The Book Where Nothing Happens

UPDATE: AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON!

I like books where nothing happens.

I know, I can feel you rolling your eyes and thinking, “What on earth is she on about now? And where is that Acosta book she’s been promising forever?” But stay with me … Though Ivy's LeagueI am as much  a fan of books where there’s lots of action and surprises I especially love books (and movies) where there is the slow evolution of characters as they realize something about themselves, their lives and their relationships. That happens sometimes in the middle of a crisis, but sometimes it happens in slow stages, as they’re going about living their daily lives. Something small may happen to trigger big changes.

So recently, after reading a few books like that, I decided to write one. And I have to give credit where it’s due–this book happened because of women I know, because of experiences in my own life and in no small part because I read a book called. ‘The Reeducation of Aria Jackson’ by Angelia Vernon Menchan, and another called ‘A Natural Woman’ by Lori Johnson, and also because of something Aja Graves said in passing which she now tells me she has no recollection of.

I mention these inspirations because it’s not often that you know from whence you’re stealing your ideas as a writer, so when on the odd occasion I have that level of self-awareness, I like to holler it out. Anyways, ‘Ivy’s League’ is a mashup of ideas from all those people. It’s a book about a woman not unlike most of the women I know, and about a man, not unlike some of the men I know. And its about their slow coming together. Other than that, not much of anything happens. But I had fun writing it, and hope you’ll have fun reading it.

‘Ivy’s League’ will be on Amazon on Monday, September 21st and on Barnes & Noble shortly thereafter.

And yes, Miri Acosta and her education are still on the way. Soon.


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 that of everyone around them, hell-bent on confirming their worst fear: that the bond they’re beginning to build can’t possibly last.


From Ivy’s League:

“What’s going on, girl? You all alone finally?” Ryann answered her phone without greeting.

“Yup. Gavin and Jaden just left. Now I’m bored.”

“Call up your little Toolbelt Stud and tell him to come over,” Ryann laughed. “You don’t know when you might get another chance, since Gavin is only a seasonal father.”

“I’m sorry I mentioned him to you at all,” Ivy said, though she had been thinking along the same lines herself.

“Why? First time in months I heard you talk about a man!”

“Because now you’re going to pressure me to do something you know I’m not comfortable doing.”

“Look, the worst has already happened,” Ryann argued. “Your goofy ass fell out and showed your literal ass, so it can only get better from here.”

Ivy laughed and idly reached down, yanking up the leg of her sweats and running her fingertips over the scrape on her knee. “So you think I should just call him and … what? Ask him out on a date?”

“Why not? It’s the twenty-first century, Ivy. Women who wait around for a man to make the first move wind up … waiting around.”

“I don’t know,” Ivy said. “What if he has a girlfriend?”

“Then hopefully he’ll say so from jump and you won’t almost get cut up by some pissed-off chick from Southeast showing up in your driveway at two in the morning looking for her man.”

“You scare me sometimes, you know that? That sounded way too detailed to be made up on the spur of the moment.”

“Who said it was made up? I didn’t ever tell you about …. Oh crap. I have to go, girl. I see one of my targets walking through the lobby. Let me go see if I can talk to him. He should be good for at least two hundred grand for the Foundation.”

“Okay, I’ll call you later.”

“Don’t,” Ryann said. “Don’t call me until and unless you’ve called that man first. And you better have a good story to tell too, or I’ll hang up on you.” And then she did just that.

Ivy walked through kitchen, picking up the remains of her and Jaden’s early breakfast, dumping leftover food in the trash and the dishes in the sink. Looking around her, she admired her kitchen.

Large and sunny, the surfaces were all white granite, the cabinets, dark oak. She had paid a pretty penny to have it renovated when she moved in, proud of the accomplishment of buying her first home, and filled with a bursting sense of endless possibilities. She would entertain; friends would sit around the center island with long-stemmed glasses filled with the best chardonnay. She would serve goat cheese and Scottish smoked salmon on rosemary and basil crostini, and they would all have clever conversation about the Obama Administration.

But once she and Jaden had moved in, Ivy grew weary of the constant din of construction, and more than that, wary of the numbers being quoted to her by unscrupulous contractors for whom a single woman of means was like blood in the water to man-eating sharks.

She had gotten as far as the kitchen but still had the basement to go, and there was a stubborn recurring clog in her guest bathroom that made her have to steer overnight guests to her master bath instead. It hadn’t been a huge problem thus far because overnight guests were rare. Only her mother, her Aunt Gwen, and Ryann when she had too many glasses of pinot, ever needed to spend the night. One day, though, Ivy would have to get that bathroom fixed.

One day. Or ….

Ivy paused, leaning over her sink and biting into her lower lip.

It was what Ryann would call a “bitch-move”—calling Eli up and telling him she needed some work on her house just so she could see him again. But the fact of the matter was, she did need some work done on her house and the chance of him actually cheating her on the price was slim-to-none since they kind of knew each other. And he probably went to Woodmore Church and was in the Men’s Auxiliary or something. Guys like that didn’t cheat single mothers out of their hard-earned money did they?

Finding her purse, Ivy fished out the business card he’d handed her just before they parted. The card was simple and tasteful, with none of those superlatives (fast, excellent service!) that made her instantly suspicious. Instead it consisted of just six words, and a phone number in a simple, unadorned script.

Thomason Home Improvements

Repairs. Remodels. Restoration.

The card stock was expensive and dense though, so Eli Thomason clearly recognized that the simplicity of the words had to be offset by a subtle nod to quality of workmanship. She smiled, liking him more by the second.

At the school, even though she had a mission to get Jaden’s birthday stuff down to the Café and get to work, she had been almost excruciatingly aware of him walking just behind her, except for when he held the doors open for her—or standing just over her shoulder. It was ridiculous, but he just felt … solid. A strong reassuring presence that a woman could lean into, bury her face into his chest and just … cry.

Ivy shook her head. What a ridiculous thought! Why would she need to cry?

Her life was good. People probably envied her. She had a four-bedroom house in one of the best neighborhoods in the Washington DC suburbs, where the value of real estate only ever increased; her son was handsome and healthy and well taken care of; she had friends (a few anyway) and a career that gave her the chance to influence causes she cared deeply about. And on her best days, she felt pretty, didn’t carry an extra ounce of weight, was in good health and fairly young. Why on earth would she need to cry?

Shoving the question out of her mind, and pushing even further down the possible answers to the question, Ivy reached for the phone. She hadn’t given Eli her number because he didn’t ask, so there was a good chance he might not answer. Hesitating, she dialed the number but did not hit the ‘send’ button.


Happy Reading!

N.

BLOG STOP: a visit from Roy Glenn, author of ‘It’s Only Love’ coming February 14th

Roy Glenn coverUPDATE: Buy now!

From the Author:

My latest novella, ‘It’s Only Love’ is a break from my usual action—mystery—suspense novels, but the story of these two people, Victor and Natasha, is a story that I felt like I had to tell. It’s about two people in love and how sometimes that gets complicated. You see, Victor has met the woman of his dreams. The only problem is; she’s not alone. She has a man. So even though the energy between them is charged just from the eye contact they shared from across the room, circumstances makes it impossible for them to have any time alone to explore what each of them is feeling. Besides, she’s with her man and that would be downright disrespectful on so many levels. Right?

Well, as fate would have it, these two will meet again and that meeting will come at a time when Natasha has been questioning her relationship with Lloyd; the man she thought truly understood her, but in fact, Lloyd doesn’t have a clue who Natasha is at her core, nor is he interested in finding out. With this in mind, when she bumps into the man with the intense brown eyes from a week ago, she finds herself wondering if fate is playing some type of a trick on her. Pushing her into what can only be called, love.

Here’s an excerpt of ‘It’s Only Love’:

As I expected, seeing Carmen Jones as it was intended on the big screen was magnificent. After the movie was over, I picked up my empty popcorn and soda trash like a good movie citizen and got ready to leave the theater. I had just placed it in the garbage when I turned and bumped into somebody.

“I’m sorry,” he said and I recognized the voice immediately.

“Victor?”

When I first heard his voice, my heart began to beat faster. It was beating so hard that it felt like it was going burst to through my chest.

“Natasha?”

Since my breath was caught in my throat, it was hard to say anything, so I just nodded my head. I was excited to see him again and I was nervous all at once. Even though I knew it was wrong because I had been there with Lloyd, I wanted to talk to him more at the reception. But now here he is.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said and once again his voice shook me to my core.

And once again, I shook my head like a dummy, but this time, I managed to speak actual words. “You didn’t scare me. I just wasn’t expecting to see anybody that I knew.”

What I was, was shocked. Shocked to see him there and extremely curious to know what movie he was there to see. For some reason, I didn’t figure him as the, I’m going to see Carmen Jones type, but you never know.

“What did you see?” I asked.

“Carmen Jones. It’s one of my favorite movies.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

I wondered whether it was a sign.

I mean really. What are the chances that I would bump into him at this place, at this time? Especially when I’m starting to tire of Lloyd and this trophy nonsense.

“I know what you mean, I wasn’t expecting to see anybody I knew either. Especially you, Natasha.” When he smiled at me it felt like I knew him all my life and his smile was the most familiar and satisfying thing I had ever experienced.

That’s when I noticed that he seemed to be looking around for somebody. Probably the woman he brought with him. She probably went to the ladies room while he took care of their trash. I was curious about it, so I asked. “What are you looking for, Victor?”

“Honestly?” he asked and looked around again before leaning closer to me.

“Honestly.”

“I was looking around for your man.”

I laughed a little. “No, I’m a solo tonight.” I looked around in the same manner that he was.

He smiled. “What are you looking for, Natasha?”

“Honestly?” I asked and looked around again.

“Honestly.”

“I was looking around to see if you were a solo tonight,” I flirted and wondered where it was coming from. I had a man, one that I was about tired of, but still. That is not the way I like to do things. I was in a committed relationship and that meant that I didn’t flirt with other men.

“No, I’m a solo too.” He folded his arms across that hard chest of his. “But now I’m curious. Why? Why would—what’s his name?”

“Lloyd.”

“Yeah. Why would Lloyd let you go to the movies by yourself?”

“Truth?”

“Truth.”

“When I told him that I was going to see a movie starring Dorothy Dandridge, he said he’d never heard of her.”

“No point in asking him then.”

“I came to the same conclusion.” I admitted and now I was curious. “What about you; why are you alone?” I asked and started inching toward the exit with him walking next to me.

“Pretty much the same reason. Most people I know aren’t into old movies, so after a while, I stopped asking people to go with me.”

“They never understand it and don’t quite get why you do,” I said as he opened and held the door for me as I exited the theater.

“So, since we are both alone, would you like to get some coffee or something? There’s a Brick Coffee House nearby.”

I looked at my watch. “I don’t think so. Not tonight anyway.”

“Well at least let me walk you to your car,” Victor asked and I was instinctively about to say no when he said, “How can a lady walk alone.” Paraphrasing a line from Dere’s A Cafe On De Corner from Carmen Jones. “A lady oughta have a man to escort her to her car.”

I melted. “Sure.”

Not for the first time did I think about how much he dwarfed me in size. I’d often been described as tall compared to most women at five foot six, but walking next to Victor who looked to be at least six two with broad shoulders, I felt petite, feminine; protected. As we walked from the theater toward the parking lot, I noticed how relaxed he was, how fluid his movements were. The intensity of his gaze a week ago and again today, the way he moved, how good he looked right now made me conjure thoughts of how good he’d be at touching me the way I liked, making love to me the way I liked. My face got warm just thinking about what I shouldn’t have been thinking about. I was taken so Victor should not be on my mind right now.

“What are you thinking about Natasha?”

His words took me away from my delicious thoughts. I stopped and told him a lie. “Nothing at all. Well maybe about all the things I have on my agenda for tomorrow. What were you thinking about?”

He looked away before pinning me with his intense brown eyes. “You.”

I swallowed hard before trying to end this before it started, but he wouldn’t let me. “I know you were at the wedding with your man, so I know you shouldn’t go out with me but there is something about you that I can’t shake. So even if I can’t have you, now,” he paused before continuing, “I would at least like to be your friend.”

I looked at him and when I felt that same pull that I felt at the reception I turned to get to my car, but he grabbed my hand. With anyone else, especially a man, that would have alarmed me. It was dark outside and there weren’t many people around. I didn’t know him but his touch ignited something inside of me. It made me want to be closer to him and never leave again. He almost made me want to take him up on his offer and invite him over for a cup. Which would have been problematic since I live with Lloyd.

“How about you give me your number and I’ll call you?” It was all I could offer. I couldn’t commit to something I wasn’t even supposed to be doing.

He smiled like that was enough . . . for now.

COMING FEBRUARY 14, 2015!

But until then, check out Roy’s other work on Amazon

SAMPLE SUNDAY: Mistress

AurelleBefore and after her run-in with Shawn from ‘Commitment‘, Keisha had her own story. This is it . . .

This is a sample from ‘Mistress: A Novella’.

Keisha Crawford was worried. Sitting cross-legged on her bed, she spread out in front of her, all of value that she owned in the world. The jewelry probably totaled somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand, but that only mattered if she was willing to part with any of it. Like most men, Charlie had been very generous when it came to “things.” Actual cash he’d been a little more squirrelly about. Now that she thought about it, he’d probably only ever given her about five thousand dollars in cash. Sure, he would take her shopping, let her spend whatever she wanted, which he charged on his black card; he would pay for vacations for her and her friends, he paid her mortgage, and bought her gifts but rarely if ever did he give her cash.

Getting cash hadn’t been that important, and to be honest, Keisha preferred that there not be an exchange of money. It would have made her feel like a whore, and she was not a whore. Charlie, like the boyfriends who had gone before him, simply wanted to take care of her, and she was willing to let him do it.  The age difference hadn’t mattered at all, even though they raised a couple of eyebrows when they were out together. Once a waiter had asked Charlie whether he and his granddaughter wanted another bottle of wine with their dinner. Keisha could have sworn he’d smirked when he said it, the bastard. Anyone who’d been paying a moment’s attention would have known that she wouldn’t be hanging onto her grandfather the way she’d been hanging onto Charlie.

But all that was over now. Charlie was dead, and Keisha would have to fend for herself. She guessed that she had about three weeks maximum and it would be goodbye penthouse apartment, goodbye 24-hour concierge, and goodbye weekly mani-pedis, exclusive gym membership . . .

She couldn’t think about it all now, it was too depressing.

One week after his death Charlie’s family already had begun sorting out his affairs. This morning she’d gotten a very disturbing phone call. It was his daughter, Beth. Charlie had spoken of her often and with pride. She was one year older than Keisha and an attorney at a very prestigious law firm in the city. She had sounded on the phone just as Keisha would have expected: cool and haughty.

“Might I ask to whom I’m speaking?” she said when Keisha answered the phone.

“You called me,” Keisha said. “Who are you?”

“I’m Elizabeth Staynor,” she said. “I’m calling because, as I’m sure you know, my father has died.  And in looking through his papers I came across information about this apartment which he purchased in my name. I called the building and was told that it is occupied. They transferred me up to you.”

Keisha had been struck dumb. She remembered clearly the day Charlie had brought her here for the first time.

Look what I got you, Bunny, he’d said. A place of your own.

She’d never examined or asked what that meant, “a place of your own.” She honestly hadn’t believed he bought it in her name—it was a million-dollar piece of real estate after all—but she couldn’t have imagined he’d put it in Beth’s name either. Especially since he wouldn’t have wanted anyone in his family to know about her.

“Are you there?” Beth Staynor asked.

“Yes, I’m here.”

“I’m not going to inquire into the nature of your relationship with my father. I can imagine, though that it was something my mother need not know about. My strong suggestion is that you take the next two days to empty the space of your belongings—and I do mean empty—and find another place to live.”

Keisha cleared her throat. “You really think that’s what Charlie would have wanted?”

“Don’t you dare . . .” Beth Staynor raised her voice for a moment then seemed to think better of it. “Don’t you dare imply that you know what my father would have wanted. His putting the apartment in my name is ample evidence of what he wanted. Whatever services you performed for him will no longer be needed. You have two days.”

And then the line went dead.

Keisha had no intention of leaving in two days. She would stay until she was forced to leave, and as far as she could guess, it would be a few weeks before that happened. Charlie’s funeral was on Saturday according to the obituary in the paper. Lots of powerful people from around the country would be flying in for what was sure to be a huge event. Then the family would have to have a reception or a dinner to host some of the more important guests. Then there would be meetings with lawyers and boards of directors and the staff of his many companies. Keisha’s guess was that Beth Staynor would be way too occupied to worry about her anytime soon.

But that didn’t solve the problem at hand, which was that she very little money, and no job. In her checking account, she had about seven hundred dollars. In her purse, maybe another five hundred, and that was it. Not even enough to make a deposit on a decent place to live if she needed to. Keisha wondered whether Beth had gotten around to closing out Charlie’s accounts at all the restaurants around town. She could probably eat out a few times at places where they knew her as Charlie’s girl but how long would that last? Less than a week, certainly. Charlie was not exactly low-profile; everyone in the business world and high society were talking about his death. He had fallen over at the eleventh hole on Shinnecock Hills on Southampton and been declared dead before the ambulance even arrived.

At sixty-three, he’d been relatively young, and by far the youngest of all Keisha’s recent boyfriends. Ironic that he would have been the one to die on her. And she’d really been starting to like him, too. She met him at the Met Costume Institute Gala which she was attending with Stewart Lawson. Stewart was a venture capitalist and her friend Avery’s boyfriend. But Avery had the flu and had been happy to let Keisha take her place for one night. Stewart was seventy-three and looked like that old-time movie actor, David Niven. Keisha suspected he was gay and only wanted Avery around as a beard, but she didn’t mind filling that role for an evening, especially since it meant going to so exclusive an event.

Keisha’s own boyfriend had begun to tire of her. She knew it because he was calling less, and had forgotten on two occasions to pay her rent. When she’d called to remind him, he had been short with her. The last time he came to visit, he hadn’t even been interested in sex, so Keisha knew her days were numbered. He had found someone else, it was clear, but perhaps had not yet made his move. His drawing away meant that Keisha needed to find a new benefactor.

At the ball, Avery’s boyfriend had practically ignored her. As wealthy as he was, he was still starstruck and wandered off every few minutes to meet some actress of actor who caught his eye, leaving Keisha standing alone and feeling foolish. Charlie had been standing alone as well and when their eyes met at one point, he raised his champagne glass to her. Keisha returned the gesture and smiled her most winning smile. Charlie approached and she straightened her back, presenting her chest in its best light.

“These things are a crashing bore, aren’t they?” he said.

“Depends on who you’re with, I suppose,” Keisha said.

“Well, who are you with?” Charlie asked leaning in closer.

Keisha indicated where Stewart, a few feet away, was having his photo taken with Anna Wintour.

“Stewart Lawson,” he laughed. “You can do a lot better than that.”

“Oh can I?”

“Yes,” Charlie said. “You can.”

That very night, Keisha had blown him in the back of his Bentley. Then she’d reapplied her lipstick and gone back to the party. She expected that he would want to screw her but not much more than that.  But he called her and took her to dinner the next evening and within a week he had moved her out of her apartment and to the penthouse. In the first three months, it was clear that she was not his only mistress— he seemed to be dividing his time between her and at least one other woman, but she didn’t care, just so long as she was being taken care of.  Once Keisha Googled him however, she realized she would be foolish not to try to get him for herself so she upped the ante, exerting a little more effort to be sexually creative, surprising him with role plays and greeting him at the door stark naked, silly little tricks like that.

But it worked.

Soon, Charlie was spending every free moment with her and showering her with so many gifts, it became unusual for him to show up empty-handed. He had begun modestly enough, with a five thousand dollar Tiffany Grace drop pendant, but by the time he died, the last gift he had given her was a twenty-five thousand dollar necklace. He always got the jewelry from Tiffany, though Keisha always secretly hoped he would move to something even higher end.

Now, Keisha scooped up her jewelry and put it all back into the cases in her walk-in closet. Spinning around, she realized something else she’d overlooked. She had to have tens of thousands of dollars in designer clothes. There were lots of consignment shops around the city that would pay her well for some of this stuff, much of it not yet worn.  And the furniture in the apartment could also command a good price – Charlie had gone all out with the decorating, giving her a budget that was known only to him and the designer. But Keisha could not recall being told that anything she liked was too expensive. So ultimately, she was fairly well-off. She just needed a place to live. There was one place that was a sure bet. It was her last resort, and she need not consider it right now so she wouldn’t.

Instead, she got showered and dressed and headed over to Avery’s. Avery had had a boyfriend die on her once before. She would know what to do.

Breaking Through

Maybe Never coverThe messiest of love stories to be found in any of my books, hands down, is the love story between Brendan and Tracy in ‘Unsuitable Men’. Tracy is beautiful on the outside, but feels ugly inside. She can’t love herself, and she can’t accept the love of a good man, Brendan, because she fundamentally doesn’t believe she’s a good woman. Even when there seems to be a breakthrough, with a woman as complicated and as troubled as Tracy, you have to wonder, can there really be a happily ever after?

This novella provides the answer: ‘Maybe Never‘. Coming Soon.

Now, because I know some people might be curious about when ‘soon’ is, all I can tell you is that I love giving Valentine’s Day gifts.  Having said that, I also love giving birthday gifts, but am generally the person who winds up calling to say ‘Happy Belated Birthday’ and sending the gift late by FedEx. And I’m also working on ‘The Art of Endings’ so that’s a factor as well.

In the meantime, my suggestion would be to (re)read ‘Unsuitable Men’ and fall in love with Brendan and Tracy (again, if you loved them the first time around). This book is both their (sort of) ending and the prequel to the book about Chris Scaife, the unlikeliest of leading men to come out of ‘Commitment’.

Happy Reading!

Nia