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When I think ‘extraordinary’ my mind automatically focuses on my daughter. But most parents think their child is amazing and, with some trepidation of being thought boastful, I’m going to put Cristal aside for a moment and tell you about another extraordinary occurrence that involved a child.
Many years ago, before my own daughter was born, my husband and I lived on the west coast of Wales, on Cardigan Bay. We had a lovely large house for just the two of us, so when a woman’s group to which I belonged was approached and asked to give less fortunate children a week’s vacation in the summer, Richard and I readily agreed. In fact, we agreed to have two sisters since not many of our friends could take more than one.
The girls arrived, and I think we got more out of that week than they did; it was a rousing success for all of us. We took them to the beach, of course, across the road from our house, and on day outings to places like a petting zoo and a steam railway ride. They dipped into my make-up bag and played dress up as well as games in the garden, and learned to eat foods they had never had. At the end of the week I cried my eyes out, sure I had learnt more from them than them from us.
At Christmas we sent them presents—dolls, of course—and looked forward to the possibility of having them once more the following summer. But that was not to be. Their father apparently refused the idea, and so eventually we lost touch. Richard and I went out to live in Nigeria shortly thereafter and, upon our return, we had our own beautiful daughter and eventually moved south to London. In fact, we lived in three different places before one night, some seven years later, when the phone rang and I heard my husband accepted a call from a payphone. It was one of the girls. She had somehow managed to track us down from house to house. She told us what that week had meant to her, how the Christmas present had made that holiday the best ever. But I was hardly able to tell her what that one phone call after seven years meant to me.
Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?
Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.
But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head.
Emily liked the sound of his voice, low but not husky, a slight twang he had cultivated, but not pretentiously so. When he spoke, she envisaged melting caramel, something delicious, the way it could be so appealing as she stirred, with a shine and slow drip from the spoon, before it gradually solidified. Soothing. A liquid velvet.
But he hadn’t spoken today. Not since first thing when he’d told her to get ready. Not through breakfast, or as he helped clear dishes, or gave her a hand up into the wagon.
“You haven’t seen her. You didn’t see her picture, did you?” The questions came sudden, yet without malice.
Emily straightened, alert. “No. No, I didn’t.” Would I understand better? Is that what he meant?
“I keep it with me.” Daniel began to fish in his pocket. “Would you like to see it?”
“No. No, you keep it, please. It won’t change anything.” Emily panicked. She would be beautiful, the other, that would be the answer. So stunningly beautiful that just her photograph had enthralled him, mesmerized him into loving her. Emily couldn’t bear to look, didn’t want to know the answer. Didn’t wish to torture herself further. “And I’m sorry. I’m sorry for reading the letters.” A rush of words, they flowed out of her. “I should never have done that. It’s not like me. But you…well, you understand it seems—”
“You’re probably wondering what I see in her. Or what she sees in me. As for that, what she sees in me, I have no idea. Maybe, like you, she wishes to get away.”
Emily studied his profile, the planes and contours of his face, the eyes set straight ahead, the slouch hat low on his brow. He gave nothing away, was a man in control of his emotions, thinking, maybe still wondering how he had won that woman. Or maybe set on keeping the answer to himself.
Overhead, clouds scudded, scoured the sky, leached the blue, threatened.
“Did you ever ask her? Why you?”
“I did. She never answered. I’m thinking what she sees in me is husband material. I guess. She tells me about her day, the people she knows, what she does. As you read.”
“She just seems so…so outgoing, so…so very social to ever want this life. I found it difficult to believe.” She jutted her chin out, then turned to him, waiting.
He gave the reins a sharp shake. “I don’t know. I never asked if she knew what she was getting into. I described it. I assumed if she wanted to stop the correspondence there, she would have. I was pretty damn amazed and happy she’d wanted to come, written back even though I described the cabin to her, the isolation.” His gaze slid toward her.
“And you think she’ll make you a perfect wife, do you? Be happy living here? Cook your meals, mend your clothes, keep your cabin, have your babies?” Exasperated, she tried to make him think, think of what he was letting himself in for, how long a marriage like that could go on, how it could end up being even lonelier than he was now. Emily would seem to him to be trying to win him over rather than making him see the truth, but push him she must, save him, stop him. She knew those sorts of women, the debutantes, the socialites. Not a one would last out here, not for a single day.
His head snapped around to stare at her. “She’s been writing. She hasn’t stopped.”
ABOUT ANDREA DOWNING
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, another full length novel, comes out in February, 2015.
WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
In preparation for this article, I sat there thinking of all of the extraordinary moments in my entire life – winning a spelling bee, graduating high school and college, receiving my first book contract, seeing my books in print for the first time. And, of course, I can’t forget meeting my soul mate, the first time my fiancé told me he loved me or when he proposed. These are all extraordinary moments, moments that are overwhelming, that take your breath away.
Then I began to look deeper. Books have always held great meaning for me, just as an education means a lot to me. So, what could be equally extraordinary in that regard? Well, I think that the sensation of encountering a book for the first time can be extraordinary, a wondrous event. I’m not talking about text books in grade school, but any book that initially makes you stand back in awe. For me, I have to say it was the experience of browsing through my grandmother’s collection of books in her house. That house held great meaning for me as well because it was like a second home for all of us, and I miss my grandparents terribly. But, I digress.
I remember combing the stacks, my gaze skimming each title with amazement. It didn’t matter what the subject, those dusty volumes held my interest. There is just something about the sensation of a book in my hands that makes me feel on top of the world for some reason. The other great thing about reading is that you can immerse yourself in other realms. Stories play out on the page, and you feel at one with the characters. I know e-readers are the thing these days, but a physical book will always hold more value for me personally. That memory of looking through my grandmother’s book collection is dear to me because I can recall the colors, the textures, even the smell of not only the old books, but also the homey aroma of cookies baking nearby. Books, especially older books, will always remind me of that, and that freedom of reading is associated with it. Reading a book is extraordinary, and I hope it’s that way for everyone.
She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?
She rose from her chair to step away from the desk when she heard a crashing sound. Her heart hammered inside her chest as she froze, tension in every muscle of her body. What the hell was that?
After a moment of uncertainty, she took hesitant steps toward the hallway. The crash had come from the adjoining bedroom. It was dark inside and instinctively, she reached for the light switch. When she flipped it up, the light didn’t come on, but a buzzing noise could be heard from the center of the room and she saw a tiny spark light in the darkness. Her eyes adjusted to it as she shouldered into the space.
She scanned the room expertly. The window was open and the flimsy white curtain blew freely in the night breeze, creating an eerie vibe. She shivered. She hadn’t left the window open before settling in to work for the night. She remembered latching it and checking the lock for security. She started toward the window but nearly tripped over an object in the dark. Desiree crouched down and felt around the carpet with her fingertips. Her hands met a length of metal and she laughed hoarsely as she righted the lamp, which had somehow fallen. Her hands scraped the edge of a broken bulb. It explained the noise she’d heard, but why was the window open?
She swallowed tightly and reached to latch it closed. As she began to put the curtain in place, though, a weird tingling swept through her body. Her movements stilled and her eyes widened. Down below on the street stood a dark figure silhouetted by a streetlamp, and he was staring up at her window, at her. Was it really a man? She couldn’t be sure. She couldn’t think straight either; she’d forgotten to breathe in those seconds. When the figure turned and headed down the street, Desiree breathed a long sigh of relief. What was happening? Who was that man? Was she being stalked? She closed her eyes. Had he been in her house?
She shook her head. There was no way he could have gotten in from a second-story window unless he’d climbed. That was a lot of trouble to go to, and didn’t most burglars wait until the occupant left the house to rob it? No, it had to have been a coincidence. Maybe she had left the window open and just didn’t remember.
There was something unsettling about the man in the street, though. A weird sensation that he was dangerous, yet somehow appealing, swept through her. She was being silly. He was a complete stranger. There was no way of knowing what sort of person he was. Her imagination was running away with her again…
ABOUT MARIE LAVENDER
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released in late April of 2014, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
A list of her books and pen names are as follows:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature
Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things
Universal Amazon: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-nature-marie-lavender/1120879883
What is my extraordinary?
We as a species are geared not just for competition and dog eat dog, but also for cooperation and love. That is for the species to survive. The lifeform and genes. It is natural, genetic. With that in mind I easily feel a sense of duty and service. I was religious growing up and also was attracted to the military. It does not seem contradictory to me to include both. Both mean devotion and service. Even self-sacrifice if required. Enough self-survival to survive as an individual, but also for the purpose of preserving things I love. And I easily love my own, a broad spectrum of my own. I am moved by those that show compassion, that turn the other cheek, but if that doesn’t work, then willing to fight.
In a democracy we seem to feel more to fight for. Not just an emperor or geographical domain. But bonds of family, Country, creed, and ideals. It makes it personal and not just blind servitude. I am very proud of my father and other relatives that either sacrificed all or were willing to and it was strong and natural in me. And in this day of jihad I have written a novel of my experiences while in the Peace Corps, another form of service.
I was a Marine, then later also joined in the Peace Corps. My friends and I were in the barrios of the Philippines in the mid-1980s during the last days of Ferdinand Marcos. Poverty like you never saw. And nowhere to go to relieve it. We worked with almost no resources trying to share their life, to understand it, share ours and our backgrounds, and doing whatever we knew to relieve their situation.
In the meantime there was chaos in much of the countryside. I had joined the Marines earlier wanting to go to Vietnam. There was all this talk of the peasants in the rice paddies just trying to survive and wanting to be left alone to live their lives. I was witnessing this in the Philippines, which was also caught in Cold War meanderings, and with a despot in power manipulating their lives for the last twenty years. There was insurrection in places and it was impossible to not see or live past what that meant. And then, from out of nowhere, it climaxed into the most unbelievable peaceful, revolution of love and desire for freedom. It caught everyone by surprise and I will never forget it and am so proud I lived it. The prelude, the revolution itself, and the aftermath.
Only the beautiful Filipino people could have pulled off a revolution like the People’s Power revolution of 1986. It added to my life. Just living in the barrio with these people did, but the revolution was the encore of one of my most extraordinary experiences ever.
I Will Be The One
Following his stint as a Marine during the Vietnam war, James needs something beyond the mundane conformity of his life in Vicksburg, Mississippi. As he enters the Peace Corps, a political reformer named Benigno Aquino is gunned down in the turbulent Philippines, half a world away. James has no idea fate will interweave events for him to witness the overthrow of a dictatorship and the miracle of a bloodless revolution.
Lois has joined the Peace Corps to explore the world outside her staid Ohio upbringing. As a teacher in a remote village she totes her own household water from a distant source, learns to accept locals wandering through her hut at all hours, and even becomes accustomed to gunfire in the jungle night. But when the visit of a suspected spy to her village threatens their lives, she and her friend James must make a decision of lasting import.
Lois rubbed my hand softly and affectionately as we lay in the dark. “We’re genetically geared to compete, but also to cooperate,” she said as if in a review session. “For survival of the species. Remember that time we rode the jeepney together going to Midsayap? Where I tried to ride the bumper with you?”
“They wouldn’t let you,” I reminisced with her. “You’re a woman. Women tire more easily, but also, women fall off more easily. Or if there’s an accident or ambush, no one wants to see a woman suffer.”
“Exactly,” Lois said. “Survival of the fittest includes gallantry of the strong to protect the weak. Remember what that man said to me to get me to go inside? He tapped me on the shoulder. That’s what they do. They tap on the shoulder and say, I will be the one. I will be the one to take the hardship and danger. That is so beautiful, so touching.” She turned fully on her side as if to look at me, even though we were in total darkness. “When we get married someday, Mississippi, that’s going to be our wedding vow. Before you kiss the bride to seal our marriage, we’re going to face each other, look each other in the eyes, hold both hands, and say to each other—” She placed her hand on my cheek for emphasis. “Let’s say it now. I want to vow it right now. Let’s do it.” “I will be the one,” we said to one another. “Whenever one of us is weak,” she continued, “the other will be there. We will always be there for each other. We will always survive.” We sealed our vow with a kiss.
Born in Harlingen, Texas, on October 7, 1948, where I grew up and worked on a cotton farm, I graduated from Harlingen High School in 1966. I attended Texas A&M beginning in Summer 1966. In January 1970 I dropped out to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, where I served as an enlisted man, attaining the rank of Sergeant, with an honorable discharge after three years. I worked as a computer programmer afterwards in Houston and as a civil servant for a US Air Force Base in Frankfurt, Germany. I traveled and worked in Europe for two years, which included flying to Israel in October 1973 to aid the Jewish State in the Yom Kippur War. I was also in Greece in the summer of 1974 when the war between Greece and Turkey erupted over Cyprus. I was stuck on the Greek Island of Ios for part of that war, until I managed to catch a boat to Athens just in time to watch the Greek military dictatorship fold. I returned to Texas A&M in the Fall of 1976 to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and was stuck on the Greek Island of Ios for part of that war, until I managed to catch a boat to Athens just in time to watch the Greek military dictatorship fold. I returned to Texas A&M in the Fall of 1976 to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and returned to Europe afterwards, and then also to Israel, where I lived for almost a year. I later taught English in Taiwan before returning home to get a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1980, which I received in 1982. I joined the US Peace Corps in 1984 and served for three years in the Philippines. In 1987 I began work for the Swiss government as a computer programmer until 1998. I have worked in the IT department of Texas A&M since 1998. I have three children, am presently divorced, and am Jewish.
What is my extraordinary?
Without a doubt, I have an overwhelming abundance of love from my family and circle of close friends. Instances where they’ve made me feel special are too many to count. Yet, there is an incident that still warms my heart after nearly fifty years. It was the night Daddy took me to the school fair during first grade.
I didn’t think I’d get to go. My dad worked long hours in construction and my mother worked second shift from 3 to 11 pm. Since times were tough back then, she worked as much overtime as possible to make ends meet. As a result, it was sometimes hard for us to participate in afterschool events. For some reason, I really wanted to go to this fair. Maybe it was because my teacher had repeatedly mentioned all the games and prizes. I was so sad not to be going.
Normally, that would have been the end of it. Ma had to work and even as little kids we understood. However, this particular night my mother begged my dad to take me and he agreed after his long day as a brick layer and cement finisher. He got home late and didn’t have time to change or clean up. When we got to the school, Daddy emerged from his white convertible 1963 Cadillac with his work pants covered in soot, cap filthy, and cement plastered on his boots. I remember the scene like it was yesterday. Some people might have been embarrassed to have their parent come to school in soiled work clothes but not me. I can still feel the joy and pride bubbling in my heart as I reached up with my five year old hand to grab my father’s hand. I skipped into the school glad to be with him.
The night was perfect. I participated in the cakewalk, which is basically a form of musical chairs, and ended up winning an orange-frosted cake. I really was too happy for words. It was the best school fair ever. Daddy carried the cake for me as I clung to his hand, and I felt like the most extraordinary person in the world.
There couldn’t possibly have been a happier person on earth at that precise moment. I had won an orange cake, hung out with my daddy, and got to attend my very first school fair in our convertible Cadillac while my mom made extra money with her overtime. The world was perfect that night, and I was the star.
Scarred by a childhood betrayal, Attorney Maxwell Montgomery has vowed never again to let his fate be dictated by anyone—not his parents, not God, and definitely not the church. He doesn’t need anyone including the woman who has willingly put her life on hold for him. He is determined to be successful, powerful, and rich enough to avoid ending up like his father by any means necessary. No one is immune from his vengeful pursuit—or so he believes. Thinking he’s on top of the world, he isn’t prepared for the shocking turn of events headed his way.
RELENTLESS is book 1 in the edgy new faith-based series co-authored by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill.
Adrenaline surged. There wasn’t any greater satisfaction than hearing the jury foreman belting out the verdict, “We find in favor of the plaintiff.” The sum of the judgment didn’t quench Attorney Maxwell’s legal thirst; although $12 million wasn’t bad for a day’s work in court. Best news was that there were plenty more cases to come. So long as corruption continued slithering into the church, he’d be a man on a mission. Anticipating the battles he’d get to fight sent exhilaration surfing through his body that he could ride indefinitely.
Maxwell saw the wave of reporters waiting on the courthouse steps as the bright spring sunlight refused to be hidden. He jiggled the knot on his tie and straightened his Armani suit coat, which didn’t need much help. It always fit perfectly, as expected, consistent with the rest of the life he’d carefully and purposefully crafted. “Are you ready to face the crowd?” Maxwell asked his client.
She grabbed his arm, shaking. “Do we have to go out there? Now that we’ve won, I just want to get out of here.”
Absolutely not was what he should have told her, but there was no need for further convincing. He’d proven that his plan worked best. She was walking out with a civil case victory against the almighty Reverend Morgan, the so-called anointed leader of one of the largest ministries in the tri-state area. Whatever he was supposed to be, reverend, minister, doctor, or bishop, the well-deserved label of being a bona fide predator could also be added to his bio. No way was Maxwell going to pass up a prime opportunity to shout their victory over the airwaves. He’d send a message to the other perpetrators. There would be no rest as long as Maxwell Montgomery was alive and breathing. Churches were on notice and they’d better take him serious…
ABOUT PATRICIA HALEY-GLASS
PATRICIA HALEY is a trailblazer in the modern-day Christian fiction genre. She is an award winning, #1 national bestselling author of twelve faith-based novels and two anthologies. She’s a senior project manager, born again believer, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Patricia lives with her loving husband and precious daughter in the Chicago, IL area. Visit her on www.patriciahaley.com. Become a Facebook friend at Patricia Haley-Glass or join her fan page at Author Patricia Haley.
I took a playwriting class in college. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about writing for the stage. All I knew was that when I went to see my professor for our one-on-one conference, he kept telling me that my characters “need stakes, Quanie!” “Okay,” I said, and then sat back, dazed and confused. I had no idea what he meant. “So tell me about your play.” I told him my idea and he stopped me in my tracks: “So they go to the store?” “Uh huh.” “So you’re going to put a car on the stage?” “Ummm…I hadn’t thought about that.” “You can’t put a car on the stage!” “But my characters like to go to the store,” I whined. In any event, I completed the assignment, a one-act play, the night before it was due. It was called Mercy Under Fire and was about this woman who gets duped by an inept burglar. Was it ground breaking? Probably not. Did it have “stakes?” I had no idea, but I finished the assignment and got some pretty decent feedback (and a friend of mine eventually read the play, loved it, and produced it at the Baton Rouge Community Theatre). So there I was, faced with completing my second assignment. There could be no car on the stage, and I needed the ever-elusive “stakes.” What was I to do? Well, I had a short story called “Sandwich Shop” based on my experiences working at Subway. The characters were quirky and the plot? Even quirkier. But would it work as a one-act play? Well, it was going to have to. The assignment was due the next day and my cup of java was quickly wearing off: “Sandwich Shop” it was. I was terrified when my critique day came. The professor casted the parts, and as the “actors” started reading, something miraculous happened: the class was laughing so hard that they were completely out of breath. So much so, that they actually had to stop several times because the actors couldn’t continue. I was shocked! Was it…that funny? Could something written by little ole me make people react in that way? Well, apparently so. I’ve held that experience close to my heart ever since, and whenever I’m feeling doubtful about my writing, I think back to that time and say to myself: if you can’t do anything else in life, honey, you can write.
The New Mrs. Collins
(Paranormal) Release Date, October 13, 2014
Book Blurb In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart. Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis. And it burns every time she does. But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife—it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet. Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried. Author Bio Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She is the author of The New Mrs. Collins, a southern paranormal novel, and It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy, a romantic comedy. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit http://quanietalkswriting.com.
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Social Media Links
Twitter:@quaniemiller Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor Blog: http://www.quanietalkswriting.com Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller Website: http://quaniemiller.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Follow Fest 2014! Fellow author Quanie Miller author introduced me to this annual event and I am very happy to be included.
Name: Ava Bleu
Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction
What genres do you write? Contemporary Romantic Comedy & Edgy Inspirational Romance
Are you published?
Yes, my latest novel, Glorious Sunset, was just released. It’s the story of a time-traveling king, his guardian angel and his lost love. And it’s a comedy. You can read about it here on my site.
Do you do anything in addition to writing?
I host a darn good segment on my blog (“Extraordinary Love”) where romance and inspirational authors give personal accounts of instances when love transported them from feeling like the ordinary women we all are to the extraordinary women we all aspire to be. It’s a great segment, if I do say so myself.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a single lady from Ohio with champagne tastes on a beer budget. I’m a romantic and an optimist but I can be somewhat sarcastic and a little snippy, too. I am borderline “bad/good girl” and I make no guarantees on which one you will get on any particular day. Odds go up for “good girl” if I get a healthy dose of ice cream or a nice glass of my current fave’ Bordeaux.
What are you reading right now?
I’m in night school so only texts for me for the foreseeable future ~*sniff*
Which authors influenced you the most?
Sharon Bell Mathis, Toni Morrison, Judy Blume, Rosemary Rogers, Stephen King, Alice Walker.
Where can people connect with you?
Do you have a newsletter? Not only do I have a newsletter, I also give away stuff to my subscribers. ‘Cause I love ‘em. You can subscribe by submitting your information via the sidebar to the right. I send out newsletters about once every 1-2 months so, hopefully, not often enough that you get tired of hearing from me.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I’m not the greatest with Twitter and Facebook seems to hate me, but I promise to respond to any and all questions if I can figure out how.
I have had many moments where I felt extraordinary: when I won a race at school, when my husband told me he wanted to marry me (Huh? Someone wants to marry me?), when I had each of my kids, whenever I have roast duck vermicelli (always an extraordinary experience!). But there’s one in particular that I want to share.
It was a freezing cold day in December here in the UK, and I must have been bored, or fed up with the degree I was studying for, or both. But anyway, I picked up a pen and a notebook and started writing. I’d always been a creative person; I wrote songs for my church choir, I wrote poems sometimes, I’d written some short stories. But each time I tried to write a novel it didn’t work out. Anyway, I didn’t think anything would come of this latest attempt, but I just needed to write something, create something, use the right side of my brain rather than the left. You see, I was studying molecular biology and genetics at university, and it was interesting, but I was at a point where I was done with pushing down my flighty, and slightly whacky, artsy side and forcing myself to be sensible and practical and scientific. I don’t know exactly what triggered me that day, but I wrote to my heart’s content.
It became like therapy. Each day I would go to university and endure classes about DNA and RNA. But in the evening I would work on my novel and get my creative release.
Nine months later, in the middle of the night, I wrote two words that caused what felt like a rip-tide of wonder, joy and downright giddiness. They were: The End. By then, my novel filled about fifteen notebooks. I stared at them in awe. I couldn’t believe I had written a whole book. It was an amazing wow moment. And I truly felt extraordinary. Like, I have never attended a writing workshop, I know nothing about story structure, character arcs, foreshadowing, layering of themes, etc, but I have written a book!
In that moment I felt like superwoman, like the world was my oyster, like I had found my purpose. And purpose is what makes me feel extraordinary. I have a reason for being here and a mission to accomplish. So many things now make sense too: my overactive imagination, my obsession with language and words, and my introversion. They all feed into my writing. I used to feel ordinary. In fact, less than ordinary. Why couldn’t I be like everyone else? Chatty, bubbly, gregarious. Now I know why. Because I wouldn’t write if I was like that. I need to daydream, I need to think and make up people and scenarios. And it makes me feel absolutely extraordinary!
About Dayo Benson
Dayo Benson is passionate about using fiction to convey powerful messages about redemption and God’s love. She is the author of the Beauty for Ashes Series, Pure Passion Series, Drew Ashley series, and a number of standalone novels. When she is not writing she enjoys music, reading and going for long walks. She lives in North West England with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. Find out more about Dayo and her books at www.dayobenson.com.
P.S. The first book in her Beauty for Ashes Series is currently free on Amazon!
There’s a funny story I like to relate off and on at times. I was dating the man who would eventually become my husband. During the first eight months of our relationship, I was insecure about myself (not that I’ve improved much) and I had this fixation that my boyfriend was only with me because I was his first black (or African American, colored, Negro – choose your flavor) girlfriend. I would say to him, “I’m not an experiment.” Or, “Just because I’m black (fill in blank).” He would take me in his arms and murmur sweet nothings about caring about me but I refused to believe him. So in the eighth month, I stood on my soap box next to his chair and began, “Just because I’m—” when he turned and screamed at me, “Look! I know you’re black!” I kinda stared at him with this owl-like expression. Then it hit me. The only person who had a problem with me was me. I used the color thing to mask my insecurities and somehow pushed them onto him. Ten years later, with seven years of wedded bliss and hiss, I find myself, an ordinary woman, feeling extraordinarily loved.
Many Strange Women
Book One of the Sins of the Flesh Series
Parker J. Cole
Solomon Greene made a deal with God–If He’d send him an unattractive woman, he’d marry her on sight and do what was spiritually right by God. After all, he needed an ugly wife to help him escape from his sordid past.
Celeste Martin made a deal with Solomon. She’d be his ugly wife. All she wanted in return was his name. She was in love with her sister’s fiance and he would be the only man she’d ever love.
Solomon had no idea that he’d find his wife fascinating. Celeste didn’t know that one taste from her husband’s lips would have her wanting more. Yet many strange women were between them. Could Solomon ever escape from his past? Could Celeste ever love her husband?
Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their beloved dog, Sarah.