Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creative juices flowing...Chapter 1 and 2 of The Discovery of Me

I feel like I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger by not sharing my thoughts with you.  In attempting to push forward as a writer I've allowed some things to go by the wayside.  I have to offer my sincerest apologies for those that do follow me.  I thank you for even checking in to the things that I have going on.

What's new with me?  I've been furiously working on things with follow up books and my first complete stand alone of 2014.  I'm excited about this book.  It was a book inspired by a friend of mine that will remain nameless.  I love her dearly and she is a magnanimous woman for all that she does.  She is truly appreciated.  I hope that she knows that I am forever indebted to her for putting up with me and the insanity that comes with having to daily deal with an author.

Most don't know what it takes to be an author.  Inspiration hits us at the most insane moments.  We HATE deadlines but work best when we have one.  The voices that we hear give life to characters that make our readers weep, scream, fuss and keep coming back for more.  We tend to eat, sleep, drink, dream and breathe our characters.  When we are in a zone please, please do NOT bother us.  It is so NOT pretty.  Indie authors tend to have an added thing.  We have a community within our social networks that we feel strongly about.  Most of us have followers that we love dearly and have a better relationship with then the people we share our homes with.  I count myself blessed because of this fact.

I have so many ideas and I feel as if I put my writing on hold for so long that I want to just keep pumping things out.  I was well and truly checked for this thought pattern.  I am going to take a break after The Discovery of Me.  I published my first book September 2013 and I have kicked out eight novels and a novelette in nine months.  It boils down to I have produced a book a month.  I can't believe it myself.  While I am taking my short break, I am going to work on the next books in my series and develop some other things, like my editing company.  I will also catch up on the reading that I have yet to do.  I have some amazing author friends that have equally amazing books and I need to read these books.

Speaking of, here are some of the authors that I know with recent releases:

Nicole Garcia: Saving Private Blue http://amzn.com/B00KYGD3YK
Melanie James: Accidentally Leigh http://amzn.com/B00KY7EAG4
Danielle Stewart: Settling Scores http://amzn.com/B00KYWRUY8
Ruth Cardello: Come Away With Me http://amzn.com/B00J0CAR16
Abbie St. Claire: Consolation Prize http://amzn.com/B00KH6Q2KE
Isabella Rose Norton: Singling Out Sable http://amzn.com/B00KCEIFYC
Holly Trent: A Demon in Love http://amzn.com/B00JX12L40
Eva Pohler: The Gatekeeper's Secret, Book 5 http://amzn.com/B00JDL4FK8
Shawn McGuire: Sticks and Stones http://amzn.com/B00KZ0D2TQ
My latest release: Zoie, Book 2 http://amzn.com/B00KOQMFC6

Here are Chapters 1 & 2 of The Discovery of Me.

I hope that you enjoy.  It will be released in the next few days.

   Chapter 1: Left Behind
Have you ever had a moment where you didn’t know exactly how you ended up where you were in your life?  Have you taken a look back and wondered where did you go wrong?  Do you see it and find yourself confused?  I don’t have this problem.  I look back on my life and I know exactly when my life changed.  I know exactly when everything flipped for me.  It was the day my husband told me that he was leaving.  It was actually the day that he left.  His bags were packed and already by the front door. 
“Evelyn? Evelyn Marks? Where are you?” his voice lowered as he mumbled, “I don’t know why we had to buy this cavernous house.  We only had the three kids.”
“It wasn’t for lack of trying, Connor.  You bellowed?” I wipe my hands on the towel then freeze as I notice the bags by the door.  “Ah, so you’re going?”
“How…I think it’s the best thing, don’t you?  I didn’t think I was that obvious about my intentions,” he said as he lifted one bag then another.
“Obvious? Did you think that you were being stealthy? You’ve been pacing in the back room for over an hour.  I thought you were going to wear a hole in the carpet.  Tell Lacey I said hello by the way.  You can leave the key in the tray by the door,” I say to him then start back towards the kitchen.
“Is that it?  It’s been twelve years and that’s our goodbye?” he seems genuinely upset.
I laugh.  I mean what else could I do?  I just laugh and shake my head at him. 
“Let me get this straight.  Last night you announce to me, after making love to me, the perfect time for such an announcement, that…” I start ticking off the list using my fingers.  “…One, you are not happy in our marriage.   Two, you are not in love with me anymore.  Three, you are moving out today. Four, not only are you doing all of those things but you are with someone else who’s pregnant.  Last but not least, you want to give your relationship with her a chance.  You now want our “goodbye” to be more.  Connor, you’re lucky I’m not my aunt.  If I were then you would be holding your manhood in the palm of your hand. You should probably leave now and put the key in the tray.”
I turn to go into the kitchen before he can say anything more but not before I see his hand move over his manhood.  The gesture makes me smile.  I didn’t think that I would be able to smile today.  When Connor’s announcement finally registered, I stopped all physical reaction to him.  Everything just locked up.  The jackass was attempting to still have sex with me because it couldn’t be making “love” if he didn’t love me.  I pulled back and punched him in the gut.  His “oomph” response was music to my ears.  The fact that he kind of slumped to the side was a sight to behold.  Connor has me by about a foot, is about twice my size in mass and strong enough to toss my little self across the room if he wanted to.  The satisfaction I got knowing that my tiny little girl fist caused his big self to react that way should be a bad thing.  I couldn’t find fault with it though.  Thinking about it again just made me smile all the more.
“I really didn’t mean for this to happen this way.  I always thought you would be enough.  I thought that you would be enough to satisfy me.  How was I to know that you weren’t,” his voice carried to the kitchen.
Before I know what I am doing, I am back around the corner and hurling the macadamia nut cookie dough balls at his head.  The first one hit him right smack in the middle of his face.  The second hit his hand.  I lobbed five at him before he got the door open.  The last one beaned him in the back of his head.
“I can’t believe you had the audacity to say that to me.  If you wanted a reaction out of me then that was the way to get it.  You sorry, pathetic excuse for a husband.  I hope you junk falls off…while you’re still in her…and she swells up,” I scream as I slam the door. 
I start cursing under my breath in the Irish dialect that my mother used to use.  I hear through the kitchen window, “I didn’t mean anything by my comments.  I’ll be by on Thursday to pick up the kids. I know you’re cursing me out in that cute way you do.  And I know I’m an ass who’ll get a clue later.  Okay, I’m going.”
Therein lays the rub.  It is the reason that I can’t ever bring myself to stay mad at him.  It’s the reason that we are amicably separating.  It’s also the reason that I’m making cookies for a woman that I should by all rights hate with every fiber of my being.  I don’t though.  I so don’t.  I love her for making him realize that he needed to let us go.  I should probably have my head examined, regularly.
I’m happy that he’s no longer here, taking up my space and making our lives in this house miserable because he is.  I am now that is.  I thought I was happy for him then.  It’s been a year since that day.  I can’t even believe it.  A whole year has passed and all of it is still fresh.  All of it is as real as if it had happened a matter of moments ago and not so many moments ago.  I didn’t think then that I would ever be in the position that I am in now.  I didn’t see this curve ball coming. 
As I stand in my kitchen again, I look down and shake my head.  My frustration level grew as I realized exactly what I’d done.
“Dammit, now I have to make some more mix for the cookies,” my eyes settled on a tray with only one cookie dough ball left on it.
I popped the last one in my mouth as I looked around again. The other four trays would not be enough to make what Sophia would need for her class.  Yet another thing that man has inadvertently ruined.

      Chapter 2: Support
Over the last twelve years, I have had one constant outside of my husband and my children.  My constant has been Samaris Nicole Crawford.  My thirty six year old best friend, that is my perfect counterpart, has been there throughout all of the crazy that has been my life.  Where I am meek and mild mannered, she is outspoken and outgoing.  Where I am laid back and easy going, she is boisterous and flamboyant.  Sami has always had a very ebullient personality.  Her “go getter” attitude is what called her to my attention and got us talking in the first place.
A fifteen years younger Sami had just walked in to the office where I was preparing to interview.  I’d been so nervous that day because I was interviewing for the first time ever, in my life.  I was set to interview with Waltham-Smythe’s Publishing Company.  It was set to be a big deal for me.  During that time, I was aspiring to become an editor that would then become a bestselling author.   I was beside myself when I received the phone call that they wanted to meet with me.  I hadn’t expected a call back. 
I was sitting in a smart navy suit with matching jacket and a white blouse.  My pumps were the standard patent leather style shoe for a young woman on a budget.  My mother and father had both taken turns sending me pictures of how to dress for the interview.  They’d been so proud that they were able to attach the files all by themselves and of me, of course.  I was going over some of the finer points of my minimalistic resume and looking around the empty space of the office when Sami walked in.  The receptionist that had greeted me so warmly and told me that they’d just moved to this building, which explained the shell of an office, actually rolled her eyes when the bombshell walked in. 
The woman that breezed into the space was gorgeous.  She looked like she could give Catherine Zeta-Jones a run for her money.  The long dark hair, deep brown eyes, full lips and rocking body that was poured into an ensemble that could make grown men weep was standing on six inch heels.  She had very little make up on her face and had to stand at least five foot seven without the killer heels.  I pulled my eyes away when I noticed the responding glare from the pretty lady at the door.
“Ms. Gallagher, I assured you last time that you were not needed on this project.  Mr. Foster will be here in a moment to escort you back out of the building,” the receptionist stated as she turned to pick up the phone.
“Marianne, you might want to check your calendar for Mr. Crawford’s updates.  It might enlighten someone that would otherwise be lost without her…guiding staff,” the young woman stated in response as she sat directly across from me in the only other chair in the room.  “Hi, I’m Samaris Gallagher.  I do freelance work for the company as well as promotions.  You are…hmm…here to interview for a job.  Do you want a little assist with all things W.S.P.C.?”
“If you don’t so you want it she’ll give it to you anyway.  Some people don’t understand what it means to NOT solicit others,” Marianne piped up as she pulled her dark brown shoulder length hair back into a ponytail.  “I don’t know how you pulled it off…”
“…oh you know full well how to pull things off.  It’s what you’re best at.  As to the matter of my being able to get a meeting with Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Pinters, I have the uncanny ability to use my brain to get me ahead and not what’s quite a bit further south.  If you don’t want all of your back tales told then I would advise you to stop talking, Marianne Destiny Edwards,” Ms. Gallagher spoke in a tone that stated  she was done with the back and for the with the receptionist.
“Samaris Nicole Gallagher, you do not treat a sorority sister the way that you have treated me.  You knew that I was interested in that party and you still went there,” Marianne evidently was tired of the pretense and decided to put all of it out there.
“I’m sorry.  Forgive my soror.  Evidently it’s air your dirty laundry day here in the reception offices of our place of business.  The advice that I was going to give you has to do with what you are wearing. You don’t want to come across too buttoned up.  You might want to undo the first two buttons on your shirt.  May I see your portfolio?” she was up and moving before I even responded. 
I placed the black case in her outstretched hand.  The way that I saw it, it couldn’t hurt to get another’s opinion.  If she already worked for the company and with the very people that I was trying to impress, what could it hurt?
“These are some great pieces.  Do you mind if I take a moment to do a switch-a-roo?  I think the works on the family and poverty living will be best toward the front and the pieces on the school’s sports teams should be toward the back.  You have some amazing articles.  Whoa! Wait a second.  You edited C. J. Montgomery’s first novel?” she appeared genuinely surprised. 
“We were in the same classes at school.  It wasn’t a big deal.  He’s a really good friend,” I told her as she moved the signed letter of recommendation to the front of everything else. 
“That whole adage of save the best for last is garbage.  In this business, you put your best foot forward and use whatever you can to make you stand out from the rest.  You will not speak, Marianne,” she threw out as she finished rearranging my portfolio. 
I watched as Marianne sat back in her seat and mumbled something that neither of us could make out.  She answered the phone and keyed something into the computer before she stood up. 
“Ms. Gallagher, they’ll see you now,” the two shared another irritated glare then Ms. Gallagher walked towards her bag. 
Nothing was said as she was buzzed into the door.  Neither said another word until they were out of each other’s presence.  I could hear Ms. Gallagher speaking professionally to a man then a woman.  Marianne turned to me and shook her head in frustration.  Her light brown eyes flaring with her slightly suppressed anger. The brown of her skin was fused with red as she looked over apologetically at me. 
“I am so sorry for that little exchange.  We went to college together and she and I have had our differences over the past year or so.  I don’t usually behave that way,” she looked around then back at me.  “I know I gave her grief and said some really rude things to her and about her, but she’s really good at what she does.  If you ever repeat that to her then I will vehemently deny it, but girlfriend knows her stuff.  Whatever she told you to do, you might want to do it.  She isn’t head of Marketing and Promotions for nothing.”
With that little revelation, she returned to her desk.  I was stunned stupid for about a minute and a half.  The way they interacted I never would’ve suspected that she was important to the company in any way.  She must’ve been.  I was preparing to ask some probing questions when my name was called. 
“Ms. Stone, please do come back,” an older woman with slightly graying brown hair, light blue eyes and the most pleasant smile I’d seen on a CEO called to me.  As I cleared the glass doors and kept pace with the woman who told me her name was Mrs. Pinters she said, “Evidently you’ve made quite the impression on one of the members of our staff who has the ear of all the right people within the company.”
“Really?  I only spoke with…” my words were cut off as we rounded the corner and four sets of eyes looked back at me, one being C. J. Montgomery. 
He walked over and gave me a hug then introduced everyone including Samaris Gallagher, Director of Marketing and Promotions, Carter Thompson, Head of Human Resources, Beatrice Pinters, Ceo and Richard Crawford, Editor-in-Chief.  I was originally set to meet with Mr. Thompson and now I was meeting with a team of individuals that basically ran the company. 
“I didn’t know that you were even interested in working at a publishing company.  Had I known, you would’ve been in this conference room two years ago.  I can’t wait to work with you again.  This one is a gem guys.  You’d be crazy not to have this one on your payroll.  Beautiful girl, I still haven’t found someone to put me in my creative place the way you did.  Five books later and I still don’t feel the pride I felt putting that first book out.  Have Marianne send me your contact info as soon as you’re set up here,” C. J. turned to the group, gave them a “thumbs up” and headed out the door.  “I’ve got a manuscript to finish.  I want her eyes to be the first to see them.”
“Ms. Stone you have just received a glowing recommendation from one our most popular authors.  I don’t believe you applied for the right job when you filled out your application,” Mr. Thompson stated, his studious eyes narrowed as they looked me over with suspicion.
“I’ve not seen him that eager to work with anyone including me and we’ve known each other for years,” the sexiest voice spoke and my entire body seemed to respond. 
I found myself moving towards him and hadn’t realized that I had taken a step.  His curly jet black hair fell to his ears, his eyes were a beautiful grey that seemed to sparkle all on their own yet entrance the person that was silly enough to make contact with his.  He stood tall enough to be toe to toe with the gorgeous bombshell that was slowly making her way around the table towards me.  I watched as Mr. Crawford’s lips tilted in the corner as if there was some joke or something he knew and no one else did.  It was sexy as hell.  His suit was tailor made for his athletic build of a body.  He was walking perfection.  My perusal was interrupted by Ms. Gallagher’s whispered words in my ear.
“Down girl, that one is very much so taken,” she sat down next to me and turned her attention back to the rest of members of the meeting.
I watched as Mr. Crawford’s eyes lingered on Ms. Gallagher’s for a moment too long then turned to me.  He actually blushed. The rest of the meeting went great.  I walked away with a new position, a developing friendship with Samaris Gallagher and my first major project as Interim Editor.
Samaris was the one that followed up with me and made sure that I was up to speed with what was going on around the office.  She and I spent quite a few lunch sessions hashing out the upcoming events, new authors and her developing relationship with a certain Editor-in-Chief.  Within six months, we were completely inseparable except those nights that she was with Rick, Richard Crawford.  I also found out she and Marianne had both been interested in the sexy E.I.C. but he approached Samaris who was now my Sami.  Things were going well for them.  They had plans to move in together.  All of our lives seemed to be moving forward, careers growing.  I loved my job.  I couldn’t believe I was doing what I most loved to do.  I tried not to envy the relationship that Sami and Rick had, but it did a little something to me to see them together and so happy.
Who would’ve thought I would’ve given all of that happiness up and pushed it to the back recesses of my mind?  Who would’ve thought that the promise I held would be thrown away for a man?  I never thought that I would’ve been the type.  I did what I thought was needed for my children.  I made the choice to accept Connor’s offer to stay home and raise them.  I was the one that said that I could always go back and just never did.  As I thought that over on the night after Connor left, I ended up spending it crying myself to sleep, Sami lying next to me in bed with a pint of ice cream at the ready. 


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Zoie {The Norton Sisters series, Book 2}...Chapter 1

I decided that I wanted to share a little of my latest release.  I am so happy that so many have expressed an interest in reading my work.  I appreciate all that will take the time to read it.

“Aaaah! Noooooooo! I WANT MY MOMMY! I NO WANT YOU! Aaaaaah!” little 24 month old Jacoby screamed at the top of his lungs.
“Come on, Jacoby,” Chloe, the newest edition to Mama Z’s Child Care Center requested. “Your mommy will be back later to pick you up.”
Yep, that was the total wrong thing to say. T-minus and Zoie knew the screaming would commence.
“No, no, NOOO! I want MOMMY NOW! NO LADER!” Jacoby screamed.
Zoie heard the one sound that clearly stated Chloe had lost control of the situation, Jacoby’s little feet pounding against the entrance’s hardwood flooring. The second came from the ever outgoing two year old, Penelope.
“I go too. Yay, I go too!” Penelope’s curls bounced as she bounded up from the colorful matt where the other leads and children were having morning snack.
Marcia, a petite little strawberry blonde 24 year old and the lead over the three year olds made a move as if she were going to go after Penelope, but paused when she saw the look Zoie gave her. Zoie’s policy had always been a “hands off” approach until she had to step in. Her sisters had regularly given her grief on her approach to her business and the women that aided her in running it. They all had stated on more than one occasion that she needed to have the same approach with them. She promptly ignored or disregarded their statements because each one of her lovely sisters came to her in their time of need. As to the women that ran the business, each of the seven young men and women that worked with her and the forty to sometimes forty-five six month to four year old children had to figure it out for themselves. Marcia knew the policy and knew that she needed to allow Chloe to figure this one out on her own. The tools were given in college and universities, but Zoie always said, “Education is fantastic, but nothing beats maternal or natural instinct.”
Zoie quietly pulled the door closed behind her. The cool blue room with walls that were plastered with Nick Jr. and Disney characters was where the six month to eighteen month olds slept until eight o’clock. She made sure all of her babies were on a strict schedule. It didn’t matter if she had a new child, which the sandy blonde haired Jacoby was, or not. They all eventually learned how things worked and once the routine was established then everything ran smoothly. Jacoby had just started two days prior. His mother stated that she and Jacoby had spent every waking moment together until last week when she realized that she was going to have to return to her managerial position. Her husband had fallen ill, gotten better then left them both. She spent six months trying to get things in order. During that time Jacoby was always with his mommy. The two were never apart at least until two days ago. Hence, the complete melt down happening at Zoie’s front door.
A parent came in the door and Jacoby turned to dart out the door. His head quickly turned back then his body came with him. His eyes were big and watery as he looked up to see Zoie staring at him. She shook her head in a chastening manner. Her meaning was clear and Jacoby quickly understood that he had been about to do something wrong. Chloe, oblivious to the exchange, knelt down in front of Jacoby and began to wipe his eyes with some tissue. His eyes kept darting from her face to Zoie’s. Chloe sat back on her heels, smoothed her platinum blonde bangs from her face then spoke softly to Jacoby.
“Now Jacoby, do you want to come and have a snack with me and some of the friends that you made yesterday? I know Ms. Jules, Samuel and Amber would really like it if you ate with them. Do you think you would like to have some bananas and cheerios and milk with us?” she asked as he tried to wipe away the tears and snot that continued to fall.
“I…hiccough…wanna…I…juice?” Jacoby’s brown eyes looked over Chloe’s shoulder towards the place Zoie was formerly standing then back to Chloe.
Zoie knew that 22 year old Chloe had him. Jacoby might have another meltdown after his nap, but she found that Jacoby loved playing with Amber and Samuel. He also really liked Honey Nut Cheerios. Zoie moved to the kitchenette that had cupboards painted in primary colors and pulled Jacoby’s bowl and cup from it. The cereal was already on the counter so she poured the bowl then went to the refrigerator as she listened to the rest of the conversation.
“...after you have juice then will you play a game with Ms. Chloe?” Chloe asked.
“Color box?” Jacoby inquired then sniffled.
“Yes, we can play with the color box and the froggy board too. Would you like that?”
“Yes, please,” Jacoby said. Ever the polite little gentleman, he always said “please” and “thank you.”
He couldn’t be a Mama Z’s kid without those little words being used.
“She cleaned that mess up pretty good. I think it helped that Jacoby senses that you aren’t one to mess with,” MiKayla teased as she walked over to the counter and poured some orange juice into Jacoby’s cup. “I’m surprised that you didn’t step in sooner. You did with Dana.”
Madison, a precious little three year old with strawberry blonde curls came over and tugged on Zoie’s skirt. She was very soft spoken and shy when there was something she wanted. Zoie squatted down and leaned her ear toward Madison. Madison’s fingers immediately began playing with one of Zoie’s loose curls as she whispered that she would like to sit with Ms. Kayla today. Zoie snickered and looked up at MiKayla. MiKayla, assistant manager and program director, was usually a floater unless there was a special request like Madison’s. Madison had grown fond of MiKayla ever since she patched up her knee after a bad scrape. Kayla loved the three year olds but enjoyed being with the four year olds and latch key kids more.
“Madison, honey, I think today Ms. Kayla needs to be with her class. Maybe you can visit that class before quiet time. Okay?” Zoie spoke softly to her but loud enough for MiKayla to hear her. “Let’s get your cup and some fruit then we can all of some fun playing learning games.”
Madison did a little dance in a circle, hugged Zoie then hopped, yes hopped, off to the mini dining area that had been set up for all of the older children. The “feeding” station was kitty corner to the dining area and housed labeled and color coordinated high chairs. It was sometimes a bitch to keep up with all of the different chairs. In the six years that she’d been running the center, she had yet to have an issue with a child getting confused about which chair was their own. They usually matched whatever dish and cubby or locker the child had. It made for a very colorful cabinet and area but these were children and they enjoyed bright and colorful things and places. Who was she to change the way things were?
“Now, Ms. Kayla, you owe me for getting you out of having Madison shadow you today. You can thank me by shutting down whatever little whimsical thought you had float across your mind. Keep your quips to yourself,” Zoie lowered her voice. “I didn’t step in with Chloe because I figured she would handle the situation. I knew once he saw that I hadn’t left the building then he would get himself together. Dana on the other hand freaked out because Casey tossed the food at her. Dana’s mistake was one, not looking at the jar of food and noticing that it was Turner’s food not Casey’s. The second thing she did wrong was wearing a silk shirt to work at a child care center. I mean, who does that?”
They both shared a laugh and heard a third little teetering behind them. When they looked they found Kolby’s big hazel eyes looking up at them. The one year old loved to laugh and usually did when she heard others doing so. She tended to get away from her class lead because she just started walking and Tonya hadn’t gotten used to having another busy child in the class. It was officially time for Miss Kolby to graduate.
Available now!
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00KOQMFC6
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zoie-elr-jones/1119556145?ean=9781494381295
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/zoie
I-tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id877056818  

I hope you enjoy the taste of the book.