Book Recommendation: Pieces Of Me by Kirby Elaine

Book Rec

If you’re snowbound, or just a hopeless romantic like me, then I’ve got a book for you to check out! Real talk, I was sold at the cover lol! This dude is hot, titanium leg and all! That beard, that man bun, them tats…yass lawd!

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WTF DID I JUST READ?!!! HOLY PLOT TWISTS BATMAN! Your mind will be blown when you finish cause…I just wasn’t expecting that?!

This story was sweet, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all in one. It’s rare to read a romance featuring a hero with a physical disability. That’s what initially attracted me to the story (Well, the cover did, not gonna lie…) Jason is an Iraqi war veteran who lost his leg and is attempting to adjust to civilian life. Like so many of our vets, disabled or not, he is also suffering from PTSD, and has night terrors, shame about his disability, and feeling a little less than worthy, until he meets Kylie.

Kylie is a BAP (Black American Princess). She left her privileged life in Atlanta, GA to make a new life, her own life, in Baltimore, MD, much to her bougie parents’ dismay. Her parents had her life planned for her, and when she rebelled, she was the disappointment of their three daughters. Her dreams of becoming a writer and musician just aren’t befitting her parents who want her to pursue a career that “makes money” and to also marry well, but more importantly, to marry well to a black man.

While some may perceive the conflict of Kylie’s parents’ dislike of Jason as a merely a matter of race, which undoubtedly was a factor, there was also the issue of classicism. Yes, Kylie’s parents wanted her to marry a well-to-do black man, and had no problems letting Jason know this in no uncertain terms. I’ve witnessed firsthand how elitist the black bourgeoisie can be. It wouldn’t have matter what color Jason was; he simply would’ve never been good enough. Kylie, like so many other women, was put into a position of choosing: your parents or your man.

This story isn’t without a few non-distracting flaws (cause I’m petty), but overall, it was a sweet, feel-good story of true love prevailing. Click it up! And as for how the story ends:

Utter Surprise

Off The Grid… Well Sorta

OFF THE GRID

Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a couple of side hustles (cause a sista stays on her grind). One of them is freelance editing, and it’s been going remarkably well (Shout out to all the authors who’ve given me a shot!)

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Writing numbers in fiction and dialogue can be so tricky. Do you spell them out or not? The easiest rule of thumb to remember is all numbers zero-one hundred are spelled out. I was so tempted to write 0-100 lol, and that’s fine in casual conversation, but in your narrative, you should stick to the rules. You know the grammar police stay on duty (I’m the captain tee hee).

Every week, I create little editing tidbits that I post on Google+ and my Pinterest board that I think writers would find useful.

I’ll share a few here periodically because I’m learning along the way too. Enjoy your weekend. We’re expecting a heatwave with temps in the 50’s. WOOT! Melt that snow! I’m ready to run outdoors again!

Interview With An Author: Meet LeichelleK!

MEET THE AUTHOR

One of my missions with this blog is to get nosy up close an personal with many of today’s authors, old and new, famous and under the radar. My latest interview is with author LeichelleK. Leichelle has actually written several books, and being the 1-clickaholic that I am, I actually have one in my library (I am so pathetic) that I’ve never even read! So without further ado, meet LeichelleK!

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Musings: Leichelle, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. The first question I ask of all IR romance authors is, why interracial romance?

LeichelleK: It was a happy accident that got me into being more serious about IR romance. I was looking for something to read. I’ve read mainstream romance writers and enjoyed many of their books, but none of them were reflective of my relationships and who I was dating. I “accidentally” read an IR romance that was less than 50 pages long. I was so disappointed, I called my mom and sisters and complained. I knew there had to be someone doing something much better than that. They suggested I do one of my stories. I had been writing for years but I only shared my stories with close friends and family. I had never considered publishing, of course the industry had changed greatly over the years. Interracial romance needs more diverse stories, we all don’t look alike, we all don’t love alike. I aim to help in the effort to remove interracial from the taboo territory and have it be accepted like any other romance.

Musings: Describe your writing process. Are you are a researcher, or do you write in a stream of consciousness where the thoughts come to you and you just go with it?

LK: I start out writing my story long hand, using pen and paper. I carry a notebook with me at all times. When in the car I have a voice recorder that will take down everything I say so I can work with it later. I’m not a strict outline maker with all my stories, but I might make a “map” just in case my characters take me in a different direction.

I am a bit of researcher and stream of consciousness writer, much will depend on the story. I ask a ton of questions and the library loves to see me come through the door. I carry a backpack because I’ll check a mountain of books. My notebooks are usually overflowing and I am able to add real authenticity to my story. I also read a lot, not just romance. I like science fiction, historical fiction, and suspense thrillers.

Musings: Are you a full-time writer? Does writing come naturally or were you motivated by another author or certain event?

LK: No, not a full-time writer, but at the rate I’ve been developing different stories that might change very soon. Many of my stories come naturally by what I might be observing or someone new I met. Just last week I was stuck in traffic so I popped in some jazz and just observed the frustrated drivers around me…by the time I got to my destination I had an outline for a new story and a few chapters written. Many times I might hear something funny/interesting/different and it gives me the premise for a new book. I try not to ear hustle too much but it’s hard when some of the stuff that comes out of people’s mouth make you want to fall off your chair or throw something across the room!

Musings:  Do you read other IR authors or do you have a favorite author?

LK: Yes indeed! Huge Latrivia S. Nelson (Welsh), Sienna Mynx, Delaney Diamond, and S.K. Lessly fan. I am looking forward to reading works by (and this is by no means a complete list) Nana Malone, Shyla Colt, Lena Skye, and Tiana Laveen in the near future. There are some really great writers out there with some great stories.

Musings:  What would you say distinguishes your writing, or rather trademarks a LeichelleK story from all the others?

LK: My heroine may not be the size 6 or 8, or even a 12 or 14 with long pretty hair or hazel eyes. I try to talk about the older woman and not someone just out of preschool. The physical characteristics with greatly vary and be very different from the expected petite woman that fits in the arms of the 6 foot + guy. We women are too multi-dynamic to be formulaic. I pay attention to the people I meet, hearing what they are not telling me and I build on those characteristics or personality traits that readers can relate to. Also I like the nontraditional or the unexpected. For example the black female stunt woman or the black female gamer or truck driver. They may not exactly be huge draws but there is a story there. I look forward to one of my colleagues writing about the black female billionaire that gets the guy!

I also “tell” my stories, as if we are over my house having tea and I’m sharing a couples’ journey toward love with you. Sometimes some readers don’t like that format, which I’m learning to accept but sometimes you have to deliver a story the way it comes to you.

Musings:  Do you self-publish or are you affiliated with a publishing house?

LK: Currently I self-publish but if a publishing house wants to add me to their repertoire of authors I wouldn’t be opposed to joining.

Musings:  What’s your take on the state of IR romance today? We (as if I write..) seem to be the bastard child of the romance genre, yet I see this as a flourishing moneymaker that everyone is dipping into now.

LK: It is definitely growing and the potential is exponential. I am happy that more women of color are gracing the covers and our characters are not just some hood girl being picked up by some rich non-black guy and all there is, is hot sex that might eventually develop into a relationship.

On the flip side, it seemed we are characterized as erotic and kinky and that’s it. As if IR sex only happens in the kitchen or on the ceiling or someplace crazy. Not that I am opposed to sex happening outside the bedroom, but some people think that is the only place it happens. I want a story that gets you angry, makes you happy, then makes you want to throw the book across the room and fuss at the characters and then take you back to happy again.

Maybe with more IR stories out there we can get rid of the stereotypes and misconceptions about IR romance.

Musings:  If you could turn any of your books into a movie, which one would it be, and who would you cast?

LK: A tie right now between Finders Keepers [George Townsend- William Levy, Monique Brown- Robinne Lee] and Sudden Bloom [David Haydon- Simon Baker, Allain Krisson- Thandie Newton]. Of course I am horrible at this, I try to think of the black woman people would not “see” and develop a story around her.

Musings:  What can we look forward to from LeichelleK this year?

LK: I’ll be doing more with my Satin Series. Another project came up and then I went back to school and got my Masters so that kept me away but I am excited to get back to these stories and bring back a few of my favorite characters.

Thank you so much LeichelleK! I love getting inside the creative mind and discovering how the words make it to the paper. LeichelleK’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Check one or all of them out today!

Connect with LeichelleK:

Website: leichellek.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leichelle.writer

Twitter: @LeichelleK

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Love Undetected

“True love is like a stew, you just have to stir up sometimes and bring the good stuff to the top again.”
Camille Wilson had spent over 28 years being a devoted wife and mother. She had a house in an affluent neighborhood of D.C., three beautiful grown children and a husband with a successful job. One would believe she almost had it all. Now that she had an empty nest Camille wanted to get her marriage back on track. She is ready to turn down the lights, open the wine, and seduce her husband.

“True love doesn’t exist and anyone that says so is only after two things, sex and your bank account.”
Marshall Price believed that statement whole-heartedly and the cynical private detective is never wrong. In his experience romance was overrated and unnecessary. Infidelity is a given in his book and love is just a made up notion. When a new case comes his way to investigate the seemingly innocent Camille Wilson, Marshall discovers being wrong might just be the right thing for his heart.

 

Monday Musings: Diversifying My Reading Preferences

Monday Musings II

When I started this blog back in July 2014 (I can’t believe I’m creeping up on two years of “whackness”), I had but one goal in mind: Talk about my love of IR romance novels. Nothing more. Nothing less. See, at the time, I was deep in the IR romance streets. I was in just about every group (Yeah, I was for all those who claim they didn’t know I existed), and actively participated and advocated for the authors who wrote IR romance exclusively. It was the only romance I had been reading for the last two years,

Flash forward eighteen months later, and boy have I changed! I’m making very subtle changes to my brand, starting with my blog name and masthead. If you’ll notice, I’m no longer Musings of An IR Romance Junkie. I’ll also be updating my blog URL very soon. Now I’m in no way saying that I’m never reading IR romance again, because if you follow me on Goodreads or Facebook, then you know I haven’t given it up, and I probably never will. What I am saying though is there are sooooo many other great books written in other genres that deserve some love and recognition too.

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I think African American, or AA Romance, is one of the most underrated romance genres. Sadly, they get lumped in or overshadowed by the hood urban dramas. LGBTQ Romance is also under-served, and sadly, homophobia in the black community is still a real issue, so the books are often relegated to the “back of the class”. I’ve read a few, and let me tell you, ain’t no real difference except what’s in the characters’ draws. They go through the same shit as heterosexuals do, and the stories are just as romantic and dreamy. I’m even reading a few white mainstream titles written by women of color. Gasp! Yes, I am evolving as a reader, but my primary focus for this blog will always be to showcase black women in a romantic lead. Evolution is good, and we should all try it. Your spirit will thank you.

Off The Grid: Single and Lovin It!

I AMENOUGH!

This graphic literally says it all: I AM ENOUGH! I don’t need a relationship and/or children to feel valuable or “worthy of being a woman” whatever the fuck that means. I can honestly say that I am the absolute happiest I have ever been in my life. I live by my own rules, and I am accountable to no one but me. This doesn’t make me a cold, unfeeling person, because once you get to know me, you will quickly discover that I am the exact opposite.

One of the biggest misconceptions people think being a single and childless woman means is:

  1. I have lots of free time, therefore, I should be available whenever and wherever someone needs me.
  2. I should have lots of money since I have no “real responsibilities”.
  3. I’m a lonely spinster.

Hell No!

  1. My time is my own, and I choose how to spend it. Contrary to popular belief, I am often busier than not. I just don’t advertise my life on social media or to others, and I have no problem saying “no” simply because I do not want to. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
  2. I’m comfortable, but I ain’t rich by a long shot. I work a 9-5, as well as a couple of side hustles. I’m an ambitious woman with many passions, passions that I want to generate me some income. If anything, being single often means you have to work harder to afford basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter simply because you’re not sharing the expenses with anyone.
  3. I am alone, but very rarely lonely. See #2. I am always on some kind of grind, and when I need companionship, trust and believe, I gets it.

So yeah, this carefree black girl is loving life. Being single ain’t a death sentence or a badge of shame. Just do you and be happy. That is all…

OPEN YOUR HEART BLOG TOUR BY STACY-DEANNE

Open Your Heart

blog tour

Open Your Heart Book Cover

Book Title:Open Your Heart
Author:Stacy-Deanne
Genre:Interracial/BWWM
Release Date:January 12, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

When British playwright Stefan returns to Chicago to get back with his ex-lover Dana, he is shocked to meet her twin sister Tess who informs him that Dana died a year earlier. Though Stefan is distraught about Dana, Tess mesmerizes him and he vows to get closer to the beautiful, black psychologist.

Because she does not trust him, Tess does her best to fight her attraction for Stefan but loses the battle. Before she realizes it, Stefan has swept her up into a wild affair full of kinky trysts that pushes Tess physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Even though they try to keep things sexual, Stefan and Tess end up in love but will see that it is much easier to share a bed than to open your heart.

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meet the author

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sweet to sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. She loves writing stories that focus on main characters who rarely get the spotlight such as characters with physical disabilities, mental illness, and terminal diseases.

With Stacy every book is an adventure.

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buy the book

Open Your Heart Book Cover

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Monday Musings: Falling Out Out Of Love With An Author

A period of reflection or thought

***DEEPLY SIGHS***

This has happened to me too frequently lately, and I am somewhat unsettled. All it takes is one, or two, or maybe even three books written by an author you love that just leave you feeling some type of way-and not in a good way. It sometimes isn’t even be book-related, but something an author says or does on social media or in life that just turns you completely off, and you’re like, “I’m done…”

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When I first started reading romance, it was for pure escapism. Plot and characterization were never an issue. As long as the couple were hittin’ the skins, and I got an HEA, I was in love with the book-and the author. So what happened? The starry-eyed fog cleared out, and I was left with two truths: Either the books weren’t all that great to begin with (Now I know liking or disliking any art form is subjective, but I also know what I like and what I don’t like), or I harbored some sort of false hero worship of the author. I would follow every social media account, join every romance group, and rate or review almost every book. Basically I was a stalker hiding in plain sight.

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I’ve been reading romance novels consistently for the last five years now, and I meticulously categorize my purchases by author, genre, subgenre, ethnic pairings, series, and favorites. I often go back and reread my favorites, because they’re, well, favorites. My favorites category has now been cut by more than half. This is my face after I’ve reread a few of these “faves”.

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Who ripped the blinders off and ruined the fantasy for me? I’ll tell you what I think it is. I’ve become much more socially and ethically conscious in these last five years, and as I read, I’ve become too damn politically correct. How are racial or cultural differences addressed? Is the guy a misogynist who goes unchecked or “un-redeemed”? Is there slut-shaming or homophobia? I’m RUINED!!!! I am so angry with myself sometimes because I can’t allow myself to just enjoy the damn book! I’ll see fellow readers and bloggers gushing about a book or an author I used to really love, and I’m like nooooo. They wrote that one book where the girl killed caterpillars for fun…Does anybody else feel this way about an author? Or an actor? Or a “thing”? Or is it just me?

***

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I’d like to end this week’s musings by publicly thanking all the bloggers, readers, and authors who’ve either publicly supported or privately reached out to me following the shitstorm (which I’ll address in more detail in a future post) last Monday’s musings caused. And while you may not have necessarily agreed with my thoughts and opinions, you respected my right to speak my truth on my “whack” blog without going into attack mode. And for that, you are appreciated. Thank you.

 

 

 

OFF THE GRID: TEA & ME

Tea & Me

After all the drama that transpired on this “whack” blog this week, I wanted to talk about something very near and dear to my heart, and that is tea. I love it! I drink it like it’s going out of business, and I much prefer it to the taste of coffee. I will drink it hot, lukewarm, or iced. I love just about all flavors and blends, and I’m constantly on a quest to tickle my taste buds. Now all you coffee lovers, get out ya feels right now. This ain’t about you right now. I enjoy coffee, but I just love tea ok?

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I think my mini obsession started when I was a child. We had two beverages in the fridge at all times: Kool-Aid and iced tea. Man, if that ain’t a stereotypical, black household thing, I don’t know what is lol. But I own it! My stepfather would make the iced tea so sweet, that it was literally liquid diabetes. I would actually dilute it by half and fill my glass to the brim with ice cubes and it still was too sweet for my liking. These days, I either drink my tea unsweetened or with a teaspoon or two (max) of sugar (not artificial sweetener).

As I got older, my tastes got a little more sophisticated. I graduated to the bougie spicy, exotic, yet affordable blends like Bigelow. On the real, sometimes, I’ll take a couple of these tea bags and brew them  for room fresheners. They are potent!

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Now that I’m in my 40’s, my tastes are much more refined (Don’t get it twisted, I will drink the hell outta some Lipton’s). I found this wonderful tea maker called Tea Drops, and it is founded and operated by a woman of color!

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The teas are loose and individually pressed and wrapped and come either in a biodegradable box or these cool ass wooden boxes (which I am accumulating by the month!) The flavors are crazy delicious like cardamom spice, citrus ginger, and an herbal assortment.

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I enjoy a cup, or two every morning or when I’m busy reading and/or editing. Tea is the nectar of the book addicts!

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#TeaserTuesday: “Two Can Play That Game” – Part 1 – #Fiction

Around The Blogosphere:

I love flash fiction where you get a new installment every week. It’s such sweet torture. Marquessa is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers and Twitter buds.

Check out part 1 of her fictional short “Two Can Play That Game, then head over to her blog to follow the series.

Aside… Mobile blogging socks…

Simply Marquessa

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Photo credit: hansvandenberg30 via Foter.com / CC BY

This piece unfolds in four parts. I’d love for you to “Follow” the next installment.

A strong cup of hot black coffee was the only thing I wanted.

Like everyone else standing in the queue, I needed my morning caffeine fix so I decided to stop at the first coffee shop on my way to the office.

For the first time that week, I was actually early for work. But that was only because Brittany had kept me up for most of the night and I had never really gone to bed. When I’d picked her up from the airport the night before, she had wanted to make up for lost time, lots of lost time. I was glad that I had no meetings that day because I knew that when the wave of tiredness eventually hit me, it would hit hard…

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