Saturday, March 25, 2006

AUTHOR INTRO - Bettye J. Jamerson

Bettye J Jamerson is an inspirational/motivational speaker. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio/Television Communications from Arkansas State University. She has held positions as Operations Manager/ Writer/Producer / Host for Christian Radio/Television. Bettye is President and Executive Director of Change-A-Life Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Park Hill Progressive Academy. Bettye’s life is devoted to empowering the lives of our children. Love: The Greatest Choice of All is her second book. Bettye resides in Colorado with her husband and two children.

Love: The Greatest Choice of All:

At a time when many feel overwhelmed by unnecessary man-made wars and traumatic natural devastations, Love: The Greatest Choice of All is a book which should be read by everyone from Hurricane Katrina victims to presidents of powerful nations. The author summarizes; when facing challenges, "love never fails."

To truly say and know that we love someone, you must go past the surface of feelings, emotional ties, and attachments we share with each other. Because love is a choice, our emotions become irrelevant in the sense that we must feel like we love someone.

Website address:

Friday, March 24, 2006


Bag Lady
Alethea M. Pascascio
Publication Date: April 21, 2006
Queen Publications

Monday, March 20, 2006

EXCERPT: The Amen Sisters

The Amen Sisters
Angela Benson

“You’re a liar, Toni,” Francine Amen said, forcing a calmness she didn’t feel to project in her voice. She pressed her palms down on the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room in the two-bedroom apartment that she shared with her childhood friend Toni Roberts. “I don’t believe you.”

Toni, standing on the dining room side of the counter, took a step closer to her roommate. “Why would I lie to you, Francie? Tell me that.”
The plea in her friend’s soft brown eyes was almost more than Francine could bear. “I know you, remember? You and me go way back. It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve lied about something like this.” Francine didn’t turn away from the stricken look on her friend’s face. She knew her words needed to be spoken. “Well, if we’re talking about truth here, we should talk about truth.”
Toni wrapped her arms around her midsection and said, “You may not believe me, Francie, but I am pregnant and Bishop Payne is the father. We’ve been having an affair for months.”
Francine laughed a dry laugh. “An affair? Come off it, Toni. Bishop told us all how you’ve been coming on to him. And you know what? He didn’t condemn you for it. He asked us to pray for you. And what do you do to him in return? You come up with these lies. I pray to God you haven’t told anyone else this pack of garbage. That man has a wife and kids, and all of them have done nothing but love you. You have to know the damage these lies of yours will do to them.”
“I’m not lying, Francie,” Toni said, her eyes clouding with tears. “You know me,” she pleaded.
“You have to believe me. I knew nobody else would believe me. I’ve known for weeks now, and I’ve wanted to tell you so badly, but I just couldn’t. I know what people say about me around here. I’ve overheard them saying I’m not a real Christian, that I don’t have the fire. I heard it from them, but I never thought I’d hear it from you. You’re the one who shared the gospel with me. You’re the one who told me that life in Christ could be different. You know I’ve changed.”
Francine’s heart ached for her friend, but she couldn’t let emotions deter her. Toni had to suffer the consequences of her actions. Tough love was exactly that—tough. “If you’ve been having an affair with Bishop like you say you have, then you haven’t changed that much, after all, have you?”
Toni turned away, seeming to deflate right before Francine’s eyes. “You know how he is, Francie. He can be so charming. I loved him as the man of God he seemed to be, and then I simply loved him. It was like I couldn’t help myself.”
“I don’t believe you and neither will anyone else. I don’t know what you think you’re going to get out of this.”
Toni turned back to her. “I need a friend, Francie. I need someone to hear me out, be on my side. He wants me to have an abortion. He said he’ll deny anything ever happened between us.”
“I can’t help you, Toni. I won’t be a party to whatever game it is you’re playing.”
“But you’re all I have,” Toni pleaded. “I can’t go back home now. This would kill George and
Momma. I have nowhere else to turn.”
Francine inhaled deeply. “Not this time, Toni. Not this time. I’ve stood by you through a lot of your drama, most of it of your own making, but not this time. This time you’re on your own.”
Toni opened her mouth as if to defend herself, but then she shook her head. “What does it matter?” she said, the defeat in her voice wrenching Francine’s heart.
As Francine watched, Toni turned her petite frame away and headed off, shoulders slumped, toward her bedroom. Francine closed her eyes and issued a brief prayer on Toni’s behalf. She didn’t know what had gotten into Toni, but she prayed her friend would soon see the error of her ways and repent. Francine loved her, but she couldn’t support her. Not this time. She and Toni had grown up together, been friends for as long as Francine could remember, but Francine had to face facts. Toni wasn’t ready to give her life to the Lord, and Francine couldn’t be held back because of it. She heaved a deep sigh, knowing that even though it hurt, she had done the right thing. She could have ignored Toni’s actions, but that would not have been love. She knew from Psalms that the harsh truth from a friend was better than sweet words from an enemy.
As she reached for the phone to call Cassandra, her friend and prayer partner, to tell her about the conversation with Toni, Francine heard what sounded like the backfire of a car, followed by a loud thump, both coming from the direction of Toni’s room. Wondering what Toni was doing to make such noise, Francine forgot the phone and headed for her friend’s room. When she got no answer to her knock, she turned the doorknob. She screamed as she realized the sound she’d heard hadn’t been the backfire of a car at all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Angela Benson:
I'm an author with a full-time job as a university professor. Kensington Books published my first novel, Bands of Gold, back in 1994 during the launch year of Arabesque Books, their ground-breaking line of romances featuring African-Ameircan heroes and heroines. In total, I published five romance novels and one romance novella with Arabeseque during the 1994-1997 timeframe. BET Books (now Harlequin Books) is scheduled to release a collection of three of those early books (Bands of Gold, For All Time and Between the Lines) in April 2006. I also published two novels with Silhouette Books which were recently re-issued. My first Christian fiction titles were Christian romances. Awakening Mercy (Tyndale House Publishers) hit bookshelves in 2000. It was a finalist for both the RITA Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction. Abiding Hope (Tyndale), winner of the EMMA Award for Excellence in Romance Fiction, followed in 2001. My third and most recent Christian fiction title, The Amen Sisters (Walk Worthy Press, 2005), marks my entry into what is considered mainsteam Christian fiction.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

At its most basic, The Amen Sisters is a story of recovery from an abusive church situation. The main character, Francine Amen, left her home and her family to follow a ministry that she believed was doing the work of God, only to find that the pastor and the church had secrets that would lead to the death of one of her closest friends. In her recovery, she has to return home and mend fences with her sister, Dawn (who’s now married to Francine’s ex-fiancé), the church family she left behind, and the family of her dead friend. Francine finds the world she left behind in a bit of turmoil and she can’t help but blame herself for some of the problems. As she tries to make things right in the present, she finds that she must first make peace with what happened in the past.

SORMAG: What aspect of God do you most hope readers will take away after reading your book?

I want people to know that the situations they face aren't unique, that others have been through what they're going through and survived. I want them to know that no situation they face is bigger than God and that God's hand is always outstretched to help them. I want to remind them that God's help, most times, comes through the His people. Sometimes we miss His help because we look for it in the wrong place. Finally, I want readers to see that because of what they've endured they're now in a position to help others.

SORMAG: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of a character after the novel is finished?

Not really. Usually, I'm ready to see the character go. Readers tend to want to see them again so I try to accommodate them by bringing old characters back in cameo roles where appropriate.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love it when the book is flowing and the words just come and I love it when the book is finished. I hate the uncertainty and insecurity that I feel with each book when the words aren't flowing and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish the book. I've learned to tolerate both ends of the spectrum because they make up my process.

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Building a readership takes time and planning. While some writers "pop" with their first or second book, most writers build their readership slowly one book at a time. A good agent can help you begin to do this with your first book. Unfortunately, good agents are tough to find.

SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?

Take responsibility for your book's promotion. Don't rely solely on what your publisher. Some simple things you can do is compile a mailing list and create a web presence. You can also join a national writer's group of some kind. The Author's Guild ( provides workshops on various topics, including promotion. So does Romance Writers of America ( and other genre organizations. You need to plug into an organization of people who are already doing promotion so that you can learn from them.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

Now I could write an entire article on that one. I use Publishers Marketplace ( to keep up to date on who's selling what to whom as well as to keep track of my book stats on and The membership is $20/month and well worth it, in my opinion. I use Bible Gateway ( to search for scriptures as well as to make sure that I've quoted them correctly. and are my favorite search engines and I use them a great deal to find out who's talking about me and my books on the Internet.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

New writers should know that publishing really is a business and they should treat it as such. Don't think of writing as your second job; think of it as your business and think of publishers and agents as your business partners.

SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?

Believe it or not, I can't remember any specific book that I read as a child. I know I read a lot, but I don't remember any titles. I do remember stories that I wrote. My favorite was, My Interview with the Jackson 5. I was a fifth grader when I wrote it and I was completely convinced that one day I would marry Jermaine Jackson. All I can say is, "His loss." (smile)

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I welcome all readers to visit my web site at There's a link on the site to send me email and you can also post comments to any of the blog messages You can also send email directly to but I have such a horrible problem with SPAM that I may miss it. If you use the form on the web site, I won't miss the message.

Saturday, March 18, 2006




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Sunday, March 12, 2006


Shades Of Romance Magazine: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Deatri King-Bey: I have three daughters and have been married for eighteen years to the greatest man in the world. I live outside of Chicago, but was raised further down state in Decatur, IL. I love to be outdoors, so much so that my family teases me for “watching the grass grow.”

I’m a fiction content editor by trade and love working with authors. Being an author on the other end of the editing spectrum was quite interesting for me. I do my own writing at least two hours a day and read one novel a week for pleasure. Science Fiction, Fantasy and romance are my favorite genres. I’m even writing a fantasy romance and have written a science fiction romance.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

KING-BEY: How would you feel if your beloved father turned out not to be your father? Then you find out he used to launder money for the number one drug syndicate in the world. Don’t stop there… What if your biological father turned out to be the head of the drug syndicate the man you thought was your father worked for?

Needless to say, Rosa Bolívar, the heroine in my novel Caught Up, brings in her thirtieth year with a bang. Then the DEA comes to her and says Ernesto Bolívar, the man she thought was her biological father, is presently the number two man in the largest drug syndicate in the world. Though Rosa’s faith in Ernesto has been shaken, she knows the DEA is wrong and sets out to prove he’s a changed man. Unfortunately, she may be wrong, thus DEA agent Samson Quartermaine has appointed himself her protector.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

KING-BEY: If you do not face and deal with the demons from your past, they will catch up with you and eventually run you over. Each main character in Caught Up is running from some issue (demon) in his/her past. Some choose to stop running and confront, other’s choose to keep running.

SORMAG: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of a character after the novel is finished?

KING-BEY: Not really. I think that’s because I work on two or three books at a time.

SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?

KING-BEY: I’m used to seeing the publishing experience through the eyes of an editor, but seeing it from the eyes of an author was nerve racking at first. Just because you can edit, doesn’t mean you have that natural creative umph you need to be a good writer. Overall my experience was very good. I plan to do it again, and again, and again… LOL.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

KING-BEY: Wow, there are so many great sites out there. Here are a few any writer could use. I don’t know how anything works. If you are anything like me, this is a great spot to start your research. A great spot to start your research, this site contains almanacs, an encyclopedia, atlas, dictionary, thesaurus, white pages… My favorite sections are the almanacs and atlas. If you want the climate in your novel to be accurate, this is the place to go. It even has sunrise and sunset times, moon illumination… You can pick a particular date… The Yahoo group associated with this website is excellent. I’m talking writing articles and exercises, industry news, great community…

SORMAG: What’s it like to hold your first book?

KING-BEY: Unbelievable!!!! I remember when I received a copy of the first book I edited. I still have a copy of the cover in my scrapbook. I was soooo excited I about fainted! Okay, so I still feel this huge surge of pride and excitement when one of the books I’ve edited hits the shelves. Well quadruple that feeling, then multiply it by a zillion, and you just about have the feeling of holding your first book.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

KING-BEY: The aspect I love the best is developing the plot. I can’t STAND writing the synopsis (ssshhhh don’t tell anyone).

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

KING-BEY: I didn’t start submitting until I had been in the business for a few years, so I was fortunate enough to learn from others’ mistakes. The main issue I saw when I worked in acquisitions was people would submit work that definitely would not fit our publishing house. Aspiring writers… make that writers period… do yourself a favor and read books from the publishing houses you wish to submit to. See if your work would fit in that house and where. This will help reduce on the rejection letters you receive.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

KING-BEY: I can be reached at or

Deatri King-Bey
2405 Essington RD. Unit B
PMB 212
Joliet, IL 60435
Or catch me on the web at

I’d just like to take a second to thank LaShaunda for everything she has done for the writing community. I joined her online forum years ago when I first decided to get serious about writing. She has helped so many of us, and I am truly grateful for her.
As always, Much Joy Peace and Love
Deatri King-Bey

EXCERPT: Caught Up

Caught Up
Deatri King-Bey

Six years later
Florida, June 1

A corrections’ officer escorted David from his prison cell along the hallway into a small office just outside of the death-row unit. “You’ve only got five minutes,” the guard said as he unshackled David’s hands from behind his back.

David massaged his wrists. He didn’t know who Ernesta Wells was, how she organized this call, or why, and he didn’t care. He’d do anything for a temporary reprieve from his twenty-three hour, seven-day-a-week cage. Legs bound in chains, he shuffled across the office straight to the phone sitting on the messy desk. He unfolded the little slip of paper the guard had given him earlier and placed his call.

“What do you want?” he barked into the line.
“Is that you, David?” came a hushed female voice he couldn’t quite place. Whoever she was, she must have had plenty of money to be able to set up this call. He’d always taken good care of his women. Since his time was drawing near, maybe one of them had called for old time’s sake.
“Yeah. I’m busy. What the hell do you want?” He watched the corrections’ officer pace about the room, acting as if he weren’t listening to the conversation.
“I have something important to tell you that I won’t say over the phone. I’m being put on someone else’s guest list, but I have made arrangements to see you.”
The more she spoke, the more certain he was that he knew the voice. “Damn, after they hear this call, you actually believe they gonna let me see you?”
“I’m not stupid! I paid a hell of a lot of money to ensure we aren’t recorded. The only reason I’m calling is to make sure I have the ins I’ve been promised. Now that we’ve spoken, I see this was money well spent. I’ll see you in a few days.” She disconnected the line.
* * *
Chicago, June 1
Rosa stepped off the elevator and walked down the corridor to her mother’s condo. She checked her watch—8:47. Harriet didn’t usually wake until noon, but Rosa had a lot to do before Ernesto arrived in town. She’d told her mother she’d be by before nine. Harriet was so forgetful; Rosa hoped that she remembered.
She ran her hands over her short-cropped hair, straightened her gold crinkle skirt and rang the doorbell. To her surprise, Harriet opened the door immediately, with a big smile on her face and her arms opened wide.
“Happy birthday, Rosa!” Harriet hugged Rosa, then ushered her in and shut the door.
“Good morning, Mom.” Rosa was glad Harriet had remembered she’d be arriving early, but looking into her mother’s hazel, bloodshot eyes, hurt Rosa’s heart. Another reason she’d wanted to visit Harriet early was so she’d see her before Harriet got drunk.
“This waking up at the crack of dawn business is highly overrated. I’ve made coffee.” She held out her mug. “You want a cup?”
Over the years, the dash of Kahlúa and brandy Harriet put in her coffee had changed to a dash of coffee in her Kahlúa and brandy. Disappointed Harriet couldn’t stay sober for this special day, Rosa declined.
“Well, you have me up. Let’s make the best of it and go shopping. My treat. It’s your birthday!”
“Thanks, Mom, but I have a lot of work to do. Maybe another time. Why do you have it so dark in here?” Rosa went from window to window, opening the curtains. “You have a prime unit on the corner, lots of windows, yet you choose to live in a cave.” She stood with her hands on her hips. “Now, that’s much better.”
The light poured in through the bay windows, bringing the place to life. Rosa had decorated her mother’s home in soft shades of baby blue and pastel green. The three-bedroom condo had more than enough room for Harriet.
“Are Ernesto and his whore in town yet?”
Rosa approached her mother, then sank onto the plush suede sectional, readying herself for her mother’s tirade about how no good men were, especially her father. True to form, fifteen minutes later Harriet had connected every problem she had in her life to Ernesto.
“…How can you stand by him after all he’s done to me?” Harriet stared into her Kahlúa brandy concoction. “He’s turned you against me.”
“No one’s turned me against you. I love you. I just wish we could talk about anything besides how much you hate Daddy.”
Harriet pointed an accusing finger at Rosa. “There you go taking his side again. He took everything from me and humiliates me at every turn, yet you continue singing his praises…”
Rosa glanced around at the works of art, the handcrafted furniture, the oriental rugs, and the designer fixtures. Unsure of how to keep things from becoming worse but knowing things couldn’t remain the same, she massaged her temples.
“…When you were a child, you couldn’t understand what was going on between Ernesto and me. You’re grown now. There’s no excuse for you taking his side. He cheated on me with that whore, threw me out of my home in the middle of the night, and stole my child from me.”
Harriet’s words worked like an air pump. Each word filled Rosa with anguish, resentment and pain. Maximum capacity reached, Rosa felt as if she’d explode.
“I don’t have to defend his actions,” she said with a calmness she didn’t feel as she unbuttoned the second to top button on her blouse.
“They can’t be defended. That bastard—”
“Don’t say another word!”
Shock replaced the anger on Harriet’s face.
Rosa tilted her head to the side and scrunched up her face. “Who paid for this condo and everything in it? That bastard. You say you’re sick. Let me tell you what I’m sick of. I’m sick of the lies. You’ve repeated them so much you actually believe them. You were the one cheating on Daddy, not the other way around. You are the one who left us, not the other way around. You are the one who continually pushes me away, not Daddy.”
“He’s filled your head with lies about me. He’s twisted the story and has you believing I’m the monster when it’s him. He wouldn’t even let you visit me after you moved to Miami.”
“Daddy has never spoken a negative word about you to me. He thinks you need help. It’s you who’s always putting him in the negative light. You always have.”
“He told you I was cheating, and I left you! Lies, lies, lies!” She slammed her coffee mug onto the end table next to the overstuffed chair she was sitting in. “I found out about his affair with Anna, and he forced me out of your life.”
Back straight, hands folded neatly across her lap, Rosa’s silent rage worked as a shield. “The first time I saw you cheating on Daddy, I was around four. It was you and that guy who used to do the lawn.”
Harriet drew her shaky hands to her face. “Oh my God,” she gasped as she rocked back and forth, sobbing.
“I didn’t understand what I was seeing.” Rosa shook her head. “I remember the day you left us. You told me that Daddy didn’t love me.” She narrowed her gaze on her mother’s tear-soaked face. “How can you tell a six-year-old something like that? You’d been divorced at least a year before Daddy started dating Anna.”
Still rocking, Harriet stammered, “H-he forced me to l-leave. I wouldn’t leave you.” She choked on her tears. “I didn’t leave you. He made me.”
“Do you take any responsibility for the things that happen in your life? This is partially my fault. I’ve held in my feelings because I’ve always wanted to protect you. But, I’m doing more harm than good. I don’t want to resent you or avoid your calls. I want to love you. But, you won’t get better until you start facing reality and dealing with your past.”
“The only thing wrong with me is Ernesto! He ruined my life. He divorced me, threw me out, then turned you against me.”
“Daddy told me that he initiated the divorce, but he would never tell me why. Looking back with my thirty-year-old eyes, I finally understand why he did. Have you ever considered he was tired of putting up with your mess?”
Harriet took on a distant look, as if she were experiencing déjà vu. Focusing over Rosa’s shoulder, she said, “He forced me out and turned you against me.”
“I don’t need Daddy to tell me anything. I remember the final straw. I remember breaking my arm. I remember you left me at the hospital.”
“Ernesto made me leave you.”
“He was scared and angry and probably told you to leave. I don’t have any children, but I feel pretty confident saying that nothing and no one could have made me leave my baby at that hospital.” She wiped her stinging eyes. “Do you know or even care how much that hurt me, Mom?” She inhaled deeply, fighting to regain her cool veneer.
Harriet continued rocking back and forth. “I was upset. He was so angry. I couldn’t stay. I was scared.”
“Scared of what? Daddy never hurt you. Now that I think about it, that was the first and last time I’d ever seen him raise his voice at you. But, let’s say you were so afraid of this man who had never laid a hand on you. When we got home, where were you? Were you worried about me?”
“I was worried sick about you.”
“So worried that when we came into your room, you were sound asleep. Did Daddy make you go to bed also? Again, I don’t have any children, but there’s no way I would have gone to sleep until I saw my baby was home safe and sound.”
“He’s twisted everything.”
“Give it up, Mom. The next day you picked me up from school trying to turn me against Daddy. I was only six!” Tears moistening her face, she pointed at Harriet. “Then that night, you left me.” She pointed at herself.
“No, he forced me out!” Harriet shouted, picking at the pastel upholstery with her nails.
“Reality check. When we came to visit you, you said you weren’t ready to see me. I heard you through the door.”
“I was hurt. I didn’t want you seeing me like that.”
“I needed you. I thought you’d left because I wanted Daddy to stay. I blamed myself. How could you turn your crying child away?”
“It… It wasn’t your fault. It was Ernesto.”
“Stop this!” Harriet snapped to attention. “While you were busy feeling sorry for yourself, Daddy had a child to raise. He sent me to counseling to help me understand that I shouldn’t blame myself for your choices in life. And while we’re at it, he didn’t keep me from visiting you when we moved to Miami. I chose to stop because I had better things to do with my teen-age years than play nursemaid to my drunken mother.”
Realizing she was now speaking from pain, Rosa stopped herself. “I’m sorry,” she said as she hugged her mother. Harriet’s tears soaked through Rosa’s blouse. “I don’t want to fight. I know you aren’t perfect. I never expected you to be. Please, Mom, try the Alcoholics Anonymous group I told you about. I’ll go with you.”
Harriet snatched a tissue out of the box that sat on the end table, then dabbed under her eyes. “I can’t.”
Rosa could see her mother physically withdraw into her shell of denial.
“Let’s stop all of this foolishness,” Harriet said. “It’s your birthday. Having you was the happiest day of my life.” She fingered the short curls that framed Rosa’s face. “You look so much like your father and act like your aunt Angela.”
Rosa knew Harriet was drunk now. “I love you, Mom.”
* * *
DEA agent Samson Quartermaine dragged his large, dark hands over his face, smoothing down his goatee. “We only have ten days before the execution. There has to be a way to make him talk. Everyone has a price.” He slammed his notebook closed, then tossed it toward the coffee table. The notebook skidded across the table and fell to the floor.
“Martín plans on taking his secrets with him to the grave,” agent Alton Miles said as he swung his golf club at the imaginary tee. A Miami thunderstorm had made them miss tee-time, and, as usual, they ended up talking shop. “That’s one price we can’t beat. If we could only convince the FBI to put him into witness protection.”
“He’s always been able to hide his money trail. How? Who? He’ll never roll over on his silent partner. If he went into witness protection, he’d take up where he left off. The Feds can’t allow that. We need his sentence commuted to life without the possibility of parole.” Samson watched his partner pace around the living room of the small apartment, swinging his golf club.
“I know he’ll never give up his partner,” Alton said. “What I don’t understand is why he’d rather die than turn over the Sierra syndicate. They were his competition.”
David Martín had been sentenced to death for murdering a DEA informant and his gang. The informant had infiltrated the Sierra organization and copied account records, pipeline routes, business connections, and other information the DEA needed to bring the syndicate down.
Alton carried a straight-backed chair from the dinette area into the living room. “Who is Martín protecting and why? And what’s the purpose in giving us free rein if they won’t let us truly have free rein? Do they want us to break these syndicates or not? Hell! This is my career riding on this case. We have to bring Sierra down.”
Samson understood Alton’s frustration. Their team was given the “freedom” to bypass much of the strict structure and red tape of government agencies, but what good had it done them? “You know there’s no such thing as total freedom. I agree with the chief on this call. Offering witness protection to the head of the largest drug syndicate is out of the question. Sorry to sound politically correct, but we need to think outside the box.”
He trained his warm brown eyes on Alton’s cold blue ones. They’d been best friends since preschool, yet were as different as a monsoon and a drought. “What if he doesn’t have a silent partner? What if he didn’t obtain the information?”
Alton waved him off. “Martín never said he didn’t have the information.”
“Would we have believed him if he had? Would we believe him if he said he was the only leader? What if he doesn’t have a bargaining chip?”
“So you think he’s been dickin’ us around this whole time?”
“I don’t know. I’m throwing every possibility out there. After he was taken out of commission, his organization hiccupped, then continued with business as usual. His silent partner must have run things for a while. Otherwise, there would have been a struggle for power. Yeah, he definitely has a silent partner.” He ran his hands over his cleanly shaven head, and then leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Lately something else has been needling me. Why didn’t the witness to the murders have a fatal accident before the trial? No one had ever lived to testify against David Martín. The man testified, then died in a car accident an hour later.”
“I’ve been wondering the same thing, man. I think his silent partner double-crossed him, but that brings us back to square one. I sure as hell wouldn’t die for someone who double-crossed me.”
“We need more time.”
“They won’t commute his sentence unless he gives up his partner or Sierra. Hell, you’re the lawyer. How can we have his sentence commuted?”
“Good question.”
“Well, something’s got to change. I’m too close to let this slip by.”
Drifting into his own world, Samson looked around the one bedroom flat. Boy, has my life changed. He went from having a promising career and beautiful home to an all-consuming job and somewhere to sleep. The worn-out, tacky tan furniture was even part of the rental agreement. Three years had passed since the divorce. Tired of punishing himself, he wanted to live again, practice law again, and take control of his life again. But, he couldn’t bail out on Alton.
After Samson left his law firm, Alton kept him from shutting himself off from the world and convinced him to join the DEA. Alton had been there to kick sense into him when he needed kicking. The change of pace had worked wonders initially. Being a DEA agent was exciting and kept his mind off his troubles, but now he was ready to move on and do his own thing. After David’s execution, he planned on turning in his resignation.
“Anybody home?” Alton knocked the coffee table with the head of his golf club. “Hell, forget this. It’s Sunday. We’re off. Let’s go to the pool hall and worry about this in the morning.”
“I’m with you.” He stood to leave. Only thirty-four-years old, Samson still had a lot of life to live. Thoughts of his large family comforted his aching heart. He hadn’t seen them since his sister’s funeral a year ago. She’d been on his mind a lot lately. “I forgot to ask your status on the Ernesta Wells’ call David received.”
“I’ve already run her. Of course, her name is totally bogus. We’ll allow the guards to believe they’re getting away with smuggling her in until after we’ve interviewed Ernesta. The warden’s gonna call us as soon as she arrives.” Alton stood and reached in his pocket for the keys to his Mustang.
“She’s our only lead,” Samson said. “That and flowers. He’s been obsessed with them lately. His cell walls look like he has floral print wall paper.”
“Maybe he’s dreaming about his funeral. Martín dies in ten days. We need to find out who he’s actually protecting and why, or get his sentence commuted. I don’t give a damn how we do it.”
* * *
“Happy birthday, CNN,” said the news correspondent. “The nation’s first all-news station debuted on this day in 1980…”
Opening the door, Rosa heard CNN, and her spirits lifted. The news playing could only mean one thing. She dropped her keys into her purse, setting it on the entry table.
“Daddy!” She rounded the corner into the living room where he stood with his arms held out. She hugged her grizzly bear of a father. “You’re early.” Though he lived in Miami, they had keys and the combinations to each other’s residences.
His hearty chuckle filled the room. “You want me to leave and come back?”
After the dose of disappointment her mother injected, Ernesto’s loving embrace was just the antidote she needed. “You’d better not.” She fought the urge to cry. She couldn’t save her mother if she refused to recognize that she needed saving.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I visited Mom today. That’s always draining.”
He lifted her chin with his fingertip. “She’s the one losing out, not you.” He wiped the tears from her face. “I have something for you.” He turned her around.
A glimpse of brown beside her large, white sofa caught her eye. “You didn’t.” She walked around to investigate. “You did! An African stool.” She knelt beside the Asante chief’s stool, running her hand over the fine dark wood of the concave surface. Excited to see Ernesto, she’d missed the stool when she came in. The craftsmen carved each stool out of a single piece of wood. The base of this particular stool was an elephant, a sign of chiefly authority. “Thank you, Daddy.”
“You have two ends to this couch.”
“Two! You got me two?” She went to the other side of the couch, and sure enough, there was a second stool. This one’s base was a lion, reserved for royalty. Both stools were only two- feet-tall, making them perfect end tables. She knew the antiques’ original purpose, but she didn’t want people sitting on them.
“You need to get dressed. We’ve only begun to celebrate your thirtieth.”
“Why didn’t I turn thirty years ago? How should I dress?”
Arms crossed over his chest, he raised a brow. She laughed. He always wore designer suits, handcrafted Italian leather shoes, and Egyptian cotton or some other fine-fabric dress shirt. He did everything in first class style.
“I guess bowling and Burger King are out.”
He moved several large throw pillows out of the way, so he could sit comfortably. “Who’s Burger King?” He winked.
* * *
Rosa and Ernesto boarded the Odyssey cruise ship, which was docked at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. Known for its elegance, the Odyssey had three levels, each ensuring its guests a great time.
“Let’s have our picture taken,” Rosa suggested.
The photographer positioned Rosa and Ernesto along the railing and snapped shots. “You’re a very lucky man,” the young man said.
Pride filled Ernesto’s light eyes. “My daughter is something, isn’t she? It’s her birthday.”
Ernesto missed the man’s double take, but Rosa didn’t. She didn’t resemble either of her parents, so she figured she must look like some of her family that she didn’t know, which was all of it. With Ernesto growing up in foster care and Harriet’s only sister disowning her, Rosa considered herself family-poor.
As the man clicked more pictures, she observed Ernesto. In his early sixties, he was still a handsome man. She reached up and ran her finger through an area of his hair that had more gray than black.
He smiled down at her. “I’m getting old.”
“Mature.” She hugged him.
They had spent the majority of their day at the Art Institute enjoying the exhibits, with her talking about the children she tutored during the school year, and him giving her pointers on how to expand her computer-networking firm.
Ernesto had raised the bar, using Bolívar International as the example. Proud of her father, Rosa listened to most of his advice because she knew it was sound.
The pictures printed out instantly. Liking what they saw, Ernesto paid for the photos, and then escorted Rosa around to the Topaz deck. The ship left dock and cruised Lake Michigan, providing a breathtaking view of Chicago’s night skyline.
“Where’s everyone?” Rosa asked. The outside portion of the deck was deserted. “The main point in these cruises is to see the skyline from the lake.”
Ernesto frowned. “This is strange. I’ll go inside and see what’s going on. Stay here.” He walked around the deck chairs toward the entrance.
Rosa followed. “I’m coming, too. You’re not leaving me in the Twilight Zone.”
The perfect gentleman, he opened and held the door open for her.
“Thank you, kind sir.” She stepped into the Topaz dining area.
“Surprise!” cheered the crowd.
Rosa clutched her heart in fear, and then realized what was happening. The dining hall was filled to the deck’s two-hundred-person capacity with her tiny family, friends and co-workers.
Juan, one of the children she babysat, ran to her with his hands held up. “Wosa!” She lifted the three-year-old, swinging him around. “Wheee!” he squealed.
She stopped spinning and placed him on her hip. “¿Como estas, Juan?”
“English, Rosa,” Ernesto chastised. “He must learn.”
“Yes, Daddy.” Not in the mood for an English lesson, she held the child close. Often, she wondered if Ernesto was ashamed of his Colombian blood. He’d claim to be a proud Afro-Colombian, and they were both fluent in Spanish, but she knew there was so much more to the culture. It was Anna who had taught her about El Choco, Colombia, also known as the African Heart of Colombia, where Ernesto’s family came from; Anna who had taught her the many similarities between African-American and Afro-Colombian history, Anna who had convinced Ernesto to take Rosa on a trip to Colombia for her high school graduation gift.
Then again, it was Ernesto who sparked her love for African art, and Ernesto who had raised her a proud black woman.
Juan, tugging on her arm, broke her musings. Ready to enjoy her special day, she gazed into his smiling face. Someday, she’d have a child of her own. The crowd continued gathering around to wish her happy birthday.
Someone pulled on her waist. She looked over her shoulder. “Mom!” Juan remained planted firmly on her hip as she hugged Harriet. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about this.”
“And ruin the surprise? Never! Stand back and let me see you.”
Rosa handed Juan to Ernesto, then spun to show off her new designer dress. The sheer black rayon shell and Georgette lining were close-fitting without being tight; the sleeves were capped and the sides slit up to the knees. A rose border print swept diagonally across the front and along the hemline.
“You’re simply breathtaking.”
Rosa bowed gracefully. “Why, thank you. You’re looking pretty good yourself.” She had to give Harriet her props. She always dressed nicely, and tonight was no different. Harriet sported a burgundy silk pantsuit and had her hair in a French knot with a few curls falling freely.
She waved Rosa on. “Go ahead with your friends. Have a good time.”
Grateful Harriet wasn’t drunk, she kissed her mother’s chocolate cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Rosa turned to greet everyone else and bumped into Anna. “Someone’s been keeping secrets.”
“One… two tops.” Anna winked. “Harriet’s right. You’re breathtaking.”
Harriet grumbled under her breath as she pushed her way past Anna and stalked off toward the bar.
Rosa narrowed her eyes on her mother. She’d better not cause the usual scene. Not tonight.
She returned her attention to the dark statuesque beauty her father had married. Anna would never replace her mother, yet Rosa had carved a special spot in her heart for Anna. Many a night, she spent talking to Anna about her troubles, wants and desires. Many a night, she spent wishing Harriet were more like Anna.
“I’m sorry about—”
“Stop apologizing for your mother.” Anna fingered the curls about Rosa’s face. “I love this new look.” She hugged Rosa. “Everyone’s waiting on you to get out there and shake your groove thang.”
Anna’s attempt at slang had Rosa laughing. “Groove thang? Okay, I’m out.” She took Juan from Ernesto and headed for the dance floor.
* * *
“I’m worried about Rosa,” Ernesto said. Dinner finished, most of the party guests were on the dance floor or on the boat’s deck enjoying the view. Ernesto remained at the head table with Anna, watching Rosa.
Anna patted her husband’s hand under the table. “She has such a kind heart. Look at her out there with Juan.” Rosa was on the dance floor teaching Juan how to step to a R. Kelly jam. “I don’t think his mom will ever get him back. Our baby is ready to settle down and have children of her own.”
Ernesto’s brows furrowed. “I’m not talking about that. I was only thirty-two when I married the first time, and look what a disaster that turned out to be. She has plenty of time to start a family. I’m worried about her trying to save Harriet. That woman’s the pilot on a one-way trip to self-destruction. I don’t want Rosa caught up.”
Harriet stumbled over to Ernesto’s table. “How could you bring your whore to my daughter’s party?” she slurred.
“Please, Harriet,” Anna said before Ernesto could speak. “Not tonight. I’m willing to leave. This is too special for Rosa.”
“My point exactly. Your ass shouldn’t be here!” She stomped on the floor, spilling a portion of her Long Island iced tea on her silk suit.
Ernesto glared at Harriet. The party was Anna’s idea, but she was willing to stay away because she didn’t want Harriet to cause a scene. He’d told Harriet, and she’d insisted that she knew how to behave. He’d prayed that for once Harriet would put her child first. Having the three of them in the same room without a fight would have been a long-awaited, much-needed first for Rosa.
“What the hell you looking at?” she asked Ernesto.
Ernesto stood to drag Harriet out of the party if necessary. He should have followed his own mind instead of Anna’s, and not invited Harriet.
“Mother!” Rosa spun Harriet around to her. “Grab your wraps,” she said through tight lips. “We’re leaving!”
* * *
After the boat docked, Rosa dropped her mother off at her condo, then called Ernesto and told him that she wasn’t returning to the party. He tried to change Rosa’s mind, but the moment had been ruined for her. Instead, she went home, showered, and readied for bed. Mind weary, she reached into her nightstand for her two best friends: journal and pen.
Ernesto had started her writing journals when she was eight. He said women had all of these extra emotions and journaling helped get the emotions out before they drove the men in their lives crazy. A smile warmed her heart as she readied her pen, thanking God again for her father.
I love Mom, but things have to change. She doesn’t respect my feelings or care about the awkward positions she continually puts me in, and I’m tired of it.
She wrote everything that had happened throughout the day regarding Harriet. Maybe the books are right, and I’m an enabler. She tapped her chin with the end of the pen. I’ve remained quiet out of respect; but if I remain quiet, things will never get better. I hate to admit this, but it felt good telling Mom off this afternoon. Freeing. She doodled a few scribbles. Things have to change.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Nothing But the Right Thing
By Stacy Hawkins Adams

Coming April 2006

Serena Jasper McDaniels seems to have it all - a loving husband,
a new home and a great career. But one desire remains just out of reach.
Will she have to postpone her dreams forever, or will she hear
God's still, small voice and accept his plan for her life?

Nothing But The Right Thing

April 2006
ISBN: 0800730976

Other Books By Stacy Hawkins Adams

Speak To My Heart
ISBN: 0800759702

Sunday, March 05, 2006

FEATURED AUTHOR - Gwyneth Bolton

I met Gwyneth at a Romance Slam Jam. I think I talked her ear off while we road the bus. We talked about books and movies and she shared her experience about writing a non-fiction book. I was excited to hear she was jumping into the fiction world. Please take a moment to meet a new romance writer.

SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Gwyneth Bolton:
By day I’m a mild-mannered college professor . . . By night I’m a sultry-seductive weaver of romantic tales . . . Okay, seriously, I teach at the university level and live in upstate New York with my husband. I have been an avid reader of romance novels since I was around twelve-years-old. I published a non-fiction book on women and hip-hop culture titled Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture and the Public Sphere. I have also published several non-fiction essays and articles. But fiction writing has always been near and dear to my heart. I have an MA in creative writing and composition studies and a Doctorate in English (Rhetoric and Composition). In 1996, I received the College Language Association’s Margaret Walker Creative Writing Award for a one-act play I wrote when I was an undergraduate. I’m at my happiest when I’m either writing or reading.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is my first romance novel. It is the first in a trilogy of novels that I am calling my “Hip-Hop Debutantes Trilogy.” The idea behind the trilogy is to take those classic romance plots and give them a fresh and funky remix. So, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is the story of Alicia Taylor, Darren Whitman and an arranged marriage. The hero and heroine have had a love/hate relationship ever since they were children. When Darren finds out that their father’s plan on telling Alicia about the marriage arrangement, he makes a deal with them to woo her so that she will fall in love with him. Alicia doesn’t trust Darren as far as she can see him and sets out to prove that he isn’t sincere in his sudden interests.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

The main thing I want them to take away is the feeling that they have just read a fulfilling romance story. I hope that I’m Gonna Make You Love Me touches readers and that by the time they are done with it they will fall in love with not only Alicia and Darren, but also my writing. I want this book to introduce readers to my writing style and hopefully give them a taste that they’ll want more of.

SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?

As I mentioned, I have published a non-fiction book. I have also published several articles and essays in academic journals and anthologies. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is my first romance novel and it is also the first full novel I completed. I’ve written lots of short stories and poems and I have also published some of my poetry. My second romance novel, If Only You Knew, will be out in July 2006 (Kimani Press, Harlequin.) And for those of you who read I’m Gonna Make You Love Me and want to know a little more about that super producer/ record label mogul, Flex Towns, Sweet Sensation, the second in the “Hip-Hop Debutantes Trilogy,” is finished and slated for release in March of 2007 with Genesis Press. It’s a hip-hop remix of the secret child plot.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

Shades of Romance of course! The on-line writing community that you offer has really made me feel connected to other writers in a phenomenal way. It’s a wonderful resource for writers to connect and share. I also use the net to catch up on Black fiction in general, to stay current on what is hot and new in the publishing world. So sites like SOMAG, RAWSISTAZ, and Romance In Color are very useful for their reviews. They keep me in the know and help me feed my reading habit in a big way.

SORMAG: What’s it like to go from non fiction to fiction?

Since I’m still writing both, I haven’t made a switch from one to the other. I will say that in some ways my nonfiction projects, because they usually entail more research seem to take a little longer. For example I’m currently working on a nonfiction book on Black women’s book clubs and reading groups. I did a lot of surveys and went to several literacy events to research this project. I also conduct research for my fiction writing. For example, I had to do some research for I’m Gonna Make You Love Me since the characters are a part of the Black elite. Even though I like to think of myself as a princess without a country, alas I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. So, I had to read a lot to learn about this group of people. It was fun and I learned so much in the process. However, the research wasn’t as intense as the research I do for my nonfiction. And the fiction just flows from me in ways that the nonfiction doesn’t. When I’m into the characters and into a story the writing sort of pours out of me onto the screen. I think I use the same tools—research, outlining, etc. But I use them differently depending on if it is fiction or nonfiction.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love the initial stages, the part where you get the ideas and things start to come together. I love the writing, especially when it flows. I also love working with editors and making the work stronger. The part that I hate the most would probably be the waiting. I hate that waiting period between sending a manuscript and waiting for a response. My stomach usually hurts until I hear something back. The thing that irks me the most about this “waiting for a response” is that it never ends! Even when you sell the manuscript, you still have to wait to see if the editor likes your revisions. When it’s published, you have to wait and see what the reviewers’ responses will be, what the readers’ responses will be. You feel all torn because you really want to know what people think about your “baby.” But you’re also nervous. What if they don’t like it? So, I have a feeling, I’ll be popping lots of antacids because doing what I love also means I’ll have that nervous stomach while I wait to see what you all will think!

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I wish I had known a little more about the business end of publishing. I wish I’d known things like where to tap into a network of writers and find out about various publishers and practices. The wonderful thing is that each experience helps you to grow and learn. I’m still learning a lot.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

That it is just that, a business. I think a lot of writers, myself included, like to think about the creative space that our stories come from and don’t like to concern ourselves with the nuts and bolts. A lot of us are just happy to see our names in print and hold something that we wrote in our hands. But if we want to build a career and have longevity, we need to be more aware of the business aspects of the publishing market as well. A little business savvy has never hurt anyone! I think we can look at any of our favorite writers especially the ones who have been prolific and see that talent and business sense go hand in hand for a successful career. I know it is something I plan to work on myself!

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Readers can contact me via mail by writing to me at PO Box 9388 Carousel Center, Syracuse, New York, 13290-9381. They can also email me at or visit my website

CHAPTER EXCERPT - I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
By Gwyneth Bolton

Chapter 1

Palmer Woods Historic District, Detroit

“It’s just so archaic—a throwback to the dark ages or at least pre-enlightenment!”
Grimacing as he watched his wife brush her hair, Kyle thought about the best way to respond to her statement and decided humor was the way to go. “Well, I don’t know, Karen. Seems like you could bump it up to at least the Victorian era. I don’t think people were arranging marriages for their children in the dark ages.”

Fixing the bow tie on his tuxedo, he gave her a smile as she stopped brushing her hair and glare at him.

“It’s not funny, Kyle. Really, Black folk just don’t do this kind of thing. We don’t pick spouses for our children.”

Sighing because he thought they were through with this discussion, he tried to think of yet another way to get his wife to understand what she clearly did not wish to understand. Having long since made the deal with Jonathan Whitman that allowed him to regain control of Taylor Publishing; he was too far in to back out. Whitman made him an offer he couldn’t refuse—a chance to save the Taylor legacy, business, and family name.

“You’d be surprised at what Black folk do, especially our kind of people. It’s about control, breeding, and family. I’ve heard stories about mergers in my family that did not start out based on love as we like to think about it.” Untying his failed attempt at a bow, he tried again. “Believe it or not, those mergers were the very mergers that brought the family the most success. Love didn’t get my parents anywhere.”

Were it not for his father’s gambling and bad habits, Kyle wouldn’t have even considered the offer. In many ways, they were lucky the Taylor name still meant something. A scandal like the one his father had left would have annihilated a lesser family.

The overly indulgent lifestyle his own father had led almost ruined the family name and made Taylor Publishing vulnerable to a hostile takeover by Whitman Enterprises. Whitman offered a chance to earn it back, albeit at a high cost.

“Well my father is a Kansas City barbecue king, and although I grew up well-off and attended all the right schools, I was not among that elite group of your kind of people. So, forgive me if I don’t understand this!” Karen put the brush down, crossed her arms over her chest, and narrowed her eyes on him. “Those two kids that you and Whitman hope will one day marry cannot even stand each other. They argue every time they are near one another!”

Kyle sighed. He knew the children didn’t get along and hoped the childhood rivalry between his daughter and Whitman’s son would eventually go away.

“You know.” Karen’s voice calmed to a whisper. “If your family arranged a marriage for you, or if you didn’t have the guts to date and fall in love outside of your tight knit group of black elites, you and I would not be together now.”

“Probably not. If my life had followed the path I started out on, if my father were half the man he should have been…” Stuttering slightly, he closed his eyes in search of the words that would make her understand.

“I have a chance to rebuild my family’s legacy. To do all the things my father wouldn’t or couldn’t do.”

“And it will only cost your daughter’s future. Her right to choose who she wants to fall in love with? Don’t you see it’s crazy? And did I mention, Alicia can’t stand Darren Whitman. The two of them are like oil and water!”

“What I see is that if I don’t try this, my child won’t have the lifestyle she deserves. I can’t abide with that, Karen. I won’t! She will have the world and will grow up in a world where the Taylor name still means something.” Reaching out and touching her shoulder, he continued, “They are kids now. Most boys and girls don’t like each other when they are young. She might grow to like him, even love him one day.”

Karen lowered her gaze. By the way she clenched her teeth he could tell she was simmering. “I don’t like it, Kyle.”

“It will work… It has to work. When you think about it, what more could two parents wish for? Our daughter will marry one of the richest men in the world. Could it be so bad for our little girl to grow up and become Mrs. Darren Whitman?” Hearing his own voice, he realized that in addition to trying to convince his wife, he was trying to convince himself. Things had to work out.

Letting out a ragged breath, he continued, “Jonathan Whitman is letting me run my family’s company. I’m making a lot more now than what I made when I was trying to work my way up the corporate ladder. Taylor Publishing is my legacy. The dinner party that we are hosting this evening is just the start of the big things to come. Think of the important people who will be here. I’ll have a chance to build the company back to its original luster. I know I can do it. It’s my birthright.

“I’ll get to run it for now, and once they are married, part of the company will revert back to the Taylor family. Once there is an heir, another part of the company will revert to the Taylor family. Doing this will give Alicia and her future children the family’s legacy.”

Straightening his slouched shoulders, he shrugged and sighed. Things were truly out of his hands. “If Alicia grows up and decides she just cannot marry the young, rich man her daddy picked out for her, then we’ll lose everything. Don’t you see I had to try? I have to try.”
When his wife finally turned her gaze back to him, he used his own expression to plead with her to understand. He hoped one last time that she did and that they would not have to rehash this discussion.

* * * * *

Alicia giggled as she eavesdropped on her cousin Kendrick and his friends, Darren and Troy. The three boys irritated her to no end, and she awoke each morning thinking of ways to ruin any idea of fun they might think up. The one thing an eight-year-old girl with braces and pigtails hated most was twelve-year-old boys who teased her and pushed her around at whim.
Each of the older boys annoyed her and Alicia could not decide which boy annoyed her most. Her cousin came to visit every summer because her father said Uncle Kelvin was a loser like the grandfather who died before she was born. Darren Whitman and Troy Singleton were just boys who came around whenever Kendrick was in town. Troy lived right across the street in a big red brick house, and Darren lived in a huge mansion in Bloomfield Hills.

The rich boy, Darren, was the one she decided she hated most of all. Not only was he rich and a pain, he was also the meanest. He tugged her pigtails anytime she got within arms reach and called her names like metal-mouth, brat, and antenna head. The nerve of him calling anyone names when he was so bony and his voice went all low and then high, sounding like tires screeching all the time.

The boys were planning to come inside out of the heat and watch a stupid karate movie on the VCR. Racing into the family room of their six-bedroom classic Tudor home in Palmer Woods, Alicia turned on the TV.

“Get out, metal-mouth; we want to watch a movie on the big screen!” Darren barged into the room followed by Kendrick and Troy.

“I’m watching it, so you can’t.” Gripping the remote control in her small hands, she gave the boys her best attempt at a threatening glare.

“Come on, Licia, you have a TV in your room. Let us watch our movie in here.” Kendrick’s request was just a little nicer than Darren’s.

Letting out the kind of exasperated sigh she saw glamorous women give in the movies whenever someone was getting on their nerves, she replied, “What part of no don’t you understand? You have a TV in your room. I was here first. Get lost.”

“I’m tired of this! Give me the remote and get out of here, brat!” Snatching the remote Darren yanked her left pigtail extra hard before walking away.

She let out a loud piercing scream, and her mother, Karen Taylor, came running from upstairs where she was supervising the help and getting ready for a big dinner party.

“What is it now? You children know I am busy getting things ready for Kyle’s dinner party. I really don’t have time for this.” Karen placed her hands on her hips and gave each child a pointed stare.

No visible tears accompanied Alicia’s sobbing. “I was here first watching something, and they came in bothering me. I was here first, and Darren hit me. He’s mean and horrible! Mommy, they know the rules. But they don’t care.” Burying her face in her dainty hands, Alicia dramatically fell unto the sofa.

“Boys, was she here first?” Karen used her no-nonsense tone.
Almost tempted to peek up from her production to watch, Alicia didn’t want to risk having the tone turned on herself.

“Yes,” the boys murmured in unison.

“Well you know the rules. Go and watch TV in Kendrick’s room until Alicia is finished.”

The boys followed her mom out of the family room with Darren bringing up the rear. Lifting her head just in time to stick out her tongue at Darren, she relished the view of his face twisting up in anger.

The show that was playing, like every other show, was a re-run and didn’t interest her. Her best friend Sonya was away at Jack and Jill camp for two weeks, and Alicia had no one to play with or talk to. Although Alicia was also a member of Jack and Jill, her father felt she was too young to go away for two weeks. So she amused herself day after day.

Deciding to go and spy on the boys again, she got there just in time to follow them out to a huge cluster of oak trees that extended just a few yards from the backyard of their home. The backyard was huge, and just behind it was what the kids felt was a mini forest. It didn’t have nearly as many trees as a forest, but for kids living in the city, it was just as good. Forbidden to go back there alone, Alicia reasoned she wouldn’t really be alone. She would be with the boys, only they wouldn’t know it.

* * * * *

Darren kicked the rocks with all the force his twelve-year-old feet could muster. Unaccustomed to not getting his way, he focused his anger on that metal-mouthed brat Alicia. He was almost tempted to call his driver and go home, but there was nothing to do there and no one else to play with.

He really loved spending time with Kendrick and Troy. They were like brothers. In fact, they’d made a blood brothers’ pack in their secret spot earlier that summer. They were now headed to their secret spot to come up with ways to make sure the brat didn’t ruin the rest of the summer. They stopped under the dark shade where oaks met so closely they almost made a circle.

“Well she did it again. She messed up a perfect afternoon.” Vocalizing what they all thought, Troy was the first to speak.

“Well, we could spend the rest of the summer at one of your houses.” Bowing his head, Kendrick kicked a rock.

Irritated, Darren pointed out, “If we do that she wins. No way is that little brat going to win. It’s us against her! We can’t let that metal-mouth win.”

“It’s like she always knows what we’re going to do next, and she beats us to it,” Troy complained.

A slight noise in the bushes drew Darren’s attention. Motioning for the boys to be silent, he caught a glimpse of the yellow ribbon at the end of Alicia’s long-curly pigtail as she darted behind a tree.

“That’s it, brat! When we catch you, you’re toast!” he yelled.

Alicia let out a high-pitched scream and took off running. The boys followed, but she was fast. They each took different directions, hoping to corner her. Gaining ground, Darren had her right in his sight. Glancing back at him, Alicia did not see the big rock in her path.

He watched as her foot hit the rock, and she tumbled to the ground. He stopped in front of her and saw that she was holding her leg and crying. It wasn’t the loud fake sobs that she had let out earlier, just streams of tears down her cheek. He sat down beside her and put his arm around her.

“It’s going to be okay, Licia. Can you move your leg? Can you walk?” He had heard people on TV ask people who were hurt if they could move the injured body part.
Alicia moved her leg and continued to cry. The others came running up from different directions.
Throwing up his hands, Kendrick groaned. “Oh, man, this is guaranteed punishment for at least a week.”

“She’s hurt her leg. You two go get your aunt and uncle, and I’ll stay here with her.” Guilt ridden, Darren wanted to make sure that Alicia was okay.

The other two boys ran back to the house, and he talked to Alicia while waiting. He could have sworn that he even made her smile—either that or she was grimacing from the pain.

Relief washed over him when he saw Mr. and Mrs. Taylor come running through the woods followed by Dr. Samuels. They were all dressed in fancy clothes, and he knew that he and the boys were going to be in big trouble for interrupting the dinner party.

He smiled down at Alicia. “See, I told you everything would be okay. Here’s your mom and dad.” He waited until the adults got there before removing his arm from her shoulder.

While examining her, Dr. Samuels asked if she could move her leg and Darren smiled.

Mr. Taylor picked Alicia up to carry her back to the house. The doctor had said she had a bad sprain, and she wouldn’t be running around for a while. When Darren was on the verge of feeling sorry for her, Alicia lifted her head from Mr. Taylor’s shoulder and stuck her tongue out at Darren. Furious he’d wasted his time being nice to the little metal-mouth brat, he kicked a rock.

Friday, March 03, 2006 Tells The Story of Romance Novels

The history of romance novels, from the roots of the genre to today’s New York Times bestsellers, is being written online at The new site launches on February 14th, in celebration of the official holiday of romance novels, Valentine’s Day.

(PRWEB) -- The history of romance novels, from the roots of the genre to today’s New York Times bestsellers, is being written online at The new site launches on February 14th, in celebration of the official holiday of romance novels, Valentine’s Day.

By encouraging the entire romance community to add their stories and insights, RomanceWiki will create an ongoing history of the market-leading romance genre. Never before has there been a single resource to combine the various elements of the genre: authors, books, publishers, awards, reviews, influences, and connections. In addition to building the history of romance novels, RomanceWiki provides resources for journalists, authors, and readers.

“The romance fiction community is so large and so diverse that no one person can accurately capture the history of the genre,” says Kassia Krozser, editor of the RomanceWiki. “I am eager to see how the story grows as authors, readers, academics, and publishing professionals add their stories to the wiki.”

The RomanceWiki is built on the same software that has made the Wikipedia one of the most popular websites in the world. The wiki format allows a community of experts to collaborate when building a authoritative resource, such as the RomanceWiki. Easy-to-use wiki authoring tools make it a snap for the community to link ideas and topics, while the free-form style of the RomanceWiki encourages readers to spend time learning about the world of romance.

“The wiki format allows anyone to make connections between key pieces of information – and no technical skills are required,” Krozser notes. “Anyone can create or edit a page.”

According to the Romance Writers of America, romance fiction continues to command over 50% the mass-market fiction sales and over 30% of fiction sales in general. Key elements of romance novels are included in every other genre of fiction and are commonly found in other media.

The RomanceWiki is produced by, a leading LitBlog (Literary Blog).


Press Contact: Kassia Krozser
Company Name: Booksquare
Email: email protected from spam bots
Phone: 626-791-5852

More Information:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Thanks so much for participating in the African-American History Month Contest.

I know a few of you said it was hard trying to figure out who was who. However that means, you need to stop by SORMAG more often, so you can meet the new authors who are hitting the bookstores. Many of the authors featured in the contests have books coming out soon or on the shelves now. Stop by and meet them in the upcoming months. Click on the links on the side and meet the other authors we've featured.

Don't forget to leave comments, for your chance to win a book. Its a new month so we can start up again.

I hope you enjoyed African-American History Month and you did something to celebrate it.


Feb 22nd Authors - Winner - Gwyenth Bolton
Authors - Sean Young, Zora Neale Hurston , Stacy Hawkins Adams

Feb 15th Authors - Winner - Patricia W.
Authors - Dara Guaird, James Baldwin, Monica McKayhan, Phyllis B. Williams

Feb 8th Authors - WINNER - Candace

Authors - W.E.B. DuBois, Deatri King-Bey, Maya Angelou, Bettye Griffin

FEB 1st Authors - Winner - Kim W.
Gwyneth Bolton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ann Clay, Fredrick Douglas



March 2 -The Fruits of Atterley - Angela Banks

March 6 - HUNG: A Meditation On The Measure Of Black Men in America - Scott Poulson-Bryant

March 9 – Passion’s Fool - Francine Craft

March 13 – Upstate - Kalisha Buckhanon

March 16 – Pink – Marilynn Griffith

March 20 - Web of Lies - Brandilyn Collins

March 23 - Caught Up - Deatri King-Bey

March 27 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me – Gwyneth Bolton

March 30 - A Student's Guide to Toni Morrison – Lisa A. Crayton

SORMAG’s online book club introduces its members to two authors each week with a chapter excerpt of their books.

To join the book club -

If you would like your book featured again in our book club. We still have slots available. All genres are welcome.

Feature your book in our online store - For the low price of 10.00 your book will be featured for MAR/APR

Check it out -

Would you like to be a FEATURED AUTHOR?

Please feel free to forward this information on to other book lovers.

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