BLOG STOP: MJ Kane, author of ‘Nobody’s Business’

Author Pic 5.2012From Player to Baby Daddy: What Makes a Man become a Father?

I tried to figure out the best way to be politically correct with the statement I’m about to make, but decided to just say it instead:

When it comes to an unmarried man accepting the responsibility of fathering a child, most women expect him to run. Race, economic background, and age don’t matter. A woman in a relationship that has no set expectations or commitment dreads saying the words, ‘I’m pregnant’.

Now this isn’t to say that most men run from responsibility. Some embrace it. Others have to wrap their heads around it as they come to grip with the sudden change in their lives. And yes, there are those that run for the hills.

But what happens when a man who’s used to being single and free to be with any woman he wants discovers his ex-girlfriend has had his baby? Not a month ago, but two years ago? And to make matters worse, the child is ill and about to have surgery that could end his life?

Meet Trevon Campbell.

If you’ve read the first novel in The Butterfly Memoirs, A Heart Not Easily Broken, then you’ve meet the twin brother of the stories heroine, Ebony Campbell. While Ebony left home in North Carolina to follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian in Los Angles, Trevon’s path took him to Atlanta, Georgia. There he planned to earn a spot in the NBA. After several years of making a name for himself at Georgia Tech, his dream was extinguished when, during one of the last games of his college career, he suffered a knee injury. With nothing left but his education, Trevon made the best of his situation and got a job in an industry he least expected: management trainee for Applebee’s.

Seven years later, the Business Management Degree he earned has kept food on the table, an expensive condo near downtown Atlanta, and the right to bed any woman he chooses…until his ex-girlfriend drops the news…now Trevon has a decision to make.

Does he man up for the sake of his son or let his attraction to a woman he just met take the lead? What path will he choose?

And before I go, one more thing …

CONTEST TIME!!!

To celebrate the release of the fourth novel in the series, I am giving away a gift basket full of butterfly swag AND autographed paperback copies off all four novels! This is a month long contest, so enter as many times as you’d like to increase your chances to win!

Click here to enter!

Nobody's Business

Trevon Campbell’s world changed the moment his ex-girlfriend announced he was a father. Determined to make up for his past mistakes, he gives Trina what she wanted before their breakup, what feels like his soul, which means forgetting the woman he had a one-night stand with, the woman who stole his heart.

Kai Malone doesn’t want to play by her family’s rules. Instead of working for the family business, she became a firefighter. Being a female of multicultural descent, working in a field dominated by men, Kai focuses on her job to ignore the infidelity of her fiancé. Tired of his deceit, she gave in to a one-night stand with a complete stranger, someone she’d never have to see again…or so she thought.

When tragedy strikes, their worlds collide, leaving them no choice but to deal with each other again. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the attraction that brought them together the first time is stronger than ever, forcing Trevon to make the biggest decision of his life.

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 Excerpt:

Justin was a perfect mix of both of us. While he was a spitting image of me when I was his age, he still had features like his mother, caramel colored skin and eyes a shade lighter than my dark brown ones.

My attention went back to her. Trina and I met when we both attended Georgia Tech. We were both Business Majors, though I was there on a basketball scholarship. My dream had been to play pro-basketball; hers had been to get a good job working in corporate America.

A basketball injury forced me to make use of my degree.

She, on the other hand, was sidetracked and postponed her career after graduation due to motherhood.

That was after we parted ways and she moved out of the apartment we shared.

If I had known that she was pregnant before I facilitated our breakup, life would have been different for both of us. The house I bought would have been done a long time ago.

I would have been around to watch my son grow in her belly.

We would have been married and living a good life.

“You never answered the question. What did you mean by moving on?” Finished washing dishes, Trina dried her hands on a towel, then settled in a chair across from me, curiosity on her face.

I glanced at my son for a moment, then faced her. “Moving on to us.”

Her eyebrows shot up as she sat back. “Us?”

I placed my elbows on the table, giving her my full attention. “Yes, us. I want you and Justin to move in with me.” Trina’s head dropped an inch; she stared at me as if I had sprouted some abnormality on my forehead. “I don’t want it to be a live-in situation. I think we should get back together.”

The laughter that exploded from her side of the table was a slap in the face. Her hand went to her mouth, but it was too late for her to hide the fact she thought my suggestion was absurd.

“Trevon,” She used my full name, something done only when she was serious. “You and me,” she waived a finger between us. “That ship sailed years ago. The only reason you and I are dealing with each other now is because of this little man right here.” She reached over to wipe a spot of fallen jelly from his crisp blue shirt.

“If you had told me from the get go you were pregnant instead of hiding it from me, things would be different.”

Exactly how different, I had no idea. But at least I would have known about my son’s existence and been there. Instead, she kept him a secret, not bothering to tell me she was pregnant when we broke up.

Then one day she showed up to the restaurant I managed.

It had been my off day, but a phone call from the manager on duty stating a customer demanded to speak to me by name, forced me drop what I was doing and come in to handle what I thought was a volatile situation. Thinking it was a customer about to complain about bad service, I prepared to use my good looks and charm to win them over.

Instead, I got a bomb dropped in my lap.

My ex-girlfriend, whom I hadn’t seen, nor spoken two in two years, flashed a picture of a little boy and said he was mine.

The revelation came because Justin was diagnosed with Sickle cell anemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Neither of us was eligible to be donors because we both carried the trait. There was risk involved in the procedure. Knowing this, Trina decided I needed the chance to know my son…just in case.

After recovering from the shock of having a child and the severity of his illness, getting to know him took precedence in my life. Thankfully, he pulled through the procedure. That was eight months ago and he was nearing his third birthday.

Nothing could get back the two years Trina took from me. I didn’t doubt for a moment that if he hadn’t gotten ill, she would have continued on with the secret. But I owed it to her, and especially my son, to correct the situation and give them what they both deserved; a chance to put our family back together again.

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 About the Author:

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this once 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.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and four pit bulls. During the day, MJ is a librarian, in her spare time she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

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~The Butterfly Memoirs Tour: ‘Lonely Heart’~

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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?

 

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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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The Pier- The Silent Character

jaded-blog-tour-cover2If you’ve had the opportunity to visit the ocean, at some point you find yourself drawn to the water’s edge.  Whether your feet are in the tide pool, or your standing on the dock, you stare off into the horizon. There’s no land in sight for hundreds of miles, just wide open space.

The Unknown… your future.

Look to your left, right, or behind you…what do you see? Land, buildings, objects offering security. It’s the remnants of decisions already made, or rules that cannot be broken. All you do is go with the flow.

Isn’t that how life usually is?

We’re born, taught right from wrong, what’s expected of us, and what decisions we should make.

Then one day we reach a critical point in our lives where a life-altering decision has to be made.

For the characters of The Butterfly Memoirs, that place is the Santa Monica Pier.

Life experiences bring them to a cross-road, a time where the decision made can change the rest of their lives, for good or for bad. In A Heart Not Easily Broken, Ebony Campbell was at the pier when she decided where her interracial relationship with Brian would go, resulting in a first kiss.

The same is true for Yasmine Phillips in, Jaded. For the sake of not going into spoilers, I will say this: when you reach those chapters in the book, pay special attention to how the characters lives were before and after their visit.

Was it for the better…or worse?

MJ

***TRIVIA QUESTION! What is the name of the record label where Brian Young works?***

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

Jaded-3.Final

Buy Jaded

http://5princebooks.com/buy.htm

Buy The Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

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Author Pic 5.2012

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M.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.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.

You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.

Facebook

Twitter

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Author M.J. Kane Blog and Website

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Get to know M.J. Kane, author of the ‘Butterfly Memoirs’

Jaded-3.FinalAmazing news! On Saturday, M.J. Kane, author of the Butterfly Memoirs is stopping by to blog about themes in her latest release, Book 2 in the Memoirs series, ‘Jaded’!

The first book, ‘A Heart Not Easily Broken‘ was one I definitely enjoyed and reviewed here.  I’m looking forward to reading Book 2 so am especially excited that M.J. has made me a part of her blog tour. It’s only Thursday, so not too late for you to get on the bandwagon folks.  Stop by and pick up your copy of Jaded on Amazon or Barnes & Noble now!

About ‘Jaded’:

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business. When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

If that whetted your appetite for more, stop by M.J.’s blog to read the Prologue and Chapter One, here!

Happy Reading!

-N-

Paying it Forward . . . The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’d never heard of a “blog hop” before today, but here’s the deal: I was tagged by author, M.J. Kane, in her blog which answered 10 questions about “the next big thing” she’s working on, She’d been tagged by another writer. At the end of this blog (which will answer the 10 questions) I will tag a bunch of other authors, effectively paying it forward and getting folks who read my blog to go to theirs and discover these wonderful authors. So it’s the author’s equivalent of a pyramid scheme, pretty much. Kidding!

This whole deal is incredibly well-timed because I am now officially “in the thick of it” – that place in the writing of your book where you can scarcely think of anything else, so just today as I was thinking about how I’ve neglected my blogging, this incredible opportunity came up for me to ramble on about the only thing I can think about these days – ‘The Art of Endings’ – my next big thing.

So here goes:

flatecover (1)Question #1. What is the working title of your book?

The Art of Endings‘. It’s not the ‘working title’ – it will be the title I use unless I get divine intervention telling me it should not be so.

Question #2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I was plagued over the holidays by a sense I had (and honestly, some reviews from people I trust) that the ending of ‘Secret’ was only somewhat satisfying. That more remained to be said. And since ‘Secret’ was definitely a departure for me in terms of style of storytelling, I began obsessing about the ending, and how the art of doing it well in writing is the hardest thing to perfect, even if you’re a pretty decent writer otherwise. And also, it was the end of the year so there was that ending to contemplate as well. And finally, some of the characters in Secret needed to find resolutions (endings) to long-troubling issues, so I decided to explore those. I blogged about it here.

Question #3. What is the genre?

I write contemporary women’s fiction. Some would call it romantic fiction. That’s probably a fair assessment as well, though for me, that’s not the only point of the books I write. The romance is what lures you in – I hope the message I convey goes beyond boy-meets-girl.

Question #4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition?

I dreaded answering this question because I never draw characters with anyone in mind except themselves. They are whole and unique to me. And I also don’t watch too many movies but  here’s what I got from my Googling:

For Darren, Lamman Rucker

Lamman Rucker

For Trey, Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore3

For Shayla, Joy Bryant (plus about 10 pounds)

Joy Bryant2

 

 

 

 

 

For Paige, Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

 

 

 

Question #5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Two men learn to understand themselves and the women they love, in the context of relationships they never thought they would have, or were capable of.

Question #6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?

Self-pubbed.

Question #7. How long did it take to write the first draft?

Still working on it! ARGH!

Question #8. What other books would you compare it to in your genre?

Wow. Tough one. I’ll take a page from M.J. Kane and compare myself only to myself. As writers we’re in the same trenches but fighting our own individual battles. So ‘The Art of Endings’ will be like ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’ in that it will have only one side’s point of view, whereas I generally write from both the male and female POVs. This time it’s all about the guys (she says, biting her fingernails with nervousness).

Question #9. Who, or what inspired you to write this book?

It all comes to me in my sleep, or something. I dunno. But seriously, when I finish a book, the characters go away. They are no longer in my head, but after ‘Secret’, they were still there, and so I knew there was more to write and I had finished it too soon. That instinct was confirmed for me by some trusted readers.

Question #10. What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?

The primary thing would be that it’s meant to demystify the male journey toward romantic attachment. As women we wonder what makes them tick, how they decide that they ‘love’ rather than just ‘want’ a woman. What are the forces that make them form emotional attachments, and what makes those attachments stick? Women’s fiction – especially romances – have examined to death how and why women love. This is meant to give the view from the other side, the other sex.

And done. Thanks for recruiting me, M.J.!

Delaney Diamond, Nikki Walker, and Candace Shaw, tag you’re it!

Happy Reading and writing!

-Nia-

I Don’t See Dead People . . .

dancing_ghosts_by_swann1-d3l9qv6
‘Dancing Ghosts’ by Swann1 at DeviantArt.com

. . . but I do hear people who aren’t alive except in my imagination. Last night, even as I slept, I was listening to Darren and Paige, Trey and Shayla, characters in my current work in progress, The Art of Endings. Each of them spoke to me in their own unique voices, telling me what they’re about and where they want to go. Inspired by questions from M.J. Kane, author of A Heart Not Easily Broken, I recently had to think about my writing “process” – the rituals, or lack thereof that help me write. And I had to articulate what I guess I’ve always known – that I can’t plan what I am going to write, I can only make the time and the space for the writing to happen.

After a very brief hiatus between December 23 and the new year, I realized that no matter what, these characters would not shut up until I wrote the continuation of their stories. So I launched right in, not doing as much writing as listening, making notes about them, their wants, their fears, their hopes and their troubles. I carry with me always a small leather-bound notebook in which I write these notes, small enough that I can whip it out no matter where I am, and now it’s brimming with information.  Right now my thoughts about them are racing so fast that I cannot keep up, nor can I get a full night’s sleep. So I’m back at it again, sitting in front of my laptop, channeling the voices and it’s the most amazing feeling in the world, almost like a mania . . . so in between note-taking, I am on social media, blogging, and chewing gum, anything to get rid of this excess energy.

Today I have several so-called “important meetings” out in the world in my other life. But the funny thing is, they don’t feel so “important” when compared to my real life, the writing life. I watch the “real world” and participate in it (somewhat), giving appropriate responses to questions, and sometimes even managing to contribute an original thought. But I am not there. I’m with the people I cannot see, but who are not dead. To me right now they are more alive than anyone else in the known world.

Happy Reading!

Nia