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I don’t know what I am writing.
Some days I sit at the computer and stare at the screen waiting for something to materialize.
Other days, I am up, at my desk and punishing the keys as I take my sexy hero and his misunderstood heroine on this quest for love.
Here lately, I have been picking my nails bordering on one step for boredom.
I have tons to write.
I just finished Blind Date. This one is really cool, but it will not be available for purchase. You can get it if you see me in person.
March 17- 18, 2017
Romancing the Smokies Knoxville, Tenneesee
May 18-20, 2017
Interracial Readers Expo Party Daytona. Florida
September 6-9, 2017
Swirling in the Big Easy New Orleans, LA
I know it seems evil, but readers who go the extra step, get the special prize. This is a special prize.
Fun. Sexy. All of the elements you love.
Mr. Cromwell Goes to Washington
I am working on this one. However, I put it aside, then some back to it, put it aside then come back to it. So I will keep you posted.
I have some other projects in the works, but I am really gearing up for the release of Oregon Trails. I really love this story. I can’t wait for you to read it.
The Office Wife, February 5, 2017, Issue 2, Olivia Gaines
Taneeka James, MBA- Procurement
Thirty days of Vicki’s life sped by in that first month at American Conglomerate (AC). As the executive assistant to the board of directors at American Conglomerate, each work day she rode the elevator to her office on the 35th floor seemed far above the maddening crowd but not nearly high enough to avoid stepping in the daily bullshit of life. At one point in her week, it unaffectedly felt as if someone had backed a laden truck full of manure to the front door and unloaded it on the marbled entryway. True, shit travels downhill, but the smells always waft upwards.
Vicki’s nose was full of the stench. Trying to rise above it all was difficult since all the crabs on the bottom of the barrel were yanking on her ankle. Finding a balance between the demands of her new job and the demands of her life took a great deal of effort. If one could be honest, Vickie was bordering on exhaustion. Entering the building each day with a look of determination on her face was part of the job. Being a professional was mandatory, and being human was a given. On days like today, it was difficult being a nice person and a professional when men like Willie Johnson believed her to be an easy target.
“You are looking mighty fine in that red dress Ms. Vicki,” he said with a lecherous smile. Willie, also a board member, a recent divorcee and feeling the lightness of his new-found freedom took it upon himself to make a play for her. He was also a life-sized pain in her ass. A month in and the stupid man was forgetting himself.
“And you would look mighty fine in a court room explaining why you felt it necessary to sexually harass me,” Vicki responded.
Willie sputtered as if he’d eaten a Habanero pepper and tried to wash down the heat with a cold Coke. “I meant no harm, Ms. Vicki, I was simply complimenting you today,” he lied.
Vicki stepped closer to him.
“You are a member of the Board of Directors. It is no more appropriate for you to compliment me than it would be to tell Mr. Herman he had a nice ass. Stop being insipid and remember where you are,” she said in a hushed tone of voice.
“Jesus!” Willie said.
“Stop blaspheming and get back to work–over here bothering me with your nonsense,” she mumbled walking to her desk. This week’s schedule reported Willie traveling to Poughkeepsie. Why he was still here getting on her nerves was beyond her comprehension, but he was here. Getting on her nerves.
Lately, everything was tickling a nerve ending.
A nice cup of tea should do the trick.
Making her way to the break room, Vicki heard the sound of someone crying in the lady’s room. It was loud. By the sounds of it, the person crying had reached the snotting phase. That is the level where the tears, snot, and sadness all intermingled into one big flow of gooey liquid.
“Hello,” she called out as she entered the restroom. “Do you need some help?”
“No,” a weak voice called back. “I’m okay.”
Vicki sighed deeply, moving further into the bathroom when she wanted to turn, run and go the other way. She couldn’t. Someone needed her help.
“It doesn’t sound like you are okay,” Vicki responded, walking down the row of silver doors until she came to the one which was closed. A pair of very expensive pumps, hung from underneath the door. Dark, hose covered legs were attached to the shoes. Only four women were on the board. Of the four, just one was black.
“Ms. James, is everything all right?” She asked.
Taneeka James, by anyone’s standards was a sharp, savvy woman going places. Widely respected in the company, she was appointed to the board at the age of 32 after saving the company millions by switching a supply chain provider, which put her in contact with a farmer, who worked with a small company which shortened the processes of distribution in South America. It put her on the fast track. Rumors swelled throughout the company that once she finished her two years on the board, she would be able to pick where she wanted to work in the world. Someone had even mentioned a vice president position in the corporate main office.
Each time Vicki saw the young woman, her face was filled with determination. The drive she had for AC was envied by some while mocked by others. Crying in a bathroom stall was unlike the tenacious Taneeka.
“Ms. James, seriously, it can’t be that bad,” Vicki said softly.
“Oh yeah? Wanna bet,” Taneeka replied.
Vicki decided to have some fun at her expense.
“Oh no! You are pregnant with your boyfriend’s baby and your husband is sterile.” Vicki asked.
“Say what?” Taneeka responded. Vicki noticed that the sobbing had eased.
“You gained ten pounds and your doctor has placed you on a no carb diet,” Vicki said.
“No…what are you talking about?”
“Please tell me you don’t have cancer!” Vicki yelled.
Taneeka flung open the door to stand in the stall staring at Vicki as if she’d lost her everlasting mind. Vicki greeted her with a wide smile.
“At least I got you to stop crying,” she said to Taneeka. “Come one over here and let’s hug this out.”
Vicki opened her arms to the young lady, uncertain if she would step into the embrace or curse her up one side of her head and down the other. Instead she stood still.
“Don’t be shy. No one is in this bathroom, but the two of us. Come on and get this love before I start charging you an admission fee,” Vicki said to the woman.
To her surprise, Taneeka stepped forward and flung herself into Vicki’s arms. It was so forceful, it would have knocked Vicki down if it weren’t for the granite counter top behind them. She held onto the young woman as a fresh set of tears marched from her ducts, making an imprinted trail down her cheeks. After five minutes, Vicki stepped back and pushed her away.
“Okay, enough of that shit. It’s time to shake it off, make a plan and move forward,” she told Taneeka.
“You make it sound so simple,” Taneeka said.
“It is that simple. What makes life complicated is that we are always trying to make every circle fit into a square simply because it looks pretty to us. Life isn’t pretty. Sit down, figure out a game plan and get moving,” she said with authority. It was difficult to believe that a woman who represented the entirety of procurement for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate was in the lady’s room crying.
When Vicki accepted the position, many of the departments the board members represented required extensive research. Taneeka’s role in procuring involved the procedure of selecting vendors, establishing payment terms, strategic vetting, selection, the negotiation of contracts and actual purchasing of goods. Her role in overseeing procurement from the board perspective focused more a concern with acquisition all the goods, services and work that is vital to organizational policies that are in place to make sure AC is sourcing from companies with similar ethics, and that the sourcing materials that are not environmentally hazardous.
“So, with all that said, Ms. James, why are you crying?”
She inhaled twice.
Taneeka looked down at her feet.
She shuffled her feet.
Vicki was getting impatient and she really wanted her tea. Please don’t let this be about some chuckle headed boyfriend. It wasn’t. It was over her chuckle headed husband.
“Malik, that’s my husband, is all over me about the credit card and my spending. On top of that, I can’t cook, the house is a mess, and I overshoot my budget every month. It has become a point of contention in our marriage,” she confessed.
Stunned was the right word to describe what Vicki was feeling.
This powerful, black woman, sat on a commode in the bathroom crying, because she couldn’t cook and couldn’t balance a checkbook.
A woman who made purchasing decisions and wrote policies for one of the largest conglomerates in the world was falling apart in the bathroom because she was a lousy wife.
“I need some tea,” Vicki said.
“Are you leaving me?”
“Yep. I thought you had a real problem,” Vicki said as she washed her hands.
“I do have a real problem. I am a lousy wife,” she said to Vicki.
Vicki walked away from Taneeka, headed to the break room to make that cup of tea she so desperately needed to get her through the rest of a crappy day. The last thing on her list was listening to a woman who made six figures, wore clothing she couldn’t pronounce and live in a neighborhood where she couldn’t even get a job as a housekeeper.
“Vicki,” Taneeka called behind her. “Wait a minute, please.”
“No. I am going to make myself a cup of tea. Would you care for one as well?”
“Uhmm, yes,” Taneeka responded.
“Good. Get cleaned up and I will see you in the break room,” she replied.
It was the start of a relationship that few could explain, yet most women could understand. Vicki had somehow become Taneeka’s office wife. By adding Taneeka as a friend to her Pinterest board, Vicki was able to offer her guidance, friendship and a camaraderie in a job were there were no such things as friends. Vicki taught a wife who could not cook how to prepare fresh meals in her home. Some of the meals were via crock pot, stove top or oven created with simple, easy to follow recipes. Taneeka’s shopping habit now was relegated to one new pair of shoes or a purse every six months, which eased the tensions in her home. Vicki encouraged her new friend to start a cash only diet. This type of spending meant if she didn’t have the cash in her hand to buy an item, she would not be able to charge it either.
The two women were seldom seen together in the office. It would not be appropriate for a board member to seem so friendly with the support staff. Taneeka James and Victoria Lawrence, spotted once on a Friday afternoon in February sharing a cup of tea, were not seen together in public again. Yet the bond between them was strong. A bond which would later come under fire.
But, for now, the conversations between them developed through comments on a Pinterest board, where the two women interacted daily and shared a private life. Photos from vacations, family functions and personal milestones were posted to a private board visible only to their eyes.
It was the best type of relationship. A relationship closed to prying eyes.
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Genre: Science Fiction
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.
I hope you had a chance to read Watching Mia. Yes, it was a bit different from what I normally write, but I am a storyteller. There are so many stories in our lives that have a happy ending, just a different way of getting there. I hate cookie cutter stories. Therefore I refuse to write any. I never want a reader to finish one of my stories and say it was predictable. If it’s predictable, why the hell are you writing it?
One of the things I really wanted to touch on in Watching Mia, is the idealism which many attach to marriage. The real story is about the relationship. A great deal of sub context was embedded in this telling of a man’s fantasy to have him woman see him for who he really was.
- It was obvious that he wasn’t very attractive outright, but the man himself was pretty awesome.
- She was a very attractive woman. At times, you could almost sense that she may have thought she could have done better than “settling” for Franklin.
- She is sitting on top of 40. If she did get a divorce, would she still be able to attract a good looking man to keep her in her lifestyle.
Franklin made the offer for Mia to “take the step” hoping in his heart, she would not. However, when she did, there was nothing he could say or be angry about because he did make the offer. I mean really, don’t say I can have the last slice of cake then judge me for eating it. I say that to say this, it is a very well written story. You may not approve of the way the characters handled the crisis in their marriage, but don’t judge them for eating the cake. We all have friends who have made some less than favorable decisions in their lives, but they still remained your friend.
We would love to hear your thoughts. Here are some questions I want you to think about in your responses.
- Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
- Did Franklin think Mia would turn down his offer?
- Why do you think Mia went through with it?
- Have you ever done or felt some of the things, the characters did?
- What was your favorite part of the book?
- Do you have a least favorite part of the book?
- If you could change something, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, don’t reveal it!)
What do you think it takes to make a happy marriage?
Good Morning Lovers, Bibliophiles and Romance Enthusiasts,
I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce you to my newest stars Paul and Kalinda Darton. Paul used to be the philanthropic arm of his family’s business Darton Industries, ensuring the family did it’s part to protect the environment. After a fall out with his brother, he goes for a hike in Eastern Oregon, falling in love with the land.
This is where he will stake his roots. Nearly two years pass and Paul is a little lonely. He advertises for wife who can cook.
There is a whole backstory of this man and his relationship with food. Eating is not as easy as you would imagine for some folks. Paul also hopes his bride to be will be internet savvy to help him sell his idea to dazzling urbanites who crave a weekend away from it all to enjoy some “Wide Open Spaces.”
Enter Kalinda Marsh.
On the outside it looks like she has it all together down to her color coordinated socks and shoes. Inside, she is a hot mess with Daddy issues that is a laundry list long.
It is not an ‘I’m angry at the world’ laundry list which makes you hate her character, you like this woman. Her laundry list is an inner dialogue of a woman trying to find her place in the world and fit in. She simply wants to belong. Kalinda is also very likable from the beginning all the way to the end. Her mother didn’t make it easy. Her father, Lord knows he has made it tough, but she missed so many of the smaller details which make up the big picture.
They are an adorable couple who aren’t worried about figuring out how to make the relationship work, they are more concerned with dealing with their crazy families. Launching a new business in the middle of nowhere is also a concern. Then there is the two families. Very different, in every way, but downright loving. In the end of the story, that is what it all boiled down to is family.
Now, let me introduce you to the town that has goats wandering in the middle of the street. That part is actually true. There is one street that runs through the town.
The town of Imnaha, Oregon, named after Chief Imna, the HA is added at the end of special people. Yep. That’s true as well. It has one store, a bed and breakfast and a restaurant which serves local fare like rattlesnake, coot, venison and other stuff they catch out in the woods.
This is the post office. Paul is the post master, post man, mail carrier, and staff. He delivers mail to 80 stops in a town of 175 people. I am not sure if he is a good post man or not. He manages to deliver the mail each day, but his main concern is getting home to that sexy wife of his.
I like to add quirky supporting characters to my stories. This general store for example, in this novel is owned by a fella named Curly Joe and his blind brother. The brother is constantly half nekkid in town because each time he tries to cross the street, the goats eat his clothes.
Curly Joe is married to QT, which is pronounced Cutie and she has been endowed with a rather large bottom. It is the topic of much conversation, questions, and mathematical analysis. It even knocked over a child.
This is a full length novel of about 65k words.
Since it is a novel, it is up for pre-order on Amazon. I really enjoyed writing this story. In these words I get to address what people are willing to do to maintain certain types of relationships with the one they love. I dance around some social mores that we don’t like to discuss and poke fun at some silly things we slip under the table to avoid discussing.
In the end, it is all above the love.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed crafting the lives of these two funny and wonderful people encouraging others to get out there and enjoy some Wide Open Spaces.
My goal in 2017 is all about vision.
A good story requires vision. It is easy to write boy meets girl, couple falls in love then moves into his mansion for the happily ever after, but that is not how it works. I am challenging you to read past the surface. Happily ever after requires some work.
Some people have opened this story and see nothing more than a man offering his woman a chance to cheat. If that is all you get when you read this, you have missed so much. Put aside what you believe is right and wrong and truly look at the two people who are struggling to save their marriage. It has been eight years in a stagnant relationship. The shine is off the penny and now this couple has to make a decision. Marriage is the fantasy. The relationship is the real story. You are reading and seeing just an onion; allow me to help you unpeel it.
In the old days, it was called the seven-year itch. Most people thought it only applied to men. The itchiness also applies to women. Gentlemen, it is very common for a woman to question if she could have done better. At some point in a long term relationship when the real you comes out, other people start to look a whole lot better. Especially, if the whole lot better, looks a whole lot better. It doesn’t mean that it is. It just looks really good on the surface.
On the surface of this story, you see a man, Franklin giving his woman, Mia a pass. If you look deeper you see a man who loves a woman that he truly is questioning whether she married him for security or if she really loves him. He knows he is not the best looking man, but he is a good guy. He tells her from the beginning when he meets her that he is the man to give her a home, a three car garage and great vacations. Eight years later, childless and uncertain of what to do with herself, Mia starts to doubt her good guy, thinking maybe he is not so good after all.
He is a good man.
Something, the other women on the island also see. For the first time in a long time, his wife is starting to see it as well. Sweetheart, other women want what you have. It’s time for you to open your eyes and figure out if you truly appreciate and want it for yourself.
Mia, is staring down the barrel of 40, her husband has said he wants a divorce and vanity is kicking her in the butt. Her thoughts, although unspoken, comes across in her actions. Insecurity shows up in the oddest way and she is reacting. In the back of her mind other thoughts pop up. If he leaves me, can I pull another man? Will I have it as good with who comes next as I have it with Franklin?
The trip to the island is an opportunity for them both to take a hard look at their lives and what is truly important. Mia wants to feel attractive and beautiful again although she swears she is ready to be a mother. Franklin knows that this is only a ruse and something more is going on. He wants to get to the bottom of it.
A sexy bartender named Diego serves as a catalyst. Not only does the barkeep make Mia feel attractive, he sparks something in her that is real. Honesty. A little something which has been missing in her relationship with her husband. Franklin has been honest with her; yet she is realizing, she has been less than honest with him.
Being married is not easy. Being honest is even harder.
So now I get to be honest with you. I am okay with lazy readers. Be as lazy as you want but not all of my stories are for you. My job as a writer is to make you think. When you finish the story it should stick with you. A good story is not junk food for your brain. Bouncing from quick romance to quick romance to get a love fix isn’t how it works. Understandably, reading should be an escape.
I don’t believe you should escape to feast on junk food.
We all love in different ways. Morally, staying married to someone for security is reprehensible. Love is subjective. Romance is subjective. Finding your way back to each other to build a solid life is romantic to me because then the happily ever after is real.
Read it for yourself on Amazon or for free with KU. Click here for your copy.
Leave me note to share your thoughts.