastic Laura Curtis.
I love meeting readers and making new friends!
We even saw Waldo!
Now it’s time to get back to the writing grind as the words wait for no one and I’d better use ‘em while I have ‘em but first…
please join me in wishing a very Happy Birthday to my beautiful and amazing mother.
Happy Birthday Ma! I love you with all my heart.
We all do. Keep shining bright!
Happy New Week! Woke up to the chill of Fall making its breezy presence known and giving this last week of Summer a run for its money. Looking up, I wonder how long before the leaves change and then the trees are bare, creating a new view to marvel on. As for now don’t forget to look up and enjoy the view you have today. It may not be the same tomorrow.
To usher in Fall in a bookish way, this Sunday, September 21st from 10-12am I’ll be out once again with members of RWA/NYC at the Brooklyn Book Festival promoting the romance genre and I’ll have copies of BOUNCE for sale! During my time slot I’ll be sharing a table with the fantastic Laura K. Curtis who will also have some of her great books for sale. If you are in the New York area come on out and join us at Booth #816 for a fabulous bookish day.
All the best,