BLOG STOP: a visit from Christina C. Jones, author of ‘A Crazy Thing Called Love’

When I started writing A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the first book in this series, I had no idea it would become my (own) favorite project to date. It didn’t come to me in words at first, more like rich, warm colors and a feeling I wanted to create around it. It was the first time for me that the setting came first, and I was almost — ok, absolutely ­ — jealous that I didn’t live in this fictional neighborhood myself.

serendipitousloveIt’s a place that I dream of, but have never been, and certainly never visited. A thriving community of good neighbors, plenty to see and do, and a rich, vibrant scene of brown people in various shades unexpectedly finding love — that they may or may not have been looking for — as they work, run businesses, and just… thrive.

Because you don’t have to choose one or two out of three when it comes to being brown, being successful, and being in love. It’s not that extraordinary. It’s absolutely normal, and that’s what I love to see played out in front of me, so that’s what I wrote.

I mentioned it being a favorite project, but by no means does that it make it the easiest. I’m still finding my fearlessness as an author, while trying to present the characters in this project as they came to me — kinda… not perfect. The urge really, really is to write people who fall perfectly in love, no mistakes — especially not from our hero. Even as a reader, I want to love the hero, and his ass had better not mess up, or… he just might be human, and I’ll love him anyway, just like the heroine does.

That’s actually a lesson I can pretty strongly attribute to my gracious host for todays post. It’s okay, really, to present people as they are, flaws and all. It’s part of the human experience, and isn’t that what I’m supposed to be writing about? Even with that said… it’s hard. And I’ll admit that I’ve been resistant. I don’t want to have to step away from a scene for a moment to collect myself. I don’t want to be so angry with a character that I’m being a bitch to people in real life. But… hey, what’s the point of writing if I’m holding back? I want to put forth all of the emotion the characters are pushing on to — and pulling out of — me, and put that onto the page for the reader.

And… I’m veering off course, lol. So, back to the series. Here are my (very lightly spoiler-ish) descriptions of each book.

CLwalkyouhomeIn A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, we meet Simone. She’s been living in a rut without even realizing it, because she’s been so absorbed with the opening of her business. Then she meets coffee scented, dark-roasted, Roman, and becomes acutely aware that something in her life is missing. She overthinks everything, and sleeps with Roman too soon, and he has a little not-so-secret secret. Roman means what he says, and says what he means, but he’s kinda… let’s call him naïve. But they work it out.

didntaskIn Didn’t Mean To Love You, we enter Viv’s world when she’s fresh off finding out — pretty abruptly — that her boyfriend is engaged. Fun, right? Carter thinks so too, because he’s had his eye on her for months, and now he finally has his chance… to be her friend. Only, that doesn’t last long, because does it ever? Viv is big-hearted, and emotional, and willing to fall in love with her friend. Carter is big-hearted, and emotional, and… not willing to fall in love with his friend. He has reasons. Good reasons. But in the end, they work it out.

stillrememberIn the latest release, — Fall in Love Again — Charlie is trying to move on from a rebound marriage she never should have gotten her silly self into. But, heartbreak makes you a little crazy sometimes, and ish happens. She ends up back in the neighborhood, working again in the restaurant she co-owns with the guy that broke her heart — Nixon. Their relationship has been over for a while, but the feelings are still there. Nixon is eager to insinuate himself into Charlie’s life again, in the same role he previously held, but she’s not making that easy. Because he broke her heart. Like… seriously broke her heart. But — noticing a theme here? — they work it out.

Guess it’s no secret that I love a happy ending, huh?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post about the Serendipitous Love series! If you want to check them out, the first two books are on sale for $1.99, and also available on Kindle Unlimited. Each book follows a different couple, and they don’t have to be read in order to follow the story… but you’ll encounter major spoilers for the others if you read out of sequence.

‘2 Writers, 1 Book’ Review Site Launched!

2 writers banner

MANIC MONDAY: Nia Forrester and Tia Kelly have a new blog thoroughly reviewing books that we’ve read. Our site is a work in progress, but we’d love for you to follow us!

www.2writers1book.com

This month’s ‘Must Read’ – Walter Mosley’s ‘Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore’… check out our blog to find out why!

Blog Stop: Love Belvin, author of the bestselling Love’s Improbable Possibility series!

LIP bannerStrolling down the corridor leading to Nia Forrester’s office, Love Belvin observes the artwork mounted on the walls. The framed oil paintings are of well-known feminists such as Rosa May Billinghurst, Bertha Harris, and Ruth Simpson—all unfamiliar figures to Love, yet she has an idea of their significance at Nia’s place. Love stops at the one of Lorna Terry, wondering if it’s an authentic Basso. She then makes her way into Nia’s office and greets her warmly.

“Thanks for having me, Nia,” Love beams. “Your place is nice! I love the art in your hall.”

“Thanks,” Nia returns and gestures for Love to take a seat across from her.

Before she lowers herself onto the sofa, Love places a bottle on the coffee table between them.

“I come, bearing gifts,” Love says as she pushes the bottle of Mauve towards the center of the table.

As Love reclines in her seat, she wonders if Nia will opt to indulge or pass, thinking it will give more insight to the enigma of Nia Forrester.

“Thanks!” Nia gushes. “You really didn’t have to, Love.”

“Psssh!” Love waves Nia off, seemingly humbly. “I did!”

Of course I didn’t: A.D. Jacobs did. I can’t afford that stuff! Love thinks to herself as Nia raises the bottle and observes it.

“That’s funny! I have a little something for you, too,” Nia chuckles as she takes to her desk.

She returns in seconds with a bottle and places it on the table. Love maintains her smile as she reaches for it and scans the label. It’s a bottle of George Henri Jayar Grand Cru Echezeaux Cote de Nuit.

“Nia, I’m not sure if I can accept this. This is… Wow!” Love is uncharacteristically at a loss for words as she holds the bottle, awestruck. “You shouldn’t have gone out of your way!”

Nia graciously smiles. “No trouble at all.”

Girl, please! Chris Scaife sent that over for Mother’s Day. Can you say “re-gift?” Nia muses to herself.

“Let’s get started, shall we?” Nia exhales.

“Sure. Please!” Love’s sputters, eager to chat.

Nia: When did you first know you were a writer? Do you remember the first thing you wrote? How long have you been writing?

Love: I didn’t realize I could actually be a writer until about a year before we published. I’ve known that I’m a storyteller since I was a kid. Writing is the technical aspect of what I’ve begun to get my stories out there. Writing is what I’m still learning. It is what I’m improving on with each book we put out.

I started writing Love’s Improbable Possibility (aka L.I.P.), a titleless “book”, back in 2002, right after undergrad. So, I’d been writing this “story” for twelve years. It was something I said I would do while in college because I was so drawn to fictional romance novels. People are often surprised when I share this project was intended to be a standalone novel about a young girl from an urban setting with major trust issues, finding redemption through love.

I wrote this “book” for years; sometimes a paragraph a session, sometimes several pages a session. It was something I did at my leisure as my life evolved and progressed, which in my opinion, is clear in the development of the writing style of the series. As Rayna matures and evolves, so does my writing style. It wasn’t until I decided on the technical portion of the craft that I realized I had more than one book (in fact, over three at the time of the Beta reading) that needed tweaking and a nice closing. So, the L.I.P. series consists of four books: Love Lost, Love UnExpected, Love UnCharted, and Love Redeemed.

L.I.P. was my first project. However, since putting Love Lost out, I’ve started several other projects that I’m itching to complete (and now I am). Love Redeemed took me through a myriad of emotions and socially isolated me. I was completely depleted after publishing it. I was ready to end the series and was absolutely relieved at the way L.I.P.’ers (fans of the series) received the conclusion.

Nia: What types of books are on your bookshelves at home? Tell us some of the authors that move you.

Love: Contemporary romances and a few self-help Christian books are the only genres on my shelves. I’m not one of those authors who read everything. I’m very narrow in my literary pursuits. And occasionally, when a relative recommends a spiritual book, I’ll take it on. Some of those spiritual reads I share in Love UnExpected while Rayna is on this quest to heal this “ache” in her that she doesn’t quite understand, yet knows without a doubt is there.

On the contemporary romance side, I really dig S.H. Kolee. I’ve said before, her characters are reserved on the surface, but deeply scarred within. Although they aren’t explosive (like mine), you feel their wounds and experience hidden pain. I’ve been left feeling affected after several of her works.

In undergrad, I consumed lots of Eric Jerome Dickey. I couldn’t get enough of his stories. He’s funny and dramatic. I remember being holed up in my dorm room the entire winter break, reading his books, easily getting over a recent breakup. LOL!

I’ve not read everything by her, but Sylvia Day’s flow is extremely artful. She pulls you into the emotional ride with her characters by eloquently articulating their expressions of highs and lows. I aspire to that skill.

These are just three, but I’ve read lots of great works recently. I enjoy reading. I don’t go into a read with high expectations. I don’t go in trying to write the story for the author. I’m only anticipating being taken on a ride and I want to experience the emotions of characters firsthand. Not all of that is up to the author; my imagination is in course during this ride, too. So, I’ve taken on lots of good books by peers. It’s a nice break for me.

Funny thing is I don’t like be asked to read something. Nope. I like to explore without obligations. I’m weird like that with my reads. I’ve come across great books that way. Conversely, I’m quick to demand someone to read a book that I’ve enjoyed, though. #Hypocrite

Love quoteNia: What’s your writing process? Do you plot and outline, or fly by the seat of your pants?

Love: So, my writing process…

See, the way my head is set up is (in my Kevin Hart voice), in my mind, I have this therapy practice, and like in the movie “Ghost”, there are couples fighting for time on my couch. And I let them…fight. Their story has to be compelling to me. It has to move me and strike me as unique and relatable. I’ll know this by them not allowing me to sleep, or my mind to venture to other characters for too long.

I always tell them, “You have to give me something stick-worthy… with depth and length; I’m writing a novel here, not an article.” If they can “haunt” me down like that, they have my attention and make it to my workstation.

***I am being totally honest here. I never said I’m sane; just that I’m a storyteller.***

So, with these characters, come stories. More specific, a structure of work is presented that includes their dilemma, but that’s it. I did an outline for Love Redeemed because I needed to make sure I closed each storyline, as it was a conclusion. However, for the most part, I let the characters take me away. It’s their story after all. At the end of the day, I package it and make it flow, but it’s theirs to share with me and I articulate it for the world.

An example of letting characters go without “guidance” is the way Azmir reacted to catching Brian Thompson kissing Rayna in Love UnCharted. I was curious to see how the “thug”…or “b-boy” in him would react given he was reputable with his fists. But…what turned out to be explosive was his response to Rayna once he got her alone. I’d no idea he’d respond in the manner he did. I read that scene at least two dozen times prior to publication with my jaw hanging each time. I even choked back a cry for Rayna. That wasn’t in mind back in Love Lost or Love UnExpected. It was me allowing this character to take over in that moment. I didn’t ask myself, “What would Love do?” I totally allowed Azmir to be true to his nature. And boy, was I blown away by his reaction (no pun intended)!

***shrug***

Nia: What made you pick romance as a genre? But first, do you think of yourself as a romance writer?

Love: I have no clue what draws me to explosive relationships between extremely flawed men and women.  Is it romance? What constitutes the romance category in 2014? I don’t know. Quite honestly, I don’t believe Love Lost is a romance novel, per se. It’s more of a coming of age story or women’s literature perhaps. I don’t know.

I can only start with the phenomenon of love and take you on a ride from there, and that’s what Love Belvin intends to do with all future projects. I’ve always been captivated by stories of tried relationships. I’ve always been interested in what developed these people into the partners—or lack thereof—they present as in these relationships.

These “love” stories that come across my “couch” in my “therapy practice” aren’t pretty and nicely packaged. They will be gritty, raw, frustrating and hopefully relatable. Some romances I’ve come across as a reader have all amenable characters and convenient dilemmas. I don’t think the type of stories that attract me have these characteristics. Both Azmir Jacobs and Rayna Brimm are blemished people. Azmir just isn’t as emotionally fragile as Rayna is. He presents as the more stable partner of the duo.

So, I don’t have an answer for why I’m so drawn to the romance genre. It is truly all that captures my attention.

Nia: If you didn’t write this genre what is another you might write (or do you write another genre)?

Love: None, which is why I have my own definition of my category of writing. I’m not entertained by mystery, historical writings, fantasy or paranormal. I enjoy exploring real-time, flawed romantic relationships foremost, and extraneous/secondary relationships aside from it that influences that romantic relationship. My style is not that deep. Very singular. And I’m completely fine with this.

I write about things in the parameters of a relationship that I feel is key or intriguing, such as the first perception of the hero or heroine. Rayna was immediately attracted to Azmir the first time she saw in him in Love Lost. She claims to have felt physical sensations, even while upset. Azmir simply saw an attractive (and angry) woman. Then I love hearing dual stories as to when they first met. Again, in Love Lost, Azmir sees this beautiful woman who rolled her eyes at him, yet you never heard Rayna say any such thing. It’s little things like that that intrigues me.

In my personal life, I enjoy analyzing relationships and the small factoids that make up their stories. You can only do this in the romance genre. Or perhaps in a psychology text book, but then you wouldn’t get the hot sex that accompanies it. At least, I don’t recall that type of entertainment in text books during my academic years.

Nia: Your Love’s Improbable Possibility series has a definite flavor that makes it stand apart from many other books in the romance genre. If I’m a complete newbie to the LIP series, what would you say to ‘sell’ it to me?

Love: I think L.I.P. has lots going on between the four covers. There are several elements to it; there’s romance, an urban undercurrent, and a touch of spirituality. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share that this combo is too much for some. I knew it would be before we published, which is why I never sent the manuscript to a publishing company. It’s also why I passed on a few editors—before they got the opportunity to read it. I didn’t want anyone changing my voice or characters; just look for inconsistencies and clean it up. I’m still critiquing, even with L.I.P. I’ve learned so much.

I’ve gotten lots of flak about the series; it’s too long, it starts off too urban, it takes too long before you get to the real romance (something I’m inclined to agree with), Rayna’s too weak after getting involved with Azmir, etc. The grievances go on and on. And while I’ve listened and considered them all, I only internalized what made me stay true to these two people. Often folks didn’t or don’t get where I was going with the story and lose interest. The funniest is observing readers pumping their fists at Love Lost because of the urban feel and absolutely detest Love UnCharted, clearly realizing this isn’t an urban/street lit read.

Love’s Improbable Possibility is not a story; it’s a journey. It’s not a read with a speedy solution. You’re experiencing the emotional growth of a wounded girl as she journeys into womanhood. There are life lessons you experience with her: abandonment; bad sex partners, horrible decisions in borrowing money, surprise pregnancies, ill-responses in her romantic relationships, and self-acceptance among other things. This isn’t a quick read: again, it’s a journey. What I enjoy about it is experiencing so many elements like drama and pop-culture. I’ve blended several historical/popular events and figures in L.I.P. 

I’ve taken a risk with letting L.I.P. lead my literary works. So many have put down Love Lost and written me off as an urban writer. They never stuck with it to see that I’m actually not. Interesting thing is, up until last fall, out of all the projects on my workstation, none had an ounce of urban to them. I don’t prefer urban/street lit reads anymore. I simply stayed true to Rayna and Azmir’s essence in this particular series.

Nia: People seem to have fallen head over heels in love with Azmir and Rayna, the couple that you follow in the Love’s Improbable Possibility series. What do you think is the secret of their success?

Love: Not everyone. There is no universal love for Love (or L.I.P.), but man, has the support from readers aka L.I.P.’ers (fans of the series) been great! When closing the series with Love Redeemed, I had them on my back, so to speak. All others fell by the wayside.

 I’ve received strong regards about L.I.P. from reviewers. Even those who claimed to not have exactly hated it have expressed strong reactions to these two characters. Many complained of Rayna’s inability to simply let Azmir in emotionally. They thought he was God’s gift—rich, handsome, powerful, intelligent—who wouldn’t fall for this man? Well, a woman who has been burnt by folks time and time again. She didn’t want Azmir’s money. Remember, Rayna accepted money from Sebastian in Love Lost and he turned out to be a manipulating debtor. Initially, Rayna wasn’t comfortable with giving Azmir lead in bed. Why would she when she’d never been with a man whose interest went beyond her body? She wanted control to ensure she’d enjoy the ride—no pun intended. Also, Azmir kisses another woman and Rayna has a hard time accepting that. Why wouldn’t she when she’d just begun to drop all guards regarding this man—and seemingly involuntarily?

As the author, I didn’t agree with many of Rayna’s decisions and emotions throughout the series, but I could discern them, which was key in conveying her story. Azmir isn’t a simple man. I think from his perspective, he’d been offering Rayna something he was settled on, which was a life with him. However, he had Rayna living with him in Love UnExpected and didn’t give the poor girl a simple title of girlfriend. You can’t do that to an emotionally fragile woman like Rayna Brimm. Also, we learn in Love Redeemed what happened to his plan of trying to keep an entire illegal life from her—even married her without disclosing this pertinent information. 

I think a lot of people are drawn to Azmir. He’s has this incredible duality that isn’t easy to pull off. He’s an extremely successful corporate businessman with deep ties to a powerful and lucrative underworld. I was sure to stay away from many details of this underworld for purposes of keeping away from the urban genre, and also because quite frankly, I’m not interested in the drug trade. I was able to protect Azmir’s “good guy” image this way, which makes him swoon-worthy. We all get frustrated with Rayna, but for some reason appreciate Azmir.

 

Gown off***tosses hand in the air***

So, as far as success, I believe neither Rayna nor Azmir holds back emotionally. They are an explosive and expressive pair. Whether or not you agree with the sentiment, you feel their passion on this journey. I agree with reviewers who say you feel somewhat exhausted after putting the series down. This is because you are exposed to the highs and lows of their dynamics.

I’ve gotten from several L.I.P.’ers that the way Azmir “chases” Rayna after each time she leaves him makes them feel the possibility of true love. The type of love that will have a man in pursuit of you in spite of your flaws. What woman wouldn’t want that? I know I do! And I also believe it’s possible.

Also, Azmir brings a lot of that pop-culture to L.I.P. It’s much of who he is or was prior to meeting Rayna. What’s crazy is hearing from L.I.P.’ers that they’ve Google’d names, even Azmir’s, to see who’s fictitious and who’s real.

Lastly, I believe the ones who have taken to the series really like the length of the journey. Some folks don’t need series and continuations of one set of characters. And there are others, like me, who appreciate it so longs as I take to the couple. The tricky thing about following a series as a reader is finally saying goodbye. It’s hard to come down when you’ve committed so much time to these folks. But for those who don’t like length and depth of a story, L.I.P. isn’t for you, and I’m okay with that. I have more in my arsenal.

Nia: In general, what is your favorite kind of hero to write about? Your favorite kind of heroine? Tell us which of those traits you called upon for Azmir and Rayna.

Love: Oh, I’m attracted to formidable, introverted, and secretly passionate men who are powerful in whatever they do. I believe that’s typical in romance novels and where this “Alpha-male” phrase derives from. This is what I consume. I enjoy men who can teach a woman something about life and mostly about herself. I enjoy heroes whose walls can only be torn down by the right heroine.

Azmir is said to be very guarded by his ex-girlfriend of six years. An ex who wanted children by him and who wanted to cohabitate with him. For reasons stated throughout the series, Azmir never desired these things with her. However, he constantly lets his guard down for Rayna, who shuns his offerings almost all the time. He practically begged her to live with him within months of knowing her—wanted a child with her in the same timeframe. Azmir is reputed as a calculating man who makes very little mistakes. We see in Love UnCharted that Rayna had secrets that he never thought to look into until she’s forced to disclose a few. Rayna—or Love—had Azmir totally out of character and these are the type of events that attract me to characters, in or out of my own works.

As far as heroines: I enjoy women who are nothing like me emotionally. I feel everything, which is what I believe is crucial in my ability to tell a story. I’m attracted to head-strong women who guard their hearts (not necessarily as much as Rayna Brimm though). I like women who can withstand being showered with lavish gifts and money. Women who can function in solitude and not very emotionally dependent.  I prefer heroines who have accomplishments before and outside the hero.

People admire that Rayna is an educated woman who committed herself to school and a solid career. They believe her troubled past drove her academic and professional success. I believe Rayna found herself on a path that was easy for her and saw it through because she saw no better option. I don’t believe her actions were premeditated, just available opportunities that she took on. I like tough, knucklehead women! Until they meet their match and land directly on their arses…the right man.

***rubbing hands together, excited at the prospect***

 Nia:  I happen to think that every writer has a ‘message’ or theme that they infuse into their books. For me, one of the things I explore is perfect love between imperfect people. What are some of your favorite themes?

Love: Mine isn’t that dissimilar to yours. I will include that my “message” has a suggestion of spirituality—agape love, or godly love. I don’t believe these “damaged” people can achieve total redemption through romantic love—Eros. I like to explore how spiritual development and/or realization can assist in the success of a healthy, flourishing romantic relationship between men and women. Even explore some mania love, too! I’m kidding! (No, I’m not. Azmir showed some mania love in Love UnCharted).

Nia:  And finally, the question I know your fans want me to ask: what’s next for Love Belvin? Do you want to break any news about your work in progress?

Love: As L.I.P.’ers know, I’m currently working on Love’s Inconvenient Truth. The projected release date is early October. It’s going to be different from L.I.P. More specifically, it’s a standalone and is a singularly-narrated story from the heroine, Elle. The hero, Jackson, was introduced in the last installment of L.I.P., Love Redeemed. I just hope fans of L.I.P. will allow Jackson his own lane. Azmir Jacobs is clearly my ideal man in almost every sense. Jackson, for one particular reason, is not one that I’m known to go for. Nonetheless, I am thoroughly enjoying exploring him.

***Love licks her lips from salivation***

For those L.I.P.’ers who are still coming down from the series, I’ve caught up with Rayna and Azmir (unfortunately, not together). They’ve both agreed to a sit down with my on my blog. Rayna will be with me Thursday, May 15th and Azmir will be visiting the following week. You can check them out by accessing my blog via my website.

Also, there have been talks on my team about catching up with Azmir and Rayna via a novella sometime in 2014. I have mixed feelings about it, but am considering it. More information will be announced once I’m in a better place with Elle and Jackson, who have been waiting patiently for over a year and are now on my couch. Stay tuned.  

I still have an opportunity to sweep up those who have put Love Lost down, believing I’m an urban writer, and those who simply didn’t take to Azmir and Rayna in L.I.P. I’m cool with this. I’m determined. #ImGonnaMakeYouLoveMe

Nia: How can folks reach you?

Love: I’m available in all the places below.

 Blog/website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Email: Love@LoveBelvin.com

Instagram

 Thanks for sitting down and chatting with me, Love Belvin!

~The Butterfly Memoirs Tour: ‘Lonely Heart’~

BannerMJ Kane Tour

Decisions from the Past…

 

What I love most about writing Women’s Fiction is the ability to focus on a theme and build on it, exploring the reality of life – the good and the bad. It’s putting my characters through an emotional gambit and allowing readers to empathize and root for them as they fight their way to happiness. But, Women’s Fiction isn’t just about romance. It’s about relationships with friends and family. It’s about a woman’s struggle to succeed in her career. It’s about sacrificing to please those around her, yet fighting for what she really wants. It’s about self-discovery. It’s about love.

The consequences of past decisions can ruin your future. 

This statement is the catalyst for events faced by the heroine in the latest release of The Butterfly Memoirs Series, Lonely Heart.

Kaitlyn Rodgers is at a crossroad. She’s six months pregnant and estranged from the father of her child. An offer for the job of her dreams sits on the table, and her younger sister has moved in with her in hopes of escaping her own troubled past. Resigned to raising her child alone, Kaitlyn befriends her mechanic, Antonio Rodriguez. As their relationship grows, so does love, the one thing she figured would never happen again. But, as life would have it, secrets that were meant to be hidden come to light. And when those consequences threaten to ruin not only her life, but also the lives of the ones she holds dear, decisions must be made. Making the wrong one will ruin everything.

Excerpt:

“Why can’t I get this right?”

I threw down my pencil and tossed the costume sketch aside. The first meeting with the costume department of my new job was one week away. For the past week, I had taken notes from the information provided by the director. I had a week to create a theme for the cast’s wardrobe for the show’s opening sequence. My ideas would in turn be relayed to my team.

From there we would hit the ground running.

I read the script for the pilot and the first three episodes. Each scene was broken down by characters and action in the scene to determine what wardrobe would be needed. That included everything from shoes to nose rings.

Then came scouring the used wardrobe department for items or costumes that could be recycled before shopping for new ones.

I assisted my previous boss with this type of detail so this was nothing new. The only problem was being unfamiliar with the new set, studio, and members on my team.

Add the fact I no longer followed the vision of someone else…

The thought unnerved me.

Now it was my vision, my interpretation of what the show’s writers and producers wanted.

Everyone would be looking at me for direction. Talk about stress.

A high pitched cry came from the corner of my room. My attention immediately went to the crib.

How in the hell could I lead a team of experienced adults, when I couldn’t appease my three month old daughter?

Chloe bawled, her legs kicking and arms flailing. For the past hour, I did everything in my power to help her feel better, but nothing worked. A diaper rash irritated her beyond belief. The cream wasn’t working fast enough. The little relief it provided did nothing for the fact my daughter didn’t want to lay in the crib, she wanted to be in my arms. With my deadline approaching, I didn’t have time to pamper her.

Frustrated beyond belief, I yelled. Her cries mixed with my own.

I hated myself, failed my daughter, and realized I was not the person for the job…either of them.

Every decision made in the last year culminated into one big disaster.

I pulled myself together and walked over to the crib. My red faced baby now cried so much her voice was hoarse. Chloe calmed and turned her head to my breast the instant she was in my arms, wanting to suckle. It wasn’t from hunger because she’d been fed an hour ago. I slipped the pacifier into her mouth. Not wanting it, she spit it back out, her tiny lip trembling as she worked up another cry.

How in the world could I possibly balance being a mom, my new job, and anything else life threw my way?

It was too late to change my past. I could only deal with the repercussions of my decisions.

I refused to end up like my mother. I would not become the emotionally fucked up woman who withdrew from her daughter and gave up on life. Giving up on everything would mean leaving Chloe alone for the rest of her life.

No siblings. No mother. No father.

Luke, the arrogant asshole.

I didn’t inform him of his daughter’s birth until we were discharged from the hospital. With my medical issues up in the air, the last thing I needed was additional stress brought on by whatever his reaction would be. Since then, he’d only visited her twice.

Once he came with flowers. He appeared uncomfortable and didn’t stay long. The next time, he came with a box of diapers and gave me fifty dollars as if she was someone else’s baby.

Money meant nothing. Right now, Luke needed to be her father. Needless to say, the second visit had been as brief as the first.

We hadn’t talked since.

My daughter’s life was screwed up and it was my fault.

Unable to contain my emotions, my tears started mixing in with my baby’s.

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Look for the The Butterfly Memoirs Series and the latest release, Lonely Heart!

Autumn landscapeInstead of planning her wedding, Kaitlyn Rodgers is facing motherhood alone, the pressures of a new job, and caring for her rebellious younger sister. What should have been the happiest time of her life turns into one stressful event after another.

 

After watching his father struggle to raise a family by himself, auto mechanic Antonio Rodriguez refuses to follow his father’s footsteps…even if it means a lifetime of loneliness.

 

When Kaitlyn’s car breaks down, though, Antonio goes beyond auto repairs to take care of her needs. An unexpected friendship begins, allowing them a glimpse of happiness…until the father of Kaitlyn’s child returns, ready to offer her marriage and a future. But at what cost?

 

Amazon     B&N    iTunes    Smashwords    All Romance    5 Prince Publishing

M.J. is giving away an ebook copy of Lonely Heart! Enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win! Contest ends April 1st!

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About the Author:

MJ KaneM.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Read ‘The Engagement Season’ from Tia Kelly BEFORE it Goes on Sale!

The Engagement Season

Tia Kelly just launched a pop up bookstore where you can read her latest novel ‘The Engagement Season’ for FREE!

How does a pop up bookstore work?

It’s like a free web series. Between January 21 – February 9, on select days, a new chapter(s) of ‘The Engagement Season’ will be available online to read for free.

Visit theengagementseason.tiawithapen.com to follow the eight-part contemporary fiction series, a postscript for ‘Playing for Love’ (a Wilkersons in Love novel). If read ‘Playing for Love’, I know you’re curious what became of Kenneth and Paige, and what’s going on with Carlos as well. ‘The Engagement Season’ gives you the low-down!

The store will only be online for a limited time, so catch her new web series before it’s gone because after February 10th, ‘The Engagement Season’ will no longer be free online and will only be available for purchase as a complete e-book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Click here for EPISODE ONE of ‘The Engagement Season’

Happy Reading!

N.

Completion, or Longing?

Longing, by Evelina Kremsdorf
Longing, by Evelina Kremsdorf

By far, the most common observation I get from people who read my work is: ‘why didn’t you tell us what happened “in the end”? or ‘I wanted to see what happened after that.’ For sometime I’ve puzzled over this, because where stories of peoples’ lives are concerned, for me “the end” occurs at their death (and maybe not even then) and “what happens after” may just be window-dressing. Pretty to look at with little function. So, for me, the wedding isn’t nearly as important as a couple’s struggle to decide that they should have one, the verbal ‘I love you’ not as significant as the myriad tiny ways that I can show two people as they journey toward experiencing that emotion.

And finally, where conclusions of my books are concerned, I think there may be a little misunderstanding. Here’s the thing: I never strive to give the reader a sense of completion. Instead, what I’m going for is longing.

long•ing

ˈlôNGiNG/

noun

  1. a yearning desire.

“Miranda felt a wistful longing for the old days”

synonyms:yearning, pining, craving, ache, burning, hunger, thirst, hankering;

Don’t get me wrong. There is something to be said for reading a book, leaning back in your chair and sighing as though you’ve just eaten a large (but not too large) but supremely satisfying meal. And when I want that feeling, I have some go-to-writers who can be counted on to give it to me. But for me, the books that stayed with me, the ones I never forget are the ones that end with some ambiguity and send my imagination soaring, or wandering through a dozen different potential scenarios. Those are the books that leave me in a heightened emotional state, sometimes euphoric and other times despondent, but always, always with a sense of wanting something; and that feeling for me is both maddening and strangely satisfying. For others, I realize, when I end a book that way, it’s simply frustrating but I can’t help it . . . it’s what works for me.

When I started writing, I used to try to give conclusive endings, but they felt wrong and contrived. I don’t like even the implication of an “ending”. I like the idea that we go on and on, learning more, making mistakes, hurting the ones we love, making amends and doing it all over again. So I end my books that way—with the promise of more to come, maybe, but never with a sense of utter completion.

I don’t mean this as a missive against those who call for me to write HEAs, but just as an explanation of where I’m coming from and where I want to go with what I write. Completion works for some writers, but not for me. I want to leave you aching, craving . . . longing.

Happy Reading!

N.