Indie writers are an elusive breed. We don’t do a lot of public appearances, may never hit it big enough to show up on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, or even do a local radio interview. But we do love connecting with our readers, people who tenaciously dig through the hundreds of thousands of offerings on online retailers and, against all odds, find and stick with us.
So, eventually, how could we not want to meet those intrepid readers?
This fall, two of my colleagues and I will be in Washington DC, sitting down for wine, finger food and conversation at The Fridge DC, a hip, indie (of course) art gallery in the heart of Capitol Hill. The event starts to 3 p.m. sharp and will run until about 5 p.m. For this first run at ‘Wine with Writers’ we’re not going to be talking about any one book, but about the larger theme of ‘Romance, Realism and the Portrayal of African American Women in Modern Popular Fiction’. But no fear, this is not meant to be some deep, boring and dry academic lecture but a conversation among the authors and you, the guests, talking about the books we enjoy and what they mean for how AA women are portrayed in culture. In addition to myself, on hand will be authors Xyla Turner and Tia Kelly, signing books, talking about their any of their characters that grabbed you, and giving away oodles of cool stuff. And did I mention there would be wine?
Besides the great company of your fellow readers and writers, guests will receive a complimentary gift bag of books and other goodies from some of our favorites, and have the opportunity to purchase (or pre-purchase) autographed paperbacks of Xyla, my and Tia’s new (not-yet-released) books. We’re starting the ‘Wine with Writers’ franchise in Washington DC, but hope to have events in other cities in 2016, so stay tuned and look out for those events with other exciting indie authors.
Come join us on November 14th from 3-5 p.m. at The Fridge DC by getting your tickets here! Don’t wait till the last minute because space is limited. This is not a photo-op, but a private, intimate gathering of folks who love books. And wine.
And just in case you don’t know much about our work, samples and buy links are below.
About Xyla Turner
Xyla Turner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, Xyla wrote short stories and essays that have won numerous awards in local to nationwide competitions. She is an avid reader, but a sucker for romance. Specifically, sassy females and dominant males. Xyla is a dedicated educator and a life coach. Outside of reading, Xyla likes to spend time with her family and travel. She writes different genres, but her favorite is romance.
Her latest release ‘League of Bosses: The Client’ is available now!
About ‘League of Bosses: The Client’: ‘League of Bosses: The Client; is a short story about an ambitious local plumber and his new feisty client. He’s on the fast track to success and the interruption from Tiffany, threatens his future and tempts him to throw caution to the wind and take a chance with the hot client who gets under his skin.
The next day, around noon. A knock came to her door and in walked Tiffany Fox carrying a big bag of food in her right hand and another bag in her left. These were big clothing bags, but they looked heavy. She put them down and ran back outside and came back with another bag.
Every man, totaling four in the living room had their eyes glued on her ass. She had on some yoga pants, a tank top and her streaked hair in a ponytail, displaying her beautiful face. The woman was covered, but every curve could be seen and every man onsite would have a peek.
A possessiveness came over John as he heard a few low whistles and other men started to come down the stairs to see what the spectacle was about.
“Hey, guys.” She waved. “I just wanted to say thank you for all that you’ve done, so I brought lunch. I hope I’m not too late. It’s spaghetti with turkey meat sauce, salad, bread and sweet tea. I made enough for twenty-five people and I was told there were nine of you all together, so you can get seconds.”
The men were all smiles and some were openly salivating at the beautiful woman.
Before he realized it, John stood up, stalked towards her, grabbed her hand, and ground out, “A word.”
He brought her through the living room, the kitchen and to the backyard where nobody was, and seethed, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“What?” she looked confused.
“What do you mean, what?” he replied as he placed her against the door, with his body tilted down towards her.
“Why are you mad at me? I asked you if I could drop something off and you said yes.”
“Not dressed like that.”
“This is my workout gear.”
“Oh, but don’t I know it, and everyone else. You can’t come into a room full of men dressed like that with food. It’s like walking into the lion’s den. Now not only are they salivating at your food, but also salivating about you.”
“Well, I am single, John. There is no harm in looking, right?”
John’s eyes grew wide and he raised his brows. “Oh, that’s the game you play?” He lifted his hands like he was surrendering and backed away.
When he turned to leave, she grabbed his wrist and said, “Wait.”
He halted but remained turned away from her.
“I only want you to look at me, John.”
He felt like a drummer was pounding in his ears, her words were assaulting him. She was young, probably more trouble than he really wanted and just cooked a whole meal for a crew of men that were simply doing their job. Before he could think any further, she rubbed his arm and he turned and in one step partly picked her up and put her against the door again, but with his hands on her ass, holding her taut body to his.
“Say what?” He whispered on her lips.
Her breathing was labored, but she mumbled, “I just want you to look at me.”
He took her lips with his own and caressed them with his tongue. She tasted like sweet tea in the summer time. He moaned and picked her up, so her legs wrapped around his waist. He bit her bottom lip, then a small moan escaped her, which sent John over the edge. He squeezed her ass and pressed her in harder so she could really feel him. Then he pulled back.
He released her and kept his forehead on hers.
About Tia Kelly
Tia Kelly is the author of contemporary and women’s fiction. She is known for her candid way of capturing life’s moments, one character at a time. You can visit her here.
About Tia’s upcoming release ‘Love Is’: Diane Collins had big plans for her life, and hoops star Warren Scott was not among them. He doesn’t want to be the face of the NBA, and she doesn’t care that he is. His reluctance to be part of the limelight disarms her and the two embark on an unlikely friendship that becomes an even unlikelier romance.
Soon, his life is her life – filled with VIP treatment, parties and luxuries beyond Diane’s wildest imagination. But Warren is harboring a secret, and once it’s revealed Diane’s decision to stay or go could change the very fabric of who she thought she was.
A low grunt beside her got Diane’s attention and she looked to her left to see a man trying to get comfortable in one of the seats. His long frame poured into the aisle in front of them as he shifted his stiff magnificent body, making his unusual length stand out even more.
A family with two young children stopped in front of her and the stranger. staring openly, unlike Diane who tried to keep her gaze discreet. The mother held onto a Polaroid camera and one of the kids clutched a piece of paper and pen.
“We hate to bother you, Warrior, but do you mind?”
Diane turned to look at the guy now wearing a scowl on his face as he took the piece of paper and scrawled his name across it.
“No pictures if you don’t mind. I’m just trying to spend some quality time with my lady before our flight,” he said in a voice so low that it was barely audible.
The group moved on and Diane sighed with relief after noticing no other stragglers threatened to invade their space. Turning the page, she mumbled to her seat mate keeping her own curiosity about him in check. He was a man that clearly wanted to be left alone, but that was until she was dragged in to the imposition his celebrity caused him. “Your lady?”
“They usually leave me alone if I have company.”
She smiled, not able to resist the urge to tease him. “Glad to know I could be of assistance. By the way, I’d be highly upset if after all I did to save you from your fans if my man happens to forget my birthday this year.”
He laughed and the sound of it stirred her soul. She placed the magazine on her lap and turned to get a good look at him. He kept his head down, but she still noticed the intensity in his golden brown hazel eyes beneath thick, dark furrowed brows. A passerby interrupted their polite conversation by calling out “The Warrior.” With his head still bent, she saw his face go from relaxed to obvious discomfort. A group of young men repeated the nickname and the guy beside her clenched his jaw. Strong, angry nostrils flared above full lips and for some reason, Diane felt the need to protect him.
Her soft voice broke the tension and she placed her hand atop his forearm. “I take it you would rather they don’t recognize you.”
“Right now just isn’t the best time for me.”
“You must be pretty famous. People are whispering and staring at you.” Diane watched the corridor fill with people slowing down just long enough to get a glimpse of The Warrior as he waited at the gate.
He shrugged and shifted again in his seat, not saying anything but also not moving to get from under her touch.
A gate attendant appeared and offered him two small white flight pillows. He struggled as the attendant watched without offering any more help that might invade this man’s space. On instinct, Diane reached to help, placing the pillows behind his back only pausing to ask if that made him feel any better. When he nodded, the attendant returned to her post at the counter.
His laborious effort of pointing behind him was just as uncomfortable for her to watch. “Landed on my back during last night’s game.”
He smiled and laughed again.
“What’s so funny?”
“No. I’m just confused. Would it be safe to assume you are referring to basketball?”
“No need in telling me more. I don’t follow sports so any conversation about teams and the like would be wasting your time and mine. But I do hope you find relief soon.”
The Warrior smiled and signaled to get the gate attendant’s attention.
“Your ticket?” he asked Diane.
He pointed toward the sign with their destination and flight number nearby. “Are you going to New Orleans, too?”
He stared at the ticket she used as a placeholder in the magazine and slipped it from between the pages before handing it to the attendant. “There was a mixup when my lady and I made our travel reservations. Is there any way you could seat her beside me in first class?”
Turning back to Diane after the attendant walked away, he offered a stiff shrug. “Like I said earlier, I hurt my back in the game and now the spasms are killing me. I just want to rest during the flight. Do you mind sitting with me? That’s the only way I can make sure whoever has that seat doesn’t work my nerves the next few hours.”
Diane looked back at the uniformed woman that was still smiling and typing on the computer terminal in front of her. “Why me?”
He lifted his head and once their eyes met, Diane felt herself drawn to him. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, the attendant returned holding a new ticket out for Diane to accept.
“Mr. Scott, we’re about to start boarding, but I’m willing to allow you and your companion early entry so you can get situated. Please follow me.”
Diane paused, but he nodded after standing and gestured for her to follow. Collecting her belongings and his small bag so he didn’t have to bend down to retrieve it, she walked with him toward the jet bridge.
About ‘Ivy’s League’: By any measure, she is a success. By any measure that is, except her own.
Ivy Livingstone has entrée into Washington DC’s political elite, lives in an exclusive neighborhood and sends her son to a sought-after private school. But her beautiful life is a gilded cage. She is independent, but alone. And unfortunately, very few men are confident enough to believe they are in Ivy’s league.
Eli Thomason has all the confidence in the world, except when it comes to his own judgment about women. And his attraction to Ivy Livingstone proves him right. She is everything he shouldn’t want: a woman above his station and beyond his means. He overreached once before and still lives with the heartbreaking consequences, so why does he find it so difficult to leave Ivy alone?
And if their own baggage isn’t enough, Ivy and Eli have to contend with circumstances around them that seem to confirm their worst fear: that the bond they’re beginning to build can’t possibly last.
As they drove, in a companionable silence, it was a complete contrast to the tension-filled trip the evening before. The morning was cool enough that Eli had to turn the heat on for the first few minutes, but after that, it was comfortable, and one of the most beautiful fall mornings Ivy could remember. The sky was the brightest blue and large cotton-ball clouds drifted by. She rested her feet on the dashboard and saw Eli glance at them, shaking his head but not complaining about them being there.
“Yknow last night?” Ivy ventured. “When a lot of things got said in like, the throes of … passion or whatever, I just wondered how many of those things hold up now, the morning after.”
“Things like what?”Eli asked.
“Things like, ‘you’re mine’ … things like that,” she said.
Eli glanced at her. “Second thoughts?”
“No,” she said quickly. “I just want to make sure you don’t have any. Men have a way of …”
“Talking nonsense before they bust a nut?”
Ivy laughed. “Well, yeah.”
“Not this man. I meant it.” He gave her another long look.
“So. At Woodmore, how does that … how are we going to make that work?”
“What the heck does Woodmore have to do with it?” Eli asked. “It’s none of their business what we do. And besides, who even knows if we talk to each other outside of that parking lot? Who would care?”
“I don’t know. Maybe Jenna Tate for instance.”
For what seemed like a long time, Eli said nothing. “How do you know about her?”
“She approached me. The morning you were sick and didn’t come. She walked up to me and made it pretty crystal clear that you and she … knew each other.”
Eli sniffed. “That was nothing. And it’s over with. Obviously.”
“Were there others?”
“No. It only took one time for me to know that it was a dummy-move in the first place.”
“Well, not one time, Eli. Because now there’s me,” Ivy pointed out.
“You think for one second, what’s going on here is like what happened with me and Jenna Tate?” he asked. He sounded angry.
“I don’t know. Because I have no idea what happened with Jenna Tate.”
“I told you, it was nothing. A horny woman who wanted to slum it for a while, and a guy dumb enough to walk right into it.”
“She wasn’t ‘slumming-it’ with you, Eli. You have to stop saying stuff like that.”
“That may not be the way I think of myself, Ivy, but it’s definitely the way some of those folks at Woodmore see me. And if you pretend otherwise, you’re kidding yourself.”
Ivy exhaled. “We’re getting off-topic. I want to know how we’re going to handle when we’re at the school. Our boys go there; it’s a very conservative school, so we can’t expose them to any …blowback.”
“What blowback? And how will we handle what exactly?”
“Eli, I don’t want to fight. I just want to know how I handle the Jenna Tates and the other women who might be curious about our relationship. What would you have me say to them?”
Suddenly Eli was pulling over to the side of the road, doing so abruptly enough that the tires screeched and gravel on the shoulder sprayed behind them. He turned to look at her, and Ivy feared for a moment that he was really angry. But he wasn’t. The only looks in his eyes were certainty, and steely determination.
“What I expect,” he said, “is for you to tell them if they ask that I’m your man. If any of them step to me, I intend to say that you’re my woman. And if any of the Upstanding Christian Brothers over there step to you, I expect you to do the same.”
Ivy’s lips twitched. “What did you call them? Upstanding …”
“I’m serious, Ivy. As for the school and the administrators, it’s none of their business, and where anyone else is concerned, you’re off the damn market.”
Ivy leaned over and nuzzled him. “I swear to god, I just got wet when you said that.”
To attend ‘Wine with Writers’ in Washington DC, buy tickets here.