Monday, July 14, 2014

Traveling the Writing Journey with Author Ava Bleu

The Writing Journey ~ In Ava's Words

I’ve always loved films of historical dramas and epic romances. I love those period pieces set in England and France. I love the atmospheric beauty of dramas set on a cliff on a moor in Scotland or in green hills of Ireland or the vast, expansive beauty of China or Russia. And because I’ve loved these stories all my life, it only highlights the fact that I’ve never seen an epic love story or historical drama based upon Africa.

Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. Ava Bleu is the author of the contemporary romantic comedy, The Diva of Peddler’s Creek and Glorious Sunset, an edgy inspirational romance with a time-traveling king, an angel, and a love for the ages.
Ava can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material. She can also be found at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

There is a history there that is not really referenced in the history books I grew up reading, and I’m embarrassed by how little I know of my ancestry beyond our start in this country, but my story is not unique. I feel loss when friends talk about tracing their families back to their European roots, and I can only trace as far back as Alabama. But there is something to be learned even in that. Just because African Americans don’t know from whence we come doesn’t mean the link is not still there. Not knowing our history prior to transatlantic slavery doesn’t mean that no history exists. That’s kind of the theme to my new story. Just because we don’t have a thing we desire at this place, in this time, doesn’t mean we never will and just because we don’t remember as a people doesn’t mean it’s never been or that we'll never find or know it.

So, I decided to write my own story of an epic love, and because I do what I do, it became a romantic comedy. I’m always drawn to the link between history and present day, and this story is no exception. I drew upon methods of literature that I loved to craft my story, which ended up including a guardian angel, a time-traveling king, and magic. The theme? It is about the lessons that history—even tragedy—can teach us to better our lives today.

African King Taka Olufemi has traveled over four hundred years to find the woman who holds the soul of his murdered queen and he’s a little cranky. With a ruby brooch as his vessel, the former king is forced to grant wishes to ungrateful mortals hoping to one day find, and win, the heart of his lost love.

But it will take more than good looks, superior intelligence and an impressive pedigree to earn the love of Violet Jackson. The ambitious interior designer doesn’t remember Taka or their history. Love—with its inevitable heartbreak chaser—has no place in Violet’s immediate life plan. All the handsome “genie” can do for her is pony up on the three wishes he’s promised and try not to be a pain while he’s at it.

While the arrogant king is praying for his submissive queen and the faithless object of his affection isn’t praying at all, guardian angel, Aniweto, is praying for them both. With Ani’s help, Taka and Violet’s epic love will be rekindled and this royal couple-behaving-badly will finally earn their happily-ever-after through the grace of the Almighty.

You can order Glorious Sunset on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

It’s hard enough to get a novel published today in one genre, but stubborn me, I had to go and write a book that spans many. I love the story. But, alas, agents and publishers wanted nothing to do with it. After offering up my baby to industry experts who looked at it and simply were at a loss as to how to define it, I wrapped up my baby and put it away for about three years, all the while cursing my own inability to stick to a simpler formula.

Eventually, I decided I needed to see my book in print and planned to self-publish it. But, as these things often happen, at the very point I decided to no longer allow the industry to govern the value of my little story—that I loved it and I knew someone else would—I met the acquisitions editor of Urban Christian Books. I sent in my manuscript and waited for the rejection that never came. Not only did she not reject it, she told me how lovely the story was, how wonderful it was, and how it was fresh and new and exciting. I cried and laughed with joy at the same time.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster, this writing game. The world says they want originality, but the industry says originality doesn’t sell. The world says it wants a new trend, but the industry says a trend that hasn’t been tried and true is not worth putting money behind. Writers want to be creative, but the industry pushes us to conform to each other, muddying our voices and creating a pool of sameness that can stifle new talent. It is not wrong to stick to a genre or style, I only suggest that if a work is screaming to be something other than that, maybe the industry is short-sighted not to allow that work to blossom into whatever it is meant to be.

As for my own little story, I am so grateful someone saw its worth, and I hope it touches others as much as the writing of it touched me. A lifetime of exposure to others’ cultural history had planted a seed of longing in me to know my own. And while I have a ways to go to (Africa is a huge continent, and I don’t even know where to start!), in the meantime I can do what novelists do best: weave a tale of epic love that spans the ages and remembers its glory even when flawed, wounded humans forget. Because despite all our ancestors went through, I have no doubt the memory of love and loved ones is what brought them through the fire, hope for love and loved ones kept them moving forward. Maybe my little story can inspire someone to wonder just exactly who those people were whose blood runs through our veins, those people who gave us the strength to survive what was to come. It can’t all be sadness when we are still here to live, breathe, love life, and seek to remember what our hearts have never forgotten: We are the history we acknowledge and the love we embrace.

Excerpt from Glorious Sunset

1600 A.D., Jaha, West Africa

The acrid smell of a burning village brought King Taka Olufemi awake, sputtering, coughing and wincing in pain as he did so. Slowly memory returned and with it the horror. He cracked his eyelids open, his eyes immediately burning with the pebbly smoke that floated in a low hanging cloud. Pushing himself upright from where he lay causing sharp pain to streak through his torso and the agony brought his gaze down as he sucked in his breath and jerked his hands to the source. Seeing the jagged, torn flesh of the wound in his side, the rest of his memory came and with the memory…

“Oh no … no, no, no….”

He forgot his pain. He fought off the sway of the world as he stood, struggling to focus and see through eyes watering with smoke and something else he didn’t dare identify. He didn’t need to see when he could smell. He was a king and warrior; battle was in his bones and death always a close companion. He smelled both here.

He looked around. Men, women, children; the massacre was complete. Beyond the hall huts and houses of his village were blackened ash. The air still burned with the stench of fire. He couldn’t understand this. In all his life he’d never seen such brutality; never known such dishonor. Still, he firmed his jaw and kept looking, turning in a wide circle until his feet staggered to a stop before his brain could even register.

His body knew how to find its heart…

You can order Glorious Sunset on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Monday, July 07, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Author Cassietta Jefferson’s New Book Shades of Brown

Shades of Brown Virtual Book Tour July 1-July 11, 2014
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Fiction
Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Virtuous Ink Publishing LLC (April 29, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0988625903
ISBN-13: 978-0988625907

Cassietta Jefferson is a contemporary Christian author, publisher, editor, and blogger. She is the newest book reviewer for Prophetic Worship Intensive Christ Unit (PWICU); a faith based Radio and TV media platform. She is also the founder of Virtuous Ink Publishing LLC where she seeks to provide her readers with the best in contemporary Christian literature.

Cassietta earned her Bachelors of Applied Science in Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University and after traveling the country currently resides in Las Vegas Nevada. She is married to a proud retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant and together they have raised three children. Cassietta the youngest of ten siblings; seven older brothers and two older sisters who in addition to her wonderful parents help to shape her life.

In 2012, Cassietta published her first novel, Be Still & Know and published a novella, Timing is everything, the following year. Her latest book, Shades of Brown, is now available in print and ebook versions. To find out more about Cassietta Jefferson, visit You can also find Cassietta on Twitter and Facebook.

Asami, Bonita, Morgan, and Sienna have shared everything including their laughter and tears. No matter the challenge, they always emerged stronger with their friendship intact. No one ever expected that they would be tested again so severely.

These women soon learn that although life brings its share of storms, it’s what they do in the midst of those storms that define their character. While navigating the worst storms of their lives, these captivating women discover the true meaning of friendship, faith, and family.

What will they do when faced with devastating life situations that shake the very foundation that their lives are built upon? Follow this group of audacious women as they stare down the most tumultuous year they have ever had to face.

You can purchase SHADES OF BROWN from Amazon [ebook / paperback]!

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Author Cassietta Jefferson’s New Book Shades of Brown

It has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey. Shades of Brown is about four women, Asami, Bonita, Morgan, and Sienna. These are four different women who are four different shades of brown because of their different ethnicities. The title of this book actually came from those differences in their physical appearance that I find so interesting and beautiful.

It’s actually four novellas. Shades of Brown started out as four novellas, or short stories, that I wanted to make a bit more interesting. The stories have been intertwined in such a way that allows the reader to follow up with each character while reading about another.

The idea for this book came from my own circle of friends. This book is loosely based on a sisterhood started years ago. My friends and I would get together and enjoy each others company over breakfast at a place called Wenchell’s here in Las Vegas. As I left the restaurant one morning I thought, what an amazing circle of women. I remember feeling so honored that as different as we all were, we were still able to support and share with one another. While I didn’t take any actual situations from our sisterhood, I did use some of my friend’s flavor and the beauty that they each brought to the table.

The Magnolia Pancake Haus is one of my favorite Texas restaurants. This book revolves around four woman who not only share a beautiful friendship, but they share a love of a local restaurant called Magnolia Pancake Haus. This is an actual restaurant in San Antonio and is one of my favorite spots to grab breakfast. The Praline French Toast is my absolute favorite.

The author is reflected in each of the characters. I was asked once which one of my characters are most like me. The truth is that I can’t pick just one. It’s impossible because there’s a bit of my personality that shines through each of these women. For instance, Asami is very quiet and has an almost shy quality. This trait was taken from my own personality as I’m pretty quiet and can sometimes seems a little shy.

Shades of Brown is all about sisterhood. Shades of Brown is about four women who face some pretty incredible challenges and how they face and overcome these challenges. There is a ton of conflict throughout the book. Along each of their journeys these women face things like health concerns, fertility issues, and marital struggles; their very faith is shaken. What I wanted to shine through is that although they disagree and have all of this conflict, they remain strong and they remain friends. None of their issues hinder heir sisterhood and I hope we as women can maybe take a little of that resolve and apply it to our own relationships with other women.

There will be a follow up to Shades of Brown. Yes, I’m letting the cat out of the bag now; there will be a follow up to this book. I had a ton of fun writing the stories of these four beautiful women and developing their characters; this isn’t the end of their stories. There’s more these women have to say and do.

There is a call in this book for women to take better care of their health. Since being diagnosed with Hypertension, I’ve become very passionate about taking care of myself and my health. For more years than I care to admit, I’ve struggled with my weight and wanting to lose weight. What I know now is that it’s more important for me to get healthy and get to a healthy place. I still struggle with nutrition and eating the right types of foods, but I continue to work on it. In this book I write about characters like Morgan who struggles with maintaining a healthy weight and making healthy food choice because it inspires me and gives me hope that if I keep working at it and stay positive, I’ll get to where I need to be.

This book was revised and rewritten more than 10 times. Initially, the lives of these characters were supposed to go in a totally different direction. Careers were different, the city the women lived in was different, the issues the women faced were different…everything was different. There were so many changes happening with this project that at one point I wanted to scrap the whole thing and start again. The project began to take shape about six months before going to print. It was only then that I was able to see a clear picture of who these women are and how they would handle their challenges.

Shades of Brown is available now! It’s true, Shades of Brown is available right now! You can get your copy today from or for Kindle at Amazon.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Put Angie Daniels on YOUR Bookshelf

Angie Daniels has released over two dozen novels. She has won numerous awards including a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for When it Rains, and an Emma Award for Favorite Erotic Romance, for A Delight Before Christmas. She began her road to publication in 2001 when she was offered a four-book deal with Genesis Press. In 2002 she signed with BET/Arabesque which was purchased by Harlequin/Kimani Romance in 2005. Angie joined Kensington Publishing in 2003. Angie Daniels is also honored to be the keynote speaker for the 2014 Romance Slam Jam. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia College. For additional information about upcoming releases, and to connect with Angie on social media, follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Danica Dansforth shared a month of sweet, sensual bliss under the sun and between the sheets with Jaden Beaumont—before feeling like a fool. Then she was outta that player’s game! But fate had other plans when her car broke down, stranding her in his body shop, under his melting chocolate gaze and in the heat of a sizzling attraction.

Jaden wasn’t about to forgive Danica for the games she played, but he would put her to work in exchange for some expensive repairs to her vintage car. Maybe now he could finally get some answers to why she left, and why memories of her warm cinnamon skin still kept him up at night. When it came to Danica, he was through playing. His heart was in this game for real.

[Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble]

Magazine editor, Nia Foster takes on a charity campaign to collect two hundred coats for a local shelter and is on her way to deliver the final donation when she realizes her sister accidently puts the bag of coats on the curb. In a panic, Nia races after the garbage truck into a busy intersection, oblivious of the oncoming traffic. And under a set of embarrassing but incredibly sexy circumstances, she’s rescued by business mogul, Brodrick Bailey. The attraction between Brodrick and Nia is explosive. Intrigue Magazine has been trying for months to get an interview with the millionaire. He agrees to give Nia an exclusive story. In exchange she has to spend one insatiable night with the charming playboy who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants….

[Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble]

Can you Put a Price Tag…On Love?

St. Louis caterer Christina Holloway only dates men capable of providing her with the finer things in life. But despite putting her best foot forward, her relationships have all ended in disappointment. It isn’t until she attends her sister’s wedding that she begins to wonder if maybe it’s time to reevaluate her choice in men. Her cousin agrees, and offers a challenge: if she lowers her standards and dates a man with a more humble career, a butcher, a baker, even a candlestick maker, for five consecutive dates, she’ll give Christina the priceless family heirloom she so craves.

From the moment she meets Dereon Sanders, Christina is attracted to the sexy bad boy in ways she can’t explain. With one touch, Dereon has the ability to make her forget who she is, and the material things that were once so important no longer seem to matter. What was supposed to have been only five dates develops into an insatiable relationship with a man who challenges everything she was raised to believe was important.

Christina’s all set to prove to her family that she and Dereon are meant to be together. But there’s one problem—Dereon is hiding something. Uncovering the truth will require Christina to put her creative skills to use…

[Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble]

Keelen Brooks has been in love with his best friend Charity Rose since elementary school. Back then, he never felt he could measure up to the standards of Charity’s high school clique, the Cutie Pies, or to the smooth charisma of a man like her ex-husband. But things have changed … Now the CEO of Enchanted Cruise Line, Keelen is ready to show Charity what she’s missed when they reunite for their ten-year class reunion cruise.

Charity Rose has matured into an independent compassionate woman over the last ten years. Ready to correct the mistakes of her past, she decides to attend the reunion. When she sees Keelen, the attraction is immediate, and they begin to unearth a passion that’s been pent up for over a decade. But someone’s out for revenge against the Cutie Pies—past and present. Keelen vows to protect Charity no matter what the risk, promising that together, theirs will be a lifetime of endless enchantment.

[Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble]

When Debra Anderson agrees to take a three-day cruise, she has no idea she’ll be rooming with NBA star Rance Beaumont until after the ship has left the dock! After they agree to share the cabin, the bakery owner decides to let loose and have fun with her sinfully sexy cabin mate. The attraction between them is so undeniably irresistible, Rance proposes a no-strings-attached weekend fling. Debra jumps at the chance, only to learn there’s a lot to be said about—and done with—the oh-so-scrumptiously hot Beaumont.

Rance doesn’t believe in relationships—at least he didn’t before he met the beautiful plus-size diva. Long after the weekend is over he still can’t get Debra out of his head. Though he’s convinced that the flaming heat will soon extinguish, he finds himself more hot and bothered with each passing day. Worse, his feelings are starting to overshadow his judgment on the court. Just when he’s ready to risk everything, Rance discovers that Debra’s been hiding something. Will the news bring him to his knees—or into her loving arms?

[Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble]

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Book Blast: Check Out Four Books That Will Keep You Flippin' Pages


About The Author
Joyce Brown
Joyce A. Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women, but her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria and Battle Creek, Michigan. She is a proud member of AKA Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and an entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in the contemporary fiction novels she pens.

About The Book

joyce brown bc

What You Can Get Away With, Jared Riley, an aging semi-pro basketball player grabs for one last sexual venture before settling in for the lifestyle and comfort he signed up for when he married Lily. He is in explicitly drawn into the schemes of Alicia Connors, a young girl struggling to scratch her way out of a miserable existence who pursues Jared with a vengeance. One night of passion spirals into a series of unfortunate events that impacts his family in a way he never imagined.

Deception, Betrayal, Weakness

Three people searching for the right thing … in the wrong places.

Jared Riley, an aging semi-pro basketball player sees that his chance at fame is slipping away, then grabs for one last sexual venture before settling in for the lifestyle and comfort he signed up for when he married Lily, his upwardly mobile wife. He is inexplicably drawn into the schemes of Alicia Connors, a young girl struggling to scratch her way out of a miserable existence who pursues Jared with a vengeance. She has an intricate plan to fulfill her own dreams of marriage and family in Jared’s arms, and will stop at nothing to have him. One night of passion spirals into a series of unfortunate events that Jared can’t bring under control and impacts his family in a way that he never imagined.

Lily Riley achieves success in the boardroom but can't find the winning strategy to make her husband remain committed to her. When his recent exploits causes a scandal in their small town, she is totally unaware that he ha brought deadly forces into their lives.

Will Lily finally wake up to the fact that her husband's high risk behavior has arrived on her doorstep? Will Alicia's family avenge her by taking Jared for the rough ride he deserves. Will Jared survive a deadly reckoning?

Amazon Buy Link:

About The Author

Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Open Door Marriage, Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, and The E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Was it Good For You Too?, Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven. Find her on the web at or www.everywomanneedsawife, and on Facebook and Twitter under Naleighna Kai.

About The Book

Every Woman Needs a Wife Original 2
Every Woman Needs a Wife, A woman can have it all … a career, children, a not-so-perfect husband ... and his mistress.

Every Woman Needs a Wife is the hilarious, but thought-provoking story of a wife who does the “unthinkable.” When Brandi walks in on her husband and his mistress she says, “If you’re going to cheat, then I need to get something out of it. The mistress needs to come home, clean my house, keep the kids and put some money on the bills, too.”

Bursting with originality and controversy, author Naleighna Kai has created a provocative, and at times heartwarming tale about an age-old problem that will strike a chord with all women.

Amazon Buy Link:

About The Author

Karen Bradley

Karen D. Bradley’s weakest link would become her saving grace in her life. In college, she found herself in a place where she needed an outlet for her haywire emotions, a way to focus to get through classes and to stabilize her world that seemed to be spinning out of control. Writing her first book, Shattered Illusions, helped her cope with the death of her father, the emotion upheaval and her changing family dynamics. In 2010, Karen’s world once again tilted off its axis leaving her scrambling to survive. Publishing her second book, Trifling Ways, became one of the ways she endured one of the most difficult times in her life. For her next project, Karen allowed her readers to select which book would be published next and they selected Tainted Love which was release June 2013. She gives a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books to organizations that are designed to help others. Her current book, Love Runs Deep is available in trade paperback and e-book. Her next book, Black Diamond, is slated to be released in 2015. Find her on the web at

About The Book

Love Runs Deep, After Tyler Bradford has a run in with the Chameleon, she finds herself gunned down and bleeding in the snow next to her best friend, Lorrain. Her entire world changes when Lorrain dies. She becomes determined to make the Chameleon pay for his crimes. However, she isn't the only one on a mission. The Chameleon is hunting her down to finish what he started. Their paths will cross, yet only one of them will accomplish their goal. Tyler's love for Lorrain runs deep, but will it be the very thing that gets her killed?

Amazon Buy Link:

About The Author


Renee Daniel Flagler is an award-winning freelance journalist, teaching artist, and the award-nominated author of four novels, Mountain High Valley Low, Miss-Guided, In Her Mind and, Raging Blue. She teaches creative writing through public school’s Arts in Education programs. Renee resides in New York and is currently at work on her next novels, Still Raging, Society Wives and her first faith-based, nonfiction book entitled, The Relationship Survival Guide. Connect with Renee on Facebook, Twitter or online at

About The Book


Raging Blue is a contemporary romance by author, Renee Daniel Flagler. Blue Holiday has decided to call foul and leave her destructive marriage. But her cheating husband, Jaylin, decides he needs her money to survive and insists on a rematch. Usually, Blue would be game, but after discovering the depths of his depravity, she drops him from her roster of eligibles. Unaccustomed to rejection, especially from his wife, Jaylin decides to take what he feels is rightfully his. Problem is, he forgot a woman in love will put up with a lot. But a woman enraged, she’ll let you think you’re winning, just before she snatches it all.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Coming Soon: What's Done in the Dark by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

ReShonda is the national bestselling author of 30 books. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, has been made into a movie, directed by actress Regina King and produced by Queen Latifah’s Flava Unit Productions. The movie was released in spring 2014. (ReShonda, who served as a consultant, makes a cameo in the movie). Her entire Amen series, as well as the novel I Know I’ve Been Changed has been optioned by BET. ReShonda also makes her on-screen acting debut in the movie, which aired in 2013 as part of BET’s new original programming lineup. Several of her faith-based books have become a sought-after property in Hollywood.

A much sought-after public speaker, ReShonda recently won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature for her book Say Amen, Again and was nominated again in 2013 for her book The Secret She Kept. She has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition. Considered one of the top Inspirational Fiction authors in the country, her books remain a staple on the Bestseller’s list and have been featured in USA Today and Ebony Magazine as Summer Sizzlers. She was recently inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.

On February 3, 2014, ReShonda Tate Billingsley along with National Best Selling author, Victoria Christopher Murray launched Brown Girls Publishing, their new boutique publishing company. Visit

Reshonda’s current novel, What’s Done in the Dark, will be released July 16, 2014.

Felise is not the kind of woman to cheat on her husband—especially with her best friend’s man. But after one perfect storm of a night, it happened…and she can hardly believe it herself. To top it off, when she woke up in the morning, she found that the man to whom she guiltily made passionate love died of a heart attack overnight. Felise, who is a nurse and a good citizen at that, leaves the hotel room without reporting his death.

When her best friend, Paula, finds out about her husband’s sudden death a day later, Felise is overcome with guilt and grief. She must be there for her friend and her family, but when her husband repeatedly tries to apologize for his absentminded behavior and Paula starts investigating who Stephen was with the night he died, Felise finds it hard to hold herself together. Should she come clean and tell everyone what she did? Or should she just let it go and move past the mistake on her own?

What's Done in the Dark is available for pre-order from Amazon [Kindle / Paperback] and Barnes & Noble. Be sure to check out ReShonda's website to be kept updated on the novel's release!