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Newsletter

Jordana Ryan's Newsletter Volume 1 August 2007

Hi everyone, welcome to the August edition of my newsletter. I am so excited to finally be able to get this up and running. I hope that in time I will be able to bring you a variety of exciting news, free reads and fun stuff from myself as well as my fellow authors.

If you have anything that you’d like to appear in my next newsletter, please send to purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net. Please use the subject, Jordana’s Newsletter

A lot of the reason that I am where I am with my writing today is because of my fellow authors. The writing community is an awesome group of tight knit people who are ultimately so very supportive of each other. It was because of that support that I got my first novel No Matter What finished and published.

With that said, I’d like to take a moment to send a shout out to some people who are important to me and have shared my laughter, tears, frustration and joys along the way.

J.R. Mitchell- You always knew I could do it and you didn’t let me forget it. Thanks for not letting my quit and always having faith in me. The road sometimes has been rocky, but despite the miles that separate us we have grasped hands and not let go as we walk the path to our dreams.

Yvette Lynn- There aren’t enough words to express how much I appreciate the fact that you gave me a chance. Your belief in me is amazing. Thanks for never letting me doubt myself and for always expecting my best.

Dahlia Rose- For daring me to keep trying and for keeping me grounded. You’ve shared my laughter and my tears and you always know just what to say. You’re understanding, friendship and wisdom are a gift.

Destiny Blaine- You are an amazing woman and it shows in everyway. I am so blessed to have you as my friend.

J.L Foster- I know we just met, but it seems I’ve known you for a lifetime. You always make me smile and that means a lot. I hope that our friendship will endure through time because you are one amazing man that is so very appreciated it.

Sherri Gibson.- You were the first person to tell me I could do it. Your love and support continue to keep me going every day. I’m honored to call you my friend and I know that I will be calling you a friend for the rest of my life.

Cheri Lackey- Through good and bad you have always been there for me telling me that I could. Your patience and honesty has guided me through this process that is often overwhelming. I can’t wait until I see your name on a book someday and I know it will happen.

All my fellow Amira Press Authors who have made this journey so exciting and rewarding. It’s nice to be a part of such a wonderful family.

Announcements from my fellow authors

Did you know that Zinnia Hope has a newsletter that comes out around the 15th of every month. You don’t want to miss this newsletter from a phenomenal author. So head to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zhnewsletter and sign up to receive great news and updates from Zinnia Hope.

J.L Foster has signed on to do a six book series with Amira Press. The first short story of that series titled “Forever” will be available soon from Amira press.

Susan Smith Alvis is coming to Amira Press. After much waiting Friends Unlikely will be here soon. A touching story that is a must read for everyone that has ever had a friend.

Dahlia Rose would love for you to join her on her blog: http://www.myspace.com/bajandahlia http://hearttoheartwithdahliarose.blogspot.com Dahlia also has a fabulous website that you don’t want to miss: www;thedecadenceofdahlia.com

Did you know that Kathleen Rowland who wrote Mining Evermore available now at Amira Press is donating all proceeds from sales of her book to the Utah Mining Families' Emergency Disaster Services. This team within Salvation Army assists the trapped miner's families and emergency crews with food and hydration along with offering emotional and spiritual care. The emergency disaster services vehicle (canteen) will be providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to 100 people each day throughout the rescue process. The canteen is situated at the on-site command post, a remote location, 10 miles outside of Huntington.

Denise Skelton is donating a portion of sales from My Angel to Red Cross go to www.deniseskelton.com for details

My friend Sherri Gibson has a great novel titled “A Doorway to Hearts” She’d like to share an excerpt here 
A Doorway to Hearts is a saga of a brotherly bond between an Oglala Warrior, Blazing Star, and a white United States cavalryman, Trent Walker. The story sweeps us back to their first meeting on the Missouri riverbank to the battles of Rosebud and Little Bighorn, along with their loves and numerous trials and tribulations in the endeavor to attain a peace between their races. Many obstacles are hurled their way in their quest for that dream, and Blazing Star and Trent struggle to maintain their strong bond despite betrayal and heartache. With hatred and extreme prejudice a constant battle, the two comrades are driven apart and their dream of unity is seemingly lost. Will their bond survive such tragedies and ordeals as both are torn between their love for one another and loyalty to their people? Can the pact made since their first meeting be kept secretive, or will it be exposed to put them in even more danger? They find that opening a doorway to hearts is nearly impossible and their dream more difficult to obtain than anticipated. Where following their hearts will lead who knows, but it most assuredly won’t be an easy path to follow!
“A Doorway To Hearts” is the first of a fictional western/romance/mystery trilogy, followed by “Chasing Dreams”, and “Wherever It May Lead”, none of which are ordinary westerns. All are packed with action, adventure, and mysterious twists, along with romance. Written by Author Sherri L. Gibson and Sheryl L. Gibson....one and the same. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed. ISBN# 1-4241-2936-2

K.M Frontain is donating royalties from Loved Him to Death: Haru of Sachoné House K.M Says “In keeping with my beliefs, that to be gay, or to be different, is not innately wrong, that a child, whatever his/her orientation, is still your child and should continue to have his/her parents' love, I have decided that, up until the last day of December 2007, to donate the ebook royalties of Loved Him 1 to Gai Écoute in Quebec. For more details please visit http://kmfrontain.blogspot.com/2007/07/donating-royalties.html
For those of you who don’t know K.M Frontain here is a little information about her that she’d like you to know 
K.M. Frontain worked as a remedial English tutor for several years and has turned her talent for teaching toward proofreading and editing. She is an associate editor for Freya's Bower and Wild Child Publishing, and proud to be a contributor to Erotic Dreams as well.
She has self-published an epic fantasy series, The Soulstone Chronicles, on Lulu and recently released Loved Him to Death: Haru of Sachoné House on Freya's Bower. The second novel in the Loved Him series will be published this August. Her fantasy novella, The Beast in Beauty, can be read on Erotic Dreams, as well as her longer serial story, The Pearl. As a writer, she likes to experiment with POV styles and also create unique cultures and worlds to set her characters in.

Romance at heart has new releases coming: Check out their website at http://rahpubs.com for these new releases: There will be four new releases this month... Dance of Hearts, the third in the Hearts Trilogy by L. H. Young -Paranormal Next to Never by Clay Renick-Fiction/Romance Greek Fire by Kate Hofman - Contemporary Secrets of the Heart by B. T. Gill – Contemporary

Brenda Williamson has a new release!!! Check out this Excerpt!
A Desperate Longing by Brenda Williamson Romantic Suspense Novel ISBN: 1-59998-203-X Samhain Publishing
Two years after Kacy Carwell eluded kidnapping by a serial rapist, she still lives with nightmares and panic attacks on her painstakingly slow path to recovery. When a mysterious new neighbor moves in next door, her tenuous hold on her mental stability spirals out of control. She thinks she sees her attacker everywhere she goes, and no one believes her.
Only the new neighbor, the patient, kind and handsome Gulliver Knight, prevents her from sliding into mental deterioration. He alone feeds her desperate longing to feel normal again. His gentle, attentive care calms her frazzled nerves, while his passionate lovemaking quickly sends her tumbling from attraction to deep love. His affections work like a balm to her wounded spirit.
Then Kacy discovers that Gulliver is not all he appears to be. Her world crashes around her just as danger-this time real-threatens not only her sanity, but her life. Before she can untangle the web of deceit from her own broken emotions, someone will get hurt.
And someone will die.
Excerpt:
Kacy lost her patience and began to struggle. "Hold still," he demanded. "Please, let me go," she whispered hoarsely. The sensible thing to do was give him what he wanted. Nevertheless, she gathered strength and fought until she didn't have it in her anymore. "That's my girl," he whispered. "That's my girl." He stroked back her hair and tucked loose strands with the others behind her ear. Fingering each follicle one by one, he thought he calmed her. However, the petting and cooing energized her. She didn't want to be comforted. Enraged by his disregard, another burst of determination gave her the ability to fight him. "That's my girl," he said, squeezing her again as if he exercised the muscles in his hand. It hurt enough to make her cry. She hated this point in their bizarre ritual. With tears streaming down her face, she clenched her jaw, waiting for his response. "I'm sorry," he apologetically whimpered, but then his tone became angry. "You make everything hard between us." Kacy clenched her fists in the bonds and readied herself for the brutality of his strikes. She closed her eyes and heard the rage build in his breathing. "Kacy!" he yelled.
ON SALE Today for $4.95 http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/product_info.php?products_id=630

The Latest from Jordana

My debut novel No Matter What has gotten some great reviews.
Here is an excerpt from the latest review from Romance Junkies:

Filled with emotion, NO MATTER WHAT is a rollercoaster ride of heartache, loss, and joy. Both Cassandra and Brenden, unable to believe they’re deserving of love or second chances, seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes time and again. They’re the quintessential tortured lovers, kept apart by their own fears and uncertainty rather than an outside force. The heartbreak provides an emotionally gripping read, and will leave readers anticipating the next book by debut author Jordana Ryan.

To read the full review please go to

http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/contemporary/No_Matter_What.shtml


The Wrong Woman has made quite a splash: Check out what Dee from Night Owl Romances had to say.


The Wrong Woman by Jordana Ryan is twenty pages of burn up the sheets intercourse between Jake and Emma. The characters were well established and the settings were pleasingly penned…I'm afraid this scenario happens more often than one would hope and Ms Ryan's story is an interesting entertaining version.


Check out the whole review at


http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/reviews/reviewsearch.asp


Listen to my interview with Inside Scoop Live at:


http://www.insidescooplive.com/author-pages/Ryan-Jordana-reading-interview.html


I have a free serial read that you can find in only a few spaces. My myspace page http://www.myspace.com/princesscheygirl


The Amira Press Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmiraPress/join

The Amira Press Simply Erotic Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmiraPressSimplyErotic/join

My own Personal Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JordanaRyan/join

The Amira Press Newsletter, email me at purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net to subscribe


And last but not least at

http://romanceatheart.com/asig/

Check one of these places at the end of each month for the latest installment of this free novel from Jordana Ryan.

It’s official Jordana Ryan and JL Foster will be writing together soon! Look for some great work from Jordana and JL in the near future!

I have several projects in the works that I hope to be putting out soon. My primary focus right now is on a novella title Sweet Dreams. I’ll share with you a short excerpt here:

Gillian had a restaurant full of people and her mood had improved with the sea of familiar faces that floated in and out of Sweet Dreams.

The sound of the shattering glass startled her and she stifled a scream. The crowd inside the bakery scattered, ducking for cover. In the chaos, she saw Lucas move toward her and before she could think, he had his arms wrapped around her pulling her to the ground.

Several minutes of ear shattering silence passed before people started to talk all at once it seemed.

Gillian rose slowly with Lucas at her side. “What was that?” She asked unable to keep the tremor out of her voice.

“Stay here.” Lucas said with authority. Gillian got the feeling he was used to taking command of things.

Several people filed out of the bakery and she really couldn’t blame them. She surveyed the mess and cursed under her breath. Who the hell would so such a thing?

“Are you okay, Gilli?”

Tears threatened to spill over as she turned to Nick, her oldest and best friend.

“I didn’t see you come in.” Her gaze focused over his shoulder where Lucas rose from a squat with a large object in is hand. “I’m fine. Just shaken,” she continued on a whisper. Nick settled an arm around her shoulders and she leaned against him for support. “I suppose I’ll have to close for the day and see if I can find someone to repair the window for me.

“Do you know anyone who would do this?” Lucas said from behind Nick. Gillian shook her head.

Gillian watched a mixture of emotions cross over Lucas’s face. “What are you thinking?” She asked before she could stop herself. What she should be doing is calling the police, not standing here jabbering with Lucas.

No sooner had she thought it, than the town sheriff came in with a loud bang as the door smacked against the wall.

“Is everyone here okay?” His deep rumble almost made her laugh in spite of the circumstances. Meadowside was a quiet little town with almost no crime save some domestic disputes and rough and tumble teens who got worked up every now and again. This was probably the most exciting thing to happen in Meadowside in months. Gillian knew she’d be the talk of the town. Hopefully business wouldn’t suffer because of it.

Stepping forward she said “I think we’re all fine. Just a little spooked.”

“This is what was thrown through the window.” Lucas held out the large rock.

“Lucas Jensen. It’s been a long time buddy. What brings you back to town?”

“Hey man, how are you?” Lucas laughed as he pumped Brian Locke’s hand.

“What happened here?” He asked Lucas as he slung an arm around his shoulder and led him toward the busted window. Gillian was furious. This was her bakery ¬¬ her customers ¬¬her problem.

“Listen up everybody.” Her voice rose to be heard above the noisy chatter of customers who still milled around the tables.

“Thank you for stopping by today. I apologize for the. . . “ What should she call it? Inconvenience seemed to mild, yet terror seemed to harsh. “The . . . interruption of your meal” She finished lamely.

Her gaze flickered from one set of eyes to the next, some spoke of amusement, some of irritation, some of plain bewilderment. “I hope that you’ll stop by again, and when you do, your meal will be free if you’ll just leave your name with me before you go. But for now, I must ask that everyone gather up their belongings and be on your way.”

Grumbles made their way through the crowd, but Sheriff Locke seemed to agree with her statement as he nodded in approval. Slowly, her patrons began to move forward and leave their name, which she scribbled down on a legal pad that she had grabbed from beneath the register.

A sigh of exhaustion escaped her as the last person walked out the door. Lucas, the sheriff and Nick remained seated around a table near the display case.

“Did you see anything?” Brian asked her.

“No. I was busy. I didn’t look up until after we heard the glass shatter.”

“I put a call into Drew over at the hardware store. He’s going to come put some boards up here and take some measurements to order you a new window.” Brian looked pointedly at her. “That okay with you?” He drawled.

A simple nod was the only answer she could give. It was overwhelming. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. It had to be a random act. There was no one who came to mind who disliked her enough to do something like this.

“It was probably just teens.” Lucas spoke up as if he could read her mind.

“And you mean to tell me no one saw anything?” Anger was finally starting to seep through the shock and she was just reaching her boiling point.

“I don’t know what people saw. You took a list of names. That was smart. I’ll be going around talking to people to see if they saw anything. This is a busy little part of town. If anyone saw anything, I’m sure they’ll be reporting it soon. Meadowside has mostly honest folk.” Brian soothed.

Gillian glared at him. It was absurd that he was lecturing her about honest folk when someone had just tossed a rock through her window. “Yes we have¬¬ “ The harsh tone of her voice must have made obvious the fact that she was about to tell Brian off because Lucas cut her off. “Thanks Brian. I’m sure you’ll call if you hear anything.”

Brian’s gaze moved from Lucas to Gillian and back again. A slight nod in the affirmative ended the conversation. Brian reached for the hat he had tossed carelessly on the table and stood to leave.

When the door closed behind him, Gillian walked behind the counter and grabbed a broom and dustpan.

“So what are you going to do?” Lucas asked her.

“Clean up.” Her voice was flat.

“I mean after that.” Lucas took the dustpan from her.

“I guess I’m going to wait for Drew to come over and board up the place, then I’m going to head home.”

Sweeping the floor gave her something to focus on besides the man who stood too close for comfort. The clinking noise of the glass as she moved the shards into a pile irritated her. Maybe it was just because she knew it was her window and this little mess was going to cost her a pretty penny, but her sweeping became more forceful.

Lucas’s laugh stopped her in her tracks. If she could have shot daggers at him with her eyes, she would have. “What are you laughing at.”

“You. I never knew you were such a spitfire.” His eyes twinkled. Gillian glowered at him. “I’m sorry for the interruption of your meal. . .” He mocked. His fit of laughter continued and Gillian began to see a bit of humor in the situation. Tongue in cheek, she asked,

“Are you done?”

“Come on. Smile.”

“If a rock was thrown through your window and you lost a whole afternoon of business because of it will you smile?”

Lucas took the broom out of her hands and led her to a chair. Gillian obligingly sank down into it. “Honestly, I don’t own a business, so I don’t know. But I do know you’ve got to laugh at life or it will laugh at you.”

It was good advice. When had he gotten so smart? She remembered him as a jock that cared more about sports and cute girls than anything else. But she wondered earlier who he was to judge her, now the tables were turned, who was she to judge him.

“I hear you need some boards.” Drew said from the broken window.

“Unfortunately, you hear correct.” Gillian said not looking at him.

“I should do this from the inside so they can’t be removed from out here.”

“Okay, whatever you think is best.” She responded turning to smile at him.

Drew came in and measured the window opening before he got to work boarding up her window. Gillian rose and began sweeping again. All three people in the bakery worked in silence. It took less than an hour for the glass to be cleaned up and the final nail to be hammered into the boards.

It took little more than an hour for all the work to be done. “That should hold you until I get a new window in. I’ll order it first thing in the morning.”

Gillian took his outstretched hand and shook it gratefully. “Thanks Drew. I plan to open tomorrow, so just contact me here.”

“Will do. Be safe Gilli.”

When the door closed behind Drew, Gillian turned to Lucas. “Thanks for staying and helping me out.”

“Are you sure you want to open tomorrow?”

“Yeah. I won’t let whoever did this scare me. It was probably just teens.”

Lucas chuckled. “And you got so indignant earlier at that suggestion.”

A churlish snort escaped her. “Well it makes me feel better to think it was a fluke than to think of the alternative.”

Lucas nodded. “So how long are you on your own here?”

“My assistant is on maternity leave. Two more long months.”

Lucas followed her to the counter, where she reached around to grab her purse from underneath the counter. With a final look around the bakery, she shook her head still floored from the days events and walked to the door. Lucas stayed by her side until she reached her car.

“Thanks again.” The weariness made her voice heavy and she couldn’t wait to get home and slip into bed. It was times like this she was grateful that she lived alone. There’d be nobody there to ask questions or bother her when all she wanted was to sleep.

“Listen I was thinking.” Lucas curled a hand around her arm and gently turned her toward him. The sparkle in the piercing jade depths held her captive. She didn’t think he was going to speak and she started to turn away.

“You need help. You can’t run this place by yourself. I need something to do. So what do you say?”

The excitement on his face nearly made her laugh and she couldn’t quite believe he was offering to be her assistant. In all her fantasies about Lucas Jensen, she had never pictured him as a baker. “What do I say to what?” The humor in her voice was barely detectable, but she knew it was there.

“Why don’t you let me help you out.”

“Do you have any experience?”

His eyes flickered away from her for the first time. Tight muscles began to relax the longer he avoided her gaze.

“Not really.”

“And you think you’d help me how?” When his eyes met hers again, she hid her smile. This sudden interest in her was nice, but she had her doubts about his seriousness.

“Well I can run a cash register, and waiting on people doesn’t take a genius.” Gillian heard the indignant tone and though she thought she was the one who should be offended, somehow an apology worked its way to her lips. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply you couldn’t do it.”

Lucas shrugged. “If you want the offer is open. If not I understand.” He started to walk away and Gillian was torn. The help would really be appreciated, but this wasn’t your average teenager looking for part time work, this was Lucas Jensen for pete’s sake.

“I get here at four in the morning.”

“Yes ma’m” He drawled before he strolled away.

When she slid into her car, she laid her had on the steering wheel. What have I gotten myself into?

Recommended by Jordana

Movies: Daddy’s Little Girls, I tell you guys this one is a tear jerker. I really enjoyed this movie and think you will as well. Premonition with Sandra Bullock was a great puzzle of a movie that I couldn’t help but like. I highly recommend this movie.

Television Shows: Bones and Prison Break are coming back!!! YAY! You don’t want to miss them, these shows are highly recommended by yours truly 

Websites: http://www.writing.com This is one of the best websites I’ve found for finding other authors and getting and giving honest feedback to your fellow writers.

Books: I have to recommend my favorite author Rosanne Bittner and her Savage Destiny series. If you like historical romance, you will love this series. Anything Ms. Bittner writes is touching and compelling, but this series has held my heart for years! It’s the only series of books that has made me laugh and made me cry and ultimately leave me wanting more. Ms. Bittner is an outstanding author that you don’t want to miss.

Recipes:
This is my favorite recipe. It’s delicious I hope you enjoy!
Sort of Italian Chicken
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
16 slices of Hickory Smoked Bacon
4 Slices of Havarti Cheese
1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
Olive Oil
Marinade:
¼ cup orange juice
4 tbsp Worcester Sauce
¼ cup of honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp oregano
6 cloves of Garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients for the marinade. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten your chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and cover with tin foil. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Fry 16 slices of bacon. Coat a pan with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Place chicken in the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes on each side. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with spaghetti sauce. Take chicken from frying pan and place in the sauce covered dish. Place 4 slices of bacon on each piece of chicken and cover with a slice of Havarti cheese. Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the chicken. Place the dish in your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Ask Jordana

If you have anything you’d like to ask me please email me at purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net. I’ll answer questions both personal and professional. Please use the subject heading Ask Jordana.

Cheri in Oklahoma wants to know: Do you use personal experiences in your books? Absolutely I do. I write what I know and a lot of the hardships my hero/heroine goes through are either directly related to me or someone I care about. However, I do embellish for the sake of fiction and protecting people’s identities.

Yvette in Maryland wants to know :Have you ever vented through your characters dialogue. Yes I most definitely have. It’s my favorite way to express myself.

Christina in Missouri wants to know what I look for in a man: Honesty is most important but good hair doesn’t hurt.

It's Only My Opinion

Do you have an opinion you’d like to discuss? Want to comment on an article that appears here? Contact me at purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net with the subject line “It’s only my opinion”

Enjoy this article I wrote titled are books becoming obsolete?

Are Books Becoming Obsolete

Todd Leopold of Cnn.Com wrote an article pertaining to two newspapers that have decided to drop their coverage of books. This is a travesty to writers and readers everywhere. Though it is true that much information can be found on the internet, not everyone is an internet user.

Mr. Leopold states, "For all the titles released, for all the Web sites devoted to covering books, my perception is that books don't matter as much in our society as they once did. I could be wrong. Maybe they still DO matter -- and maybe they never did, at least to a mass audience." (http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/blogs/marquee/index.html). I must ask this question, if books never mattered to the masses, why is it that all those sites are devoted to book coverage. In the same Entertainment segment, there was a tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder. "Embraced from the start by America's teachers, the books have been read by or to generations of elementary-school kids, which has helped to keep the books in continuous print." (http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/books/04/27/littlehouse.anniversary.ap/index.html). This is all the evidence I need to refute Mr. Leopold's point and say that books indeed do matter to the masses.

In his argument, Mr. Leopold also makes it a point to state that newspapers are a business that continue to suffer the effects of declining circulation. However, most newspapers offer an online version of their daily output. The same point can be made. By modernizing the newspaper itself, the industry has set themselves up for failing circulation rates. This is not an effect that should be taken out on readers and writers.

Though many people do have internet access, there are still plenty of people who don't surf the information superhighway. To reduce coverage of book in traditional mediums in my opinion is damaging not only to authors but to readers everywhere.

Though it's true as technology advances more and more people turn to the internet for their resources, there are times where people can't or don't want to use the internet. If this is the case, people will rely upon traditional sources for information. This includes newspaper coverage.

To cut out newspaper coverage of books is detrimental to the entire community of authors and readers alike. No longer will one be able to open the newspaper and read about books. No Longer will great books get the recognition they deserve. No longer will an author have the ability to target a local audience.

We tell our children that reading is important, but we prove them to them that it's not by reducing coverage of the many wonderful books that are out there. By reducing coverage of books, it seems that we are telling our children that reading is not important. And that is the worst travesty of all.








Inspiration of the Month

There are many people who inspire me each and every day. Each month I will put something inspirational here, a story, a letter or maybe an interview. If there is someone or something that inspires you and you’d like me to include it here please email me at purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net with the subject heading Newsletter Inspiration.

This month I was lucky enough to get one of my favorite Inspirations to allow me to interview her. Cassie Edwards is a New York Times Best Selling Author of Native American fiction. I’ve read Cassie’s work since I was a child. In fact, it was her books that encouraged me to read much more than I did. When I first decided to be an author I started with Native American Romance, I do hope someday people get to read that book, but as you know My first release was Contemporary Romance. Cassie continues to put out top quality books that can keep me captivated for hours. Not only that she is genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Now let me share with you her answers to my interview questions.

What stories do you have out right now? Shadow Bear

What’s up next for Cassie Edwards? Savage Skies, my l00th book, in l7 days.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Just love to write.

What is your writing process? Get up every morning at 7, shower, eat a bowl of cheerios and am at the computer writing by 9.

Which of your characters is your favorite?: Why? Yellow Feather, my first Indian hero in Savage Obsession.

Which authors do you admire? Bobbi Smith

Where do you see yourself in five years? Still writing my Indian Books.

Which character of yours do you most associate with yourself? Perhaps all of the heroines in my books.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing? Watching TV, westerns.

Which genre is your preferred? Historical Romance

What do you most hope that readers get from your books? To Feel Good.

Do you have any plans to break out of that mold and write something totally different? No. I love writing Indian books too much.

If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things could you not live without? My husband, ONLY

If given the chance to have a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it? Not to grow any older.

Do you believe in love? Yes. I've been married for 52 years to the same man.

What are your favorites (i.e Food, color, clothing item, television show, music group) Food--all desserts and fried chicken.
Color-pink
Clothes-pretty tunics
The soap...THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Bon Jovi

When you are in a writing groove are you easily distracted? Very!

If you could make one of your characters come a live and live with you for a year, which would it be and why? All of them!

What do you want people to know about you that they might find surprising? I'm very, very shy. That's why I don't do many autographings.

Anything else you’d like to share? I'm just very content with life.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Cassie. I told her when I first started chatting with her she is my idol and this is one of the reasons why. The time she took answering my questions means a lot, and I will continue to eagerly await her next book 

Interview with J.L Foster

What stories do you have out right now?

Currently, what I have available and what will be available over the next two months are completely different things. Though it’s available right now, I’m currently seeking a new GLBT publisher for my novel “Straight.” Books like “The Estranged Affair” and “Nothing: A Tale of Terror” are exclusively independent and, at least in my lifetime, will remain that way and can be found at my website at www.jlfoster.biz Also, there is “Ashaki’s Beauty Parlor” which is a continuation from my lovable African matchmaking-beautician from “The Estranged Affair.” Comedy, with a bit of romance and paranormal suspense. “Dirty Little Secrets” is my collection of darkened erotica – both gay and straight – and “Social Disease” is my political and romantic poetry collection where I speak out against the injustices of society.

What’s up next for J.L Foster?

I have an awesome new series coming out with Amira Press entitled Shaded Whisperings. The first story for the series is called “Forever,” and tells the tale of a woman and her doll… so to speak. Erotic-Horror… that’s what it’s all about. I’m also working on a trilogy for the Dark Castle Lords, entitled “The Chronicles of Lord Maksim,” and have a Christmas tale coming out in an anthology with them this winter. My long-awaited and much delayed “The Trail of the White Boxers: Volume One” will be available soon, and features over one hundred photographs complete with an early American nostalgic storyline. Proudly displayed on the cover is Playgirl Magazine’s Man of the Year and my good friend, Mister Julian Fantechi. My “Book of Apparitions” is also going through some delays, pending word on if “Edna’s Longing” needs to be pulled from the collection or not to be revised and placed in another one. I’m also working on a series of gay fetish tales dealing around athletes and jocks. That should be great fun!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspirations from everywhere. I’ve had many a friend end up as an erotic or horror story. The inspiration for my children’s trilogy came from my partner’s grandson, who is the highlight of everyone he knows. “Nothing: A Tale of Terror” was my homage to the great, late Robert Bloch, author of “Psycho.” “The Estranged Affair” was inspired from Annie Proulx and the devastating ending of “Brokeback Mountain.” “Straight” was inspired by our own government and society and the ill treatment displayed toward the GLBT&Q communities. But for the most part, my romance and erotica come from my own fantasies, and quiet often, from my own adventures. As to which stories actually happened… I’ll leave that up to the reader’s imagination.

What is your writing process?

I cannot start a story or a book without a title. I refuse to. I set my titles very first thing and that helps me continue on into the story. Sometimes, even then, I don’t know what the story will be until it’s finished, but the title gets me going. Then, normally, I’ll write for a solid sixteen to eighteen hours to make certain that I am into the project. If I don’t make it at least twelve hours on the first go, then I scrap the story because it will not be good and will fizzle out. Once the initial first day of work is done, I sit on it for a couple of days, reading and re-reading it, to ensure that I still like where it’s going. If it seems cool and I think it will flow, then I’ll finish it. Most times, I will finish a novel in two to three weeks. A short story in two to three days. With the Dark Castle Lords and my “Chronicles of Lord Maksim” trilogy, I’m working in a time period and style that I’ve never written in before, and book one of Lord Maksim has been re-written five times – completely. Different stories and the whole nine yards. I’m finally content with where I have it now, but that shows my determination. If I don’t like something I’ve written, no one will ever know because they will never see that discarded manuscript.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Why?

Ashaki, of course. I spent more time researching her than any other, and I feel like I know her. In a way, I do know her, as her initial presence is based on my best friend. If I were a woman – I would be Ashaki. Or try as hard as I could. She has a gentle heart for her friends, a short fuse for her enemies, and an unmatched way of handling both. In this respect, I am prouder of Ashaki than any other character I’ve written. Also, Miss Wanda in “Straight” is a favorite of mine. I have a thing for my secondary characters – sometimes they become main characters. Either way, I like strong, independent women.

When you write, do you dictate the story or do your characters?

My characters, completely. J. L. Foster cannot write. Let me stress this. Only the many different voices and characters and dreams in this castle of my mind can write, and I simply put the words that they speak to me down on paper. In this sense, if my muses are not present, I do not write. Not for me or anyone. I can’t. I can’t force words and make them enjoyable to me or the readers. If my characters don’t want something to happen, it doesn’t happen. That works for both my heroes and my villains, by the way! (smiles)

Which authors do you admire?

J. L. Foster has an eye for the classics. The major literary influence in my life is Mister Walt Whitman, perhaps America’s greatest poet ever. Whitman penned the classic “Leaves of Grass”, as well as his little-read first novel “Franklin Evans.” Nathanial Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” is a personal favorite, as well as D. H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lovers.” As far as modern day authors go, I honestly don’t read very many. True talent is rare, but when I see it, I love it. Every person that serializes something in my newsletter is there for a reason. If they weren’t damn good authors, they would have never had their words seen in my Within His Castle. Also, the persons and companies that I choose to work with have some very good talents on board. It’s why I am with them. It’s fair to say that I hate bad writing and have a dislike for persons who encourage bad writing without letting the authors know it needs work. I believe that any TRUE author can become great, and the ones that strive and persevere and actually edit their manuscripts and then have others edit them too – those are the authors that will survive in this industry, and those are the modern day authors that I admire. Go through my old interview with authors… Eric Arvin, Rick Reed, Veronica Towers, Crystal Ordonez, Michael LaRocca, J. C. Parrish, Destiny Blaine… those are some of the authors that I admire.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answering this same question for Diane Sawyer.

Which character of yours do you most associate with yourself?

Daniel in “The Estranged Affair,” though not because of the unhappy marriage thing. I’m very happily married. Marilyn in “Nothing.” My office used to be in the attic and I felt locked away up there. That’s why when Marilyn is locked away, it’s in the attic. Tabitha from “Tabitha Sparks and the Door to Everywhere,” because even though I’m not a nine year old girl, I still feel lost sometimes in this great big universe. The one that suits me the most though is Sebastian in the story “Voices” in the upcoming “Book of Apparitions.” This story was, after all, written about me.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

I’m almost always working. Either writing or interviewing or simply promoting and marketing. In the free time, I like to hang out with my partner, do a little shopping, or go to a party. There’s a party across the street from me every Saturday night, and it’s sort of like a release for all of us local artists and such to just break free after the week and relax, drink, and play guitar and drums around the fire in the backyard. Nothing better.

Which genre is your preferred?

I don’t really have a preferred genre. If I have a story, I’ll write it. I’ve so far written in more genres than I can name, and I love them all. I’m even writing a western romance right now. Don’t tell anyone though. I don’t want them to thing I’ve gone totally mainstream! (smiles)

What do you most hope that readers get from your books?

I hope that, by the time the book is finished, they have learned a little bit more about themselves and will come from it better people. This holds true for my horror, erotica, contemporary, children’s, and everything else… There is a message that I put into every story that I pen, and I have been so fortunate more than not that the message has shined through. I don’t write erotica just to turn people on. Perhaps I want to shock them. Perhaps I want to seduce them. Either way, when the story is finished, they will know themselves better, even if in a sexual way.

Do you have any plans to break out of that mold and write something totally different?

That’s all I ever try do. lol I don’t like sticking to genres – even when writing in a particular genre. That’s what makes my books proudly different. You’re going to get a whole lot more than you’ve bargained for. The hardest thing in the world for me sometimes is to set the genre for something I’ve written.

Do you have a set writing schedule?

Yes. I write when I wake up and I stop when I go to bed. Seriously! Ask my hubby! LOL

If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things could you not live without?

My husband, my faith, and my determination. That’s all I need for survival.

If given the chance to have a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I wouldn’t be faster than a speeding bullet. I enjoy long sex too much. I don’t like to fly, so that’s out. You know… I don’t want super powers. I want to be a witch instead. Wiggle my nose and supper is ready – that sort of thing. lol

Do you believe in love?

I found it and I’ve kept it. It is mine and I hold to it dearly. I cherish love.

What are your favorites (i.e Food, color, clothing item, television show, music group)

My favorite food is my own specialty Halfwich – no one gets the recipe. My favorite color is crimson, though I don’t look good in it. Television – I watch Going Tribal and Dancing with the Stars, and when those shows are not in season, I try not to watch television at all. Musicwise, I love Madonna. She is my siren. I adore Savage Garden. I like anything I can dance to. If it has a beat, I’m good.

When you are in a writing groove are you easily distracted?

Oh no, I can block anything out and write with a party in the house – I have before! I have what some people call “Selective Hearing.” By this, I mean if I don’t want to pay attention to you, I block you out completely. Work time, in this manner, is Trance time.

If you could make one of your characters come alive and live with you for a year, which would it be and why?

Oh, gods… None of them! LOL I love my characters dearly, but when I’m through with them – I’m through with them. When I type those two most famous words of literature – The End – I mean it. Their stories end. I know when I start the very first one if there will be sequels or not, and there are too many new characters floating around in my mind to hold that kind of steady attention on the old ones. So really, I want all of my characters to remain right where they are – in my head or in between the pages of their respective books.

What do you want people to know about you that they might find surprising?

Um… That’s a hard one because I’ve always tried to remain an open book. I have two tattoos – one on each forearm – and I love them. One is a map compass with H de la F inscribed in the center to reflect the union of my love for my partner – the tying of our last names together. Hunter de la Foster. That is on the left arm. On the right arm is a sheik riding a camel in front of a pyramid with a setting sun bright above. I have a distinct love for camels – I have a collection of camels – glass, porcelain, leather, etc – from all over the world. I even have a choker that I had made for me with beads carved out of camel bones. Several of my stuffed camels are covered with actual camel leather and hair. The greatest gift in the world to me is any gift with a camel on or in it. I love them more than sex, even.  The camel tattoo was done four days before the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention this past April. I had my partner do the design and my tattooist copy it perfectly. It’s absolutely beautiful, but it was healing during the convention and I met so many new people there and gave out so many hugs… my arm was sore for weeks!

Anything else you’d like to share?

On my website, I’ve hidden forty “Groovy Facts About JL.” To all people reading this interview who email me at jlfoster@jlfoster.biz with the subject line “Groovy Facts,” and include all forty groovy facts that they found in the body of the email, I will give a complimentary eBook copy of my latest independent release “Straight.” This is the easiest and most fun way of learning more about me! And while people are there, they can sign up for Within His Castle, my free weekly newsletter. We just celebrated our biggest issue yet! I would also like to add I’m halfway through a great Halloween story for my series with Amira Press. The story takes place in a cemetery and includes a rather hot grave digger. I think it will be enjoyed! Also, I am still in search of a home for my new erotic gay series and am open for suggestions on publishers specializing in GLBT literature – erotic, preferably. Anyone with any thoughts can hit me up at the email address above. And don’t forget to MySpace me – www.myspace.com/my_reconciliation Where would we all be without MySpace? Lol Anyway, this has been a lot of fun! Thanks so much for the great questions and for allowing me the privilege of opening up the many doors of the castle of my mind for your readers’ enjoyment. With that, I can only hope that they have enjoyed reading this half as much as I enjoyed participating.

Susan Smith Alvis Wants You To Know

Tomorrow Will Come with a Hellish Vengeance”
By Susan Smith Alvis

A few years ago, I took a class at ETSU: Biology and Beyond which was a course that dealt with education on HIV and the history of AIDS. I wanted to learn more about the disease so I signed up for the class. It was one that would forever change my life. While taking the class, I was not only able to hear the stories of extraordinary people but I also learned of their horrific, yet heroic lives after discovering they were living with HIV. Today, our global community ignores the fact that HIV and AIDS is on the rise again and as the memory of those lost to AIDS seemingly fades in the eyes of our leaders; their voices should forever be heard throughout the world.

HIV and AIDS are as Different as Night and Day, HIV is Life and AIDS is (still) a death sentence.

You can live with HIV but you will die of AIDS. You can fight the battle as hard as your body will allow but AIDS will win the war. While our leaders refuse to spend more money and time on prevention, people continue to die and AIDS is gaining ground on us as a global community.

We haven’t found AIDS to be contained at any point since its first appearance in 1981, when the CDC learned of the epidemic that would later be referred to as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). By the year 2000, an estimated 36.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 800,000-900,000 people were living with the virus in the United States. According to statistics posted at http://www.one.org , 38 million people are now infected by HIV/AIDS. While some say there is progression toward finding a cure, many are blinded by facts that simply don’t exist. While some will convince themselves it will not affect them or their lives, an estimated 2.8 million people died in 2005 and in that same year, an estimated 4.1 million people were infected with the virus (2006 Report on the Global AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS, May 2006). With rising numbers once again, eventually this disease will affect you or someone you know.

The timeline of the disease is staggering and those lives that have been affected by HIV and AIDS include far more than the names we will all remember. I have the permanent stories of Kimberly Bergalis, Elizabeth Glaser, Debbie Runions, and a precious little boy named Ryan White forever in my mind. All of these individuals seemed to live with great bravery yet they have died in vain if this country doesn’t begin to take a stand now.

I really believe that tomorrow will come with a hellish vengeance if today we ignore what we should’ve done yesterday about this disease.

There’s no question about it. When I first signed up for the Biology and Beyond Class, I thought there would eventually be a cure for AIDS. However, by the end of the semester, after I spent time working at a local hospital where there were patients diagnosed with the disease, I saw their vision. There wasn’t one. It’s ironic really, many of those people living with HIV, and later even in the face of death, felt as if they were just the early victims. They knew others would follow and those who died knew the tomorrow they wouldn’t see held the same for many more victims as they started to battle for their own last days. The reason is apparent now but back then, it wasn’t that clear to me. HIV and AIDS patients knew there was too much of a stigma attached for full awareness to ever be successful. This is thanks to misdirected political agendas and it still exists today.

In 1992, Elizabeth Glaser addressed the Democratic National Convention and stated, “Exactly 4 years ago, my daughter died of AIDS. She did not survive the Reagan administration. I am here because my son and I may not survive 4 more years of leaders who say they care but do nothing.” She later went on to say, “America Wake up. We are all in a struggle between life and death.”

Elizabeth Glaser pleaded with our leaders in 1992 and all who were in attendance heard her but chose to do nothing. Today, we sit at a standstill as our elected and appointed officials decide how to spend more money and more time just to avoid accepting responsibility. I absolutely believe that tomorrow will come with a hellish vengeance if today we ignore what we should’ve done yesterday about this disease. There is no doubt in my mind.

While state and federal leaders spent hours opposing online wagering, ironically, they were gambling with the lives of those who could’ve used their support and would have appreciated the appropriated funds to work toward the fight against AIDS. Instead, our government chose to play craps with human lives and people continued to die.

The fact is, Americans have been led to believe through silence that the AIDS epidemic was on a road that would soon end when in actuality; the spread of HIV has apparently taken a U-Turn when you look at the shocking numbers above.

Let Us Stop This Disease Before It Stops All of Us Who Are Left

While I was a student at ETSU, I had the opportunity to meet Debbie Runions who became an advocate for the education and prevention of AIDS. Debbie, after just one sexual encounter became very ill three weeks later and three months later tested positive for HIV. That was in 1992. She too, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 1996 and she too was heard. Our politicians then simply pushed forward in another direction. Debbie died in October of 2005.

When I heard her speak at ETSU and later had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her, I discovered what her life had been like after she was diagnosed with HIV. She talked openly and honestly about her disease. She surprised me when she talked about the fact that she was thankful she had been given the opportunity to have the disease because of what it had allowed her to do. I learned later that was Debbie. She radiated optimism. Debbie knew her fate was sealed yet she chose to make the most of the life she had to live while she could live it even if it would be within the parameters and limitations of living with the virus.

Debbie’s story will always be imbedded in my mind. I can honestly say after hearing her speak, I was deeply humbled and truly feel she made a profound difference in so many lives. She had a gift to give through her message and her spirit will live on forever but her hope for political intervention may not.

While our politicians have been slinging mud at one another, their efforts could’ve been redirected in a more positive light. Instead of ministers on television running around with an entourage of followers running up astronomical bills on lavish lifestyles, they too could help. Instead of picking up prostitutes on their congregation’s dollars, they too could make a choice to spend their money to save a family ridden by poverty and AIDS.

Our country and the entire global community must understand, this disease doesn’t just pick out favorites. It attacks people of all races, young and old, straight and gay. The disease is not interested in what you look like, who you’ve slept with, or what drug you’ve put in a needle. This disease takes hostages and then slowly but surely, begins terrorizing them with the stigma of the disease itself and the fear of dying.

We do have an epidemic on our hands. While our leaders have gone from one issue to another, people have gotten sick. While meetings were conducted to decide something as frivolous as whether or not Americans could have the freedom to gamble online, more people died. While a television evangelist took his body guards out for another four thousand dollar outing, countless people clung to their one dollar a week and still others were left in the epitome of poverty because of the high cost of health care and medications for a person living with HIV.

What have we decided holds value in this country? Does a human life no longer hold any substantial meaning to those in political office with the means to do something to help mankind? Apparently not, but as Americans, we have an obligation to do something to help. This is our world and our problem.

We no longer have the Debbie Runions and Elizabeth Glasers to speak out at the Democratic Conventions. Now it is up to everyone else to lead by their example. Visit ONE and start doing your best to make a difference. Global AIDS and extreme poverty is more important than who’s sleeping with whom. It’s far more detrimental to our society than any online gambling campaign just to prove a political point and it is certainly more important than listening to the ramblings of a television evangelist asking for your money so he can go buy his methamphetamines.

Isn’t it time after all the pleading from those who had their lives cut short that we finally take a stand? Isn’t it time we demand for our government to take the initiative to fight extreme poverty and Global AIDS? Isn’t it time for a day of reckoning? The debt we’ve paid to this global crisis has already been way too high. It’s time this country took a stand on the important issues at hand. It is time for retribution.

Susan is the author of the upcoming title Friends Unlikely, an Amira Press imprint that will soon be available in print and e-book formats. To learn more about ONE, please visit: http://www.one.org and to learn more about Susan’s book Friends Unlikely, please visit Amira Press at www.amirapress.com.

Friends Unlikely Excerpt:

Friends Unlikely is an upcoming Amira Press title written by Susan Alvis. For more information, visit Susan at her MySpace site at www.myspace.com/susanalvis or visit Amira Press for ordering information at www.amirapress.com.

I suppose I’m pretty, in an ugly sort of way. Some people might say I’m beautiful but they don’t see what I see. They don’t feel what I feel. These are people who don’t know me. They don’t know me at all.

I live in a tourist area. It’s easy to get lost in a town like ours. Most of the people who visit our area want to see the mountains and relax. They wear the faces of strangers and while they might nod in my direction if we happen to meet on the streets, they have no interest in me or anyone else. Who could blame them?

Tourists don’t generally visit our little corner of the world to make friends. They stopover to breathe the mountain air, rest and relax or who knows, maybe they are running from something or someone and they just want to escape. With the natural beauty evident everywhere, there’s always a place for a weary soul to wander just to clear a troubled mind.

It’s actually a blessing to live in a town where so many people flow in and out, always in a hurry. I don’t try to make too many friends, because I don’t want people to see the real me. I’m afraid of what they’ll notice if they move in too close. Since travelers come and go, it’s a safe bet I’ll continue to go unnoticed.

I’m a product of dismissive parents and if it weren’t for a few close relationships with a select group of friends, I would be a recluse. It would be by choice. It’s something I used to do well because it allowed me to escape the humiliation of rejection. All of that changed when I met Juan.

My name is Abbie Davis. Yes, it’s a plain name. I’ve been told so before but it’s mine nonetheless. I go to high school in the small town of Sevierville, Tennessee set on the outskirts of one of the biggest tourist playgrounds of the south—Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. As I mentioned before, it’s easy to get lost in a town where so many tourists wander in and out, which is why I’ve always felt so comfortable. It allows me to be invisible.

Even though I don’t like to be in the spotlight, I’ve become the center of attention when I’m with my group of friends. It’s really kind of cool. I can be myself around them and believe it or not, they still like me. I can’t get over that small fact!

I’m a sixteen-year-old Catholic with an alcoholic father and a mother who doesn’t seem to notice the obvious. I’m going to tell you more about my friends than my family because, well, they are my real family. They make living among the zombies tolerable. We call them the drunk and delusional. Yes, that would be my dad and mom. Still, don’t get the wrong idea. One or two of my friends can be as dysfunctional as the biological nuts who decided to bring me into this world but I love them anyway.

We’ve created our own little inner circle. A secret society of sorts. We aren’t particularly popular, which is one of the reasons we all get along so well together. We’re kind of like a club of misfits, only we fit perfectly. Like a puzzle, I suppose.

I’m the paste that keeps us all glued together or so I’m told. It’s because everyone knew me first, with the exception of the cousins. Still, the cousins didn’t like one another until I came along so maybe I felt responsible for keeping them on common ground. Today, I still ask if that was a privilege or a curse. It just depends on my mood I guess.

Let me tell you about our group of holy terrors. Well, it’s not as bad as all that, I just wanted to get your undivided attention. Make an impression if you know what I mean. Now I have it, so here goes. Let me introduce you to the best people around. I don’t know too many folks but those I do know are worthy of a grand introduction.

First, let me introduce Juan. If I had gone through an existence without knowing Juan, I would have missed out on a lot of living. I was backwoods-backwards until Juan came into my life. I really didn’t know anyone who wanted to be around me. I struggled in school and accepted the facts as they were. I wasn’t smart or as he would later tell me, gifted. However, as he pointed out after he knew me much better, I wasn’t exactly stupid either. Shew, I can’t begin to tell you how that made me feel!

Juan is and always has been a lot of fun. He refused to let me sit alone in my room all day. Thanks to him, I began to make better grades. He is also responsible for my realization that I had quite the nose for scavenger hunts, not to mention a great arm just perfect for throwing a football. He made sure I was a participant in life rather than merely a spectator sitting alone in the stands. Of course, some of the boys preferred to see me there when they realized I could handle a ball much better than them.

Juan became my buddy in third grade. He’s been like a twin brother to me. He’s the good twin. I’m the bad one. He’s the smart one and I’m just the . . . well . . . I guess you could say I’m just the blonde one. He’s Hispanic and has a laid-back temperament. He’s as steady as they come, which is a southern phrase in case you didn’t know.

Davina St.Clair is my best girl friend. We were in fourth grade together and became instantly inseparable. Well, not exactly. We reached an understanding. We knew it would be in both of our best interests to become friends rather than remain enemies.

We only came to this decision after she pulled my hair out in clumps on the playground because the boy she liked was pushing me in a swing. To pay her back, I decorated her beautiful braids in chewing gum while sitting behind her during reading time. She went home after a full day in fourth grade with a new look that a beautician couldn’t quite fix. After both of us received much- needed haircuts, we had a mutual respect for one another. Go figure.

Davina’s father is a doctor and she’s a little on the spoiled side. I try my best to keep her real people. You know, grounded. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. I have appointed myself the sole party responsible for ‘keeping Davina real people’ but she doesn’t seem to mind. Truth be told, I think her parents even appreciate it.

Her family is Southern Baptist and her father insists that she remain that way so she can’t go to church with me, not that I’ve been in recent years. Dr. St. Clair is a deacon in their church and is well thought of in our community. In fact, he’s a legend around the area because his second cousin was none other than the great Doctor Martin Luther King. I’ve always been impressed with that fact so I claim Dr. King as my cousin too.

When I tell people about my family history, some look at me like I’m one card short of a full house but I think Davina’s heritage is really cool so I try my best to cash in on her family legacy by claiming it as my own. Of course, those who don’t know us, immediately ask if Davina and I are sisters. I guess many wonder how a white chic could be related to Dr. King. When people ask if we’re related, we just giggle and nod.

Davina is in love with my other life-long friend, Carlos. Her father would die if he knew. Carlos Garcia is eye candy for every young girl our age. He’s just plain gorgeous. He also has several hang-ups. Once most girls our age find out about them, they run for the door. Not us though. We’re friends ‘til the end, bad habits and all.

Carlos definitely needs a few buddies. If he didn’t have us, he’d likely meet his end sooner rather than later. We keep him on a short leash by trying to stay one-step ahead of the trouble he’s certain to find. Carlos has a few problems that I think he brings on himself so he and I fight a lot. Kind of like brother and sister, I suppose, but I love him just the same.


Last-but-not-least, Rajesh Hussain is our fifth wheel. We call him Raj. He’s very focused on the fact that he is going to be an upperclassman when we return to school in the fall. He’s Muslim so I think that’s why being an upperclassman is so important. Raj says his faith has nothing to do with it. I may be blonde but I’m not stupid. I think he focuses on rank or class rank, as the case may be, because of his culture and religion. See, it even sounds smart doesn’t it? Juan would be proud.

Raj had a difficult time when he first moved to the south. He moved to Tennessee right after the traumatic events of September eleventh. He was terribly shy so with the added pressure of having roots still firmly planted in the Middle East, he had some prejudices to overcome. Carrying around the last name Hussain didn’t help much either. Still, I’m happy to report he adjusted well and before long he’d become just another typical southern boy. Cowboy boots and all.

I think I may be a little responsible for building up Raj’s ego beyond repair. Carlos and I agree that Raj was quiet for so long, he’s doing his best to make up for it now. He still doesn’t talk that much but when he does, Katie, bar that stable barn door because his tongue is as quick as a whip! By the way, that stable thing? It’s a southern thing too.

So after introductions, you can see where my friends are as diverse as my family which brings us back to a family member I forgot to mention. It was on purpose. Still, he’s important in my life, but I wouldn’t want him to know it. My brother, the hard rocking senior who thinks we’re all a little nuts for being best friends. I’m the pest that he’d like to squash with the heel of his boot or at least he tells me something stupid like that a lot.

Some say my brother is a man of few words. I think he’s just a guy with a lot on his mind. Girls. Girls. Oh, yes . . . and did I happen to mention girls? His name is David and that’s about all you need to know. What else do you expect a little sister to say about her big brother?

So there you have it. You should be acquainted with everyone. We’re somewhat of a strange gang until you get to know us. Some might say we were the most unlikely group of kids to befriend one another based on obvious differences. Then again, fate had a way of putting us together for a reason. Ironically, after all is said and done, I think we were destined from the start to know one another. Some say it could have been a blessing and others would say a curse, but whatever fated hand we were all dealt, I sure am glad I had my friends.

So you can’t help but ask….

What are the review sites saying about Susan Alvis and her upcoming title Friends Unlikely?

Glad you asked!

Love Romances and More (http://www.loveromancesandmore.com/) has been highly regarded gaining high praise for fair and unbiased reviews. Today, we’re proud to share a snippet of the first full review adorned on Friends Unlikely by Susan Smith Alvis.

Gaining high praise from reviewer Aryn Taylor who said, “This book is officially this reviewer’s favorite book…. There are not words to describe how good this book is, this reviewer strongly encourages EVERYONE to go and read this book.”


Friends Unlikely is coming soon from Amira Press! Watch for it on Amazon and Fictionwise or visit www.amirapress.com for more details!

News From Destiny Blaine

Destiny Blaine is an author of spicy hot stories. It’s Your Lucky Day is a title coming soon from Amira Press. Gambling plus sex equals delicious, uninhibited afternoon delights you’ll love reading! Find it here at www.amirapress.com!



The following is an unedited excerpt for the upcoming It’s Your Lucky Day from Destiny Blaine and Amira Press!


Two hours passed and I was headed in the doors of The Grand Casino. I walked down the long corridor from the front entrance to the casino floor. The riverboat vessel was one of the prettiest in Mississippi. When players first entered, the wide-open floor plan was anything but expected. The craps tables were the first thing you saw when you walked in and that’s where I typically nodded to those I know in the pit before sliding in beside my client for the hour or hours that lie ahead.

“Hiya baby,” I glanced over at Carl. He’s a client I know well. When he’s in Tunica and winning, I hear from him and when he’s losing, I wave at him in passing. He once was so down on his luck that he asked me to blow him for free.

If he’d asked a little nicer, maybe I would’ve considered it since he’s such a good customer when his luck runs with dollar signs but that particular night, I wasn’t in the mood. When I didn’t answer him immediately, he looked down at his shoes before he made a loud statement in the middle of the steakhouse at The Grand. “It’s a real unlucky day when you can’t get a slut to fuck.” He laughed in his drunken stupor and I would’ve let it slide but he grabbed my ass and it just went down hill from there.

“Nobody, Carl,” I had paused for effect, “And I do mean nobody, rides for free. Not even you.” I’d spat the words at him and immediately read his face. He was sorry he’d embarrassed me and hurt that I’d retaliated but we all live by our own standards and call girls have them too. Even those who are rooted in the dry mud of Mississippi, those prostitutes that every woman in a casino will speak to until they realize the pretty looking blonde is anything but a nice-girl-next-door.

I’m one of those pretty-on-the-outside girls and I’m here to tell you that we do have some guidelines we live by. We expect others to follow them. Call it the good-ole-girls club. Welcome to our realm.

News from Christina Macone-Greene

Christina Macone-Greene’s book “Rebuffing The Bishop” is hysterical. It’s definitely on my list of can’t miss books. Christina has shared with me some information about book signings she is doing. If you can get there, you don’t want to miss them!
September 29, 2007 - 10AM to Noon
THE LIVING ROOM - SDSU
5900 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92115
619-286-8434

October 6, 2007 - 11AM to 1PM
YELLOW UMBRELLA BOOKS
501 Main Street
Chatham, MA 02633
508-945-0144

November 3, 2007 (Time to be determined)
Coffee Adventures
1331 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA
415-441-0301


Christina has also recently done an interview with Coolstuff4writers. Here is an excerpt of that interview. To read the entire interview go to

http://www.coolstuff4writers.com/Interviews/ChristinaMaconeGreene.html

1. Rebuffing the Bishop is your first published novel. What inspired this novel and how long did it take to write?
I have always been an avid fan of comedies. What inspired me to write REBUFFING THE BISHOP was to tap into a genre of comedy with outrageous characters, but at the same time, blending a little bit of romance. For me, writing a novel with hints of humor can give a work an unexpected, witty edge.
This manuscript roughly took about six months to write.

2. What was the publishing process like for you?
A roller coaster ride of insanity. After months of agent queries, I signed on with a reputable literary agency based in NY. When my agent left the firm, my manuscript fell though the cracks. Dismayed and disappointed, I decided to research smaller publishers. I received a few offers and eventually signed on with Amira Press.

3. Please tell us about Rebuffing the Bishop. What do you hope your readers will take away with them after reading it?
REBUFFING THE BISHOP is a zany comedy about a young woman who devises a sting to sideswipe the romantic overtures of a family friend – her ex-boyfriend’s father.
Rebecca DiCecca struggles to erase the memory of Greg, her first love. She succumbs to a champagne-induced passion and finds herself in the upstairs guest bedroom with Greg, while his wife celebrates her birthday downstairs. Rebecca is struck sober when Greg’s father, Lester, dashes into the room and discovers the two in flagrante delicto. Unable to shake the sexual image, Lester becomes infatuated with Rebecca, convincing himself he must save her from a life of sin. He threatens to disclose her indiscretion to their small town if she does not take his advances seriously. Cornered, Rebecca teams up with a trio of ne’er-do-wells who devise an innovative scheme.
This novel is not your typical romance story. I hope my readers will be entertained and amused by my wacky characters who will go to any lengths to succeed in their pursuits. Some scenes will make your toes curl, while others, will warm your heart!

Publishing News

Amira Press is currently accepting submissions. We are looking for writers of all genre’s. 5k-85 k is accepted. Specifically we are looking for Regency type romance, fairy or ghost stories as well as Western romance. Please see http://www.amirapress.com for submission details
Romance At Heart is currently accepting submissions. Please go to http://rahpubs.com for details.
Mystic Moon Press is accepting submissions for their opening! Go to www.mysticmoonpress.com for details.

For Writers

Here is an article I wrote on writing conflict. If you’d like to contribute an article to this newsletter please contact me at purplepixiedustgir@sbcglobal.net with the subject header Newsletter Article.

Conflict
By
Jordana Ryan


Life isn’t without conflict, so why should your novel be? In fact, conflict is essential in a novel. It is what makes a reader want to turn the pages of your book. It is with the resolution of conflict that character growth happens and your readers read the last page with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

One type of conflict is internal. This is something that is within your character. One example of this is a character that has been hurt by a man in one fashion or another. Another man enters the picture and she finds herself falling for him. Before she can truly love him, she has to resolve the inner conflict created by the pain her ex caused her.

Another type of conflict is external conflict. A great example of this can be seen in many historical novels where the Dukes and Lords fall in love with a person not of impeccable lineage. Or the white woman in love with the Native American man. Ultimately, these external conflicts must be solved for the hero and heroine to be together.

In a novel, a good combination of both internal and external conflict is necessary in order to insure not only an interesting plot line but growth of the characters. When a reader picks up your book, they want to see real people with real conflicts that can be solved. This is what will keep your readers turning page after page.

When writing conflict be aware that the word does not refer to arguments and misunderstandings. Although that is conflict, it is not enough to sustain a plot line or develop character growth.

A trick that I use when writing the highest impact scenes of conflict is to try to write them when I am feeling my most emotional. This provides me an outlet for emotions through my characters and ultimately brings characters to life. This is important for giving your readers a sense of reality when reading your novel.

A person buys a book because they want to escape their world. Their problems become less important as they become engrossed in the lives of your characters. With a good balance of both internal and external conflict, you can sweep readers into another world and give them what they hoped for when they opened your book ¬¬ a sense of fulfillment. And that ultimately is what writing is all about.

Story Corner

Set Adrift
J. L. Foster


Looking upon her reflection in the large, full-length mirror, she felt rather ugly. Her sweater did not flatter her, as it seemed to accentuate her belly rolls, and her skirt gave her the hips of her heavier grandmother. Her hair was dry and pulled back in a lifeless ponytail, and no matter how much make-up she used, the bags and pimples were still present. If she looked this bad now, she wondered how she would look when she put her glasses back on and could actually see.
It was even worse than she had thought. Wanting to cry again, she turned away from the mirror and sat on the edge of her bed. The tears fell easily for her, as crying was somewhat of a daily ritual.
From atop the dresser, the photograph of her ex-boyfriend stared tauntingly back at her. She was in the photo also, but whoever took the picture had managed to cut half of her out. Now, it was just a great shot of Jake, who was happy and thin somewhere with an equally happy and thin woman. The thought made her ill, and she reached over to slap the picture facedown.
It pained her to think that she had never been good enough for him…
The phone rang in the distance, distracting her from her self-mourning. Frumpily, she rose from the bed and ambled into the den.
Lifting it to her badly chapped lips, she asked, “Hello?”
“Hello, yes! Is this Marla Pinkle,” cried the voice in professional tone.
“This is she… who is this?”
“Well, Marla Pinkle,” said the called, “your name has been selected as our Spring Break Getaway Winner here on JPXM 96 FM, the hits!”
Marla could not believe her ears. In all her life, she had never won a thing. There had to be a mistake; the station must have called the wrong Marla Pinkle. Still, she remembered entering the contest…
“Don’t you want to know where you’re going, Marla,” asked the jockey.
“Whe… where?” She could barely speak the word.
“We are sending you away – round trip – to Jamaica! We’re paying for your flight, your hotel, your food, and we are even throwing in one thousand dollars spending cash! What do you think about that?”
Not knowing what else to do or say, Marla screamed the happiest scream she had ever belted.
She ended the conversation shortly after taking down information and exchanging her own. Her flight left in the morning, and she would be in the tropical paradise of Jamaica just a few short hours later. Happier than she had ever been, she hurried back into her bedroom to pack. The full-length mirror was there to taunt her again when she arrived.
Looking at herself, she saw no way that she could ever be seen on a beach and in a bathing suit. Her skin was pasty pale, and when she pressed her belly rolls together, they actually looked like a pair of big white lips. Although she was far from being obese, there was more to her than she cared for.
Still, the trip of a lifetime awaited her, whether she was ready for it or not. So, despite the things about her that she hated the most, she pulled her suitcase from beneath the bed and popped it open. Her closet was strewn with sweaters and sweater-vests, ankle-length skirts, and bloomer pants. There were a few pairs of moth-worn shorts on the top shelf, and she snagged down the t-shirts she normally reserved for house cleaning. There was two pair of sandals, so she took both and added them to her stack. After throwing in three or four wide hats and the clip-on sunglasses for her wide spectacles, she decided against even wearing her glasses and she tossed the shades back on her dresser.
All scattered on her bed, it looked like a giant explosion in a thrift store. Yet, it was all she had, and every piece of it fit into her old, green suitcase. If she couldn’t be pretty, at least she could be comfortable.

***

The flight landed and she was woken from her nap, only to find that she was still about an hour away from her destination. The steward informed her that she had to catch a boat to the island, as the commercial planes could not fly in. A boat was waiting for her at the docks, where she was dropped off with a small group of other vacationers. They all boarded the same ferry, named Marmalade, and Marla stood alone for most of the ride.
Every now and then she would look over at the other beautiful passengers with their beautiful tans. She would watch them laugh with one another, and sometimes they would kiss. They were all college students – just as she was. Yet, there was something they had that she just knew she didn’t contain.
“You’re not on vacation alone, are you?” an old man asked, stepping up beside her.
Startled, she forced a lie. “No… No. I’m with them… over there!”
The old man glanced over at the group of beautiful people, and then back at Marla. “You look a little too nice to be involved with that crowd! In twenty years, every one of them will be filled with botox and silicon! You… you will still be real!”
His smile helped ease one out of Marla, who was beginning to relax.
“I’m not with them,” she confessed. “I won a vacation and here I am! For a week, it will be me against their beautiful world…!”
“There is more to Jamaica than them,” the old man corrected as he lit a hand-rolled cigarette. “Jamaica is paradise for all… not for some!”
“Well, we’ll see…”
“We sure will,” he smiled and spat over the railing into the water.
The old man wandered away, and Marla wondered for a moment who he was. He seemed a bit too knowing to have been another tourist, but she had met the captain of the boat, and he was still manning the wheel. For some reason, she hoped he would return and talk to her again, but the boat ride eventually came to an end and the old man never returned.
She was taken to her hotel by a handsome black native, who stood a good two feet taller than her. He was dressed in white pants and a white polo shirt, with the Grand Jamaican Resort sewn over one breast. His name was Malkai, and he was the first beautiful person on this trip that Marla actually enjoyed looking at.
“You will have a good time here,” he said, carrying her luggage into the resort. The island is a beautiful place with many fine people! The resort alone has several programs, including nature hikes, boating, water-skiing…” He would have continued, but he caught the strange gaze that glistened from Marla’s eyes into his and he had to smile. “You will be just fine, all right!”
The check-in process was rather simple. All she had to do was sign a registration form and show her identification to prove who she was. Much to her own personal bliss, the handsome Malkai stayed present and carried her bags all the way to her room.
She thanked him, tipped him, and once he had left, she fell onto the bed thinking about him. Closing her eyes, she imagined herself back on the boat, but the old man and the beautiful people were not there. Only she was there… she and Malkai. His tight white pants still covered his long, shapely legs, but his polo was gone and his firm, dark chest glistened in the sunlight. Like a tiger stalking his prey, he moved catlike to her, and when he had reached her, he pulled her into his arms.
“You’re the woman I have been waiting for,” he said, bringing her in closer. “You are the one that I love!”
She did not have time to speak, as his smooth lips were quick upon hers, sealing her in silence. Her mouth parted slightly and she allowed his tongue to enter, teasing her into titillation. Softly, his lips moved from hers and down her chin and neck until they rested at the top of her cleavage.
“Oh, Malkai,” she moaned, gnawing on the bottom of her t-shirt. Suddenly, she opened her eyes and remembered that she was lying alone on the bed in her hotel room. Wiping a bit of sweat from her forehead, she composed herself and began to unpack.

***

The first two days of vacation came and went rather uneventfully. She ate breakfast alone in the hotel’s dining room. She read out by the pool and completed two mysteries. Once, she had tried the sauna, but when the more attractive women entered, she found the need to leave. That was one activity she would not try again. The second night had proved somewhat more interesting, as the entertainment for the evening had been a magician – and a rather good one, at that. Malkai had volunteered to vanish during part of the act, and his return at the end brought a great round of applause. Marla had clapped the hardest of them all, and Malkai had noticed.
On the third day, after nights of dreaming of her dark desire, she worked up the courage to make conversation with him again. He had been in the lobby, finishing up with some guests that he had just dropped off. Marla saw him from behind the stair banister, and she forced herself to wander over to him. Naturally, he remembered her and greeted her with a friendly smile.
“There is the beautiful lady,” he said happily. “Going out for an afternoon walk?”
“I’ve… I’ve not really gone out much,” she answered, wishing afterwards that she could have slapped herself. That was not the answer she had wanted to give.
“Don’t worry,” he laughed. “The only time I get out is when I am picking people up or dropping people off! It is a terrible state!” He said this with such enthusiasm that Marla could not help but laugh. “Tell you what! It is my break now! You and I will walk together!”
They were the words Marla had hoped so dearly to hear, and her face lit up like that of a little girl on Christmas Eve when he spoke them.
For nearly an hour, they walked and talked along the beaches of the resort. Malkai had spent his entire life on the island, and he claimed to know every grain of sand personally. To prove it, he started pointed down to different grains and called out various names.
“That one is Sandy,” he said, “for obvious reasons of course!”
Marla laughed at his humor, but he could have said the dirtiest thing and right then, she still would have laughed. She had never been so interested in a man who seemed to also enjoy her company.
Just before it was time for Malkai to return to work, they stopped by one of the many liquor stands, which were located nearly every hundred feet. They each drank a Pina Colada, although Malkai claimed that he really shouldn’t have, seeing as he was due back at work.
Much to Marla’s surprise, he held her hand the entire walk back to the resort’s lobby.
For the remainder of the afternoon, she kept herself locked away in her room. If one were to have walked in, they would have assumed the room was empty on first glance. But if they stood still, watching and listening, they would have seen the rustling coming from under the sheets and the whimpering moans that accompanied it.

***

She slept quite late on the forth morning of her five day long adventure. Aside from the late hour, she felt somewhat refreshed and relaxed. Dreading the morning check in the mirror, she forced herself from the bed and ambled over to the vanity. The sleep had done her surprisingly well, as her eyes seemed brighter, her skin was a bit rosier, and when she smiled it actually made her happier.
Stepping into the shower, she let the hot water pour down onto her rested muscles. As she ran her bath sponge over her breasts, she thought they seemed somehow perkier than usual. Her stomach, too, was different. In order to make a smile, she had to struggle to gather enough fat. Perhaps the island agreed with her, she thought as she washed her hair with coconut shampoo.
Her hair dried beautifully. It was the first time in a long time that she had been able to brush it without ripping a hunk out. The ends seemed to curl, and the length seemed to bounce. She would wear it down today, she decided. It would be different for a change.
Between her long, free hair and the short shorts she wore, she attracted more attention than she had expected. For the first time in her life, she had been whistled at while walking down the beach. She had never been whistled at before, but today she counted eight whistles and then decided to stop keeping track.
Malkai seemed doubly entranced by her new appearance, and even though he said it went against his better judgment, he asked, “Would you be kind enough to accompany me to tomorrow night’s beach party?”
This was another first. She had never been invited to a party, and she had never been able to accept… until today.
“But what will I wear,” she asked loudly, although the thought was meant only for her.
“You could wear nothing at all and still be the most beautiful creature on the island,” Malkai answered, and Marla wanted to kiss him right then more than ever before.
When evening fell, she waited for him in the lobby of the resort. It was seven after five before he finally appeared, calling out some bits of information to the gentleman behind the front counter. He stopped speaking when he saw Marla, as all words had been swept from his mind.
“Have I gone crazy,” he asked, “or have you grown lovelier since just this afternoon?”
“They say we all go a little crazy sometimes,” she answered bashfully.
“Nonsense! Beauty, my dear Marla, is the key to sanity. Surround yourself with beautiful things, and you will always be sane. Right now, I am the sanest man in Jamaica!”
“I thought, perhaps, you could use an after-work drink,” she smiled, not feeling the least bit embarrassed by her slightly crooked teeth.
Malkai accepted her offer. Instead of a drink, however, they had several drinks. Malkai took her to one of the bar areas where he introduced her to several of the island favorites. After the forth drink, he could no longer remember the names of the beverages, but he still knew how to pour them.
“I’m really glad I met you,” Marla admitted, although she was quite nervous to do so.
“This week has been the happiest week of my life!” Malkai beamed with obvious honesty. “Several weeks before you arrived here, I lost someone very important to me. I could barely look at another woman before I saw you.”
Without realizing it, they both leaned in for a kiss. Once their lips had locked, it seemed that time actually paused itself, and not even the stars in the sky could move. The touch of Malkai’s mouth against her own was more erotic than she had ever expected, and her kiss became more intense. She was caught off guard for just a moment as he tried to slide his tongue into her mouth, but she accepted it and she loved it. She had never been French kissed, and after this, she would wonder if she had ever really been kissed before at all.
Controlling her mouth was one thing, but she had no control over her hands. Slowly, one began to slide down Malkai’s chest, rubbing it gently. But then the hand continued to move even further. Touching upon his groin, she found that he was already quite erect, and she had never felt one so large. Her timid fingers began to work the zipper, until they had slipped in upon his manhood.
“Not here,” Malkai groaned, pulling away. Quickly, he zipped back his fly. “This is my work. I could lose my job.” His tone was not angry, but it was quite fearful.
“I understand,” Marla sighed, sipping the rest of her drink. It was true – she did understand. Still, she could not help the embarrassment that she currently felt.
Feeling flustered now, she sat for another five minutes and then excused herself for the night. Malkai attempted a goodnight kiss, but Marla would only allow him a small peck on the cheek. She knew that he did not understand why she was hurt, but it would hurt even more to try to explain it to him.
If she were to put it simply, she would have said, “Rejection is something I am used to. Don’t feel bad. It has been the course of my life.”
She did not speak those thoughts, though, and once in her room, she climbed in bed and cried herself to sleep.

***

When she woke on Friday morning, it was to the sound of a knock at her door. It only sounded twice, and then it was gone. With a tired yawn, she climbed from under the sheets. Her head ached terribly. This was partially due to the amount of drinks she had drunk last night, but most of the credit was reserved for the awful way she had left Malkai. She wondered if she would ever see him again…
As she walked towards the door, she felt a shiver and realized that she was completely unclothed. She had never slept in the nude, and she could not believe that she had actually done so! Stopping in front of a mirror, she gazed upon her nakedness.
At first, she did not believe that it was her reflection that she was staring at. Timidly, she ran a curious hand over her stronger jawbone and the double chin that was almost gone completely. The hand creased down the elastic of her neck and down to her raised and rather supple breasts. They had never seemed so smooth… so ripe. She felt her nipple harden as she touched upon it, and she gave a slight giggle. Moving further now, she rested upon her stomach, which was most definitely not the same one she had arrived with. Although it was not perfectly toned, there was less of it and it actually looked attractive, rather than repulsive. Swaying her hips, she watched it move along with her steps, creating a hypnotic movement. Marla continued to sway as her hands crept to her hips, which seemed fuller and stronger. Everything about her seemed this way. Briefly, she wondered if she had woken up in the wrong body, but turning around, she saw her tiny birthmark reflected from her back into the mirror.
She was still Marla, but she felt and looked like a much different person.
Remembering now the door, she grabbed a white cotton robe from a hook on the wall and wrapped it around her. As she had figured, no one stood on the other side of the door when she opened it. With a sigh, she was about to close it when she looked down and saw the white package with the red ribbon tied around it. A dozen red roses sat beside it.
The small note with the roses showed that they were from Malkai, and she tore open the box with the enthusiasm of a child on her birthday. Inside was the most wonderful flowing summer dress she had ever seen. It was brightly colored, and tropical flowers patterned it completely. She thought it was absolutely beautiful, but she wondered how it would look against her pale skin. Throwing the robe to the bed, she held the dress against her body and looked again in the mirror. Somehow, her skin was not pasty pale at all. The week in the sunshine had done her some good and she had the first and only tan of her life.
Suddenly, she was more anxious for the beach party than before. This was mostly because of Malkai, as he obviously harbored no ill feelings about last night. She felt very fortunate for this, and she hurried into the shower. There, she spent the next fifteen minutes masturbating – not over Malkai, but over her new body.

***

When evening rose and the sun had begun to set, Marla realized something very important. She did not know where she was supposed to meet Malkai for their date. Five o’clock had come and gone, so she knew that he was off from work now. It was a quarter after six before she decided he was not coming up to her room to get her, and she wandered wonderingly down the few flights of stairs to the lobby – elevators somewhat frightened her.
Malkai was not here either. She stood between a tall potted elephant ear plant and a gumball machine, looking at every tall, dark and handsome man that came in and out of the lobby. None of them had been her tall, dark and handsome man though. Some, granted, she would have enjoyed fantasizing about. She saw a handful of them obviously thinking the same thing about her as they walked by with devilish eyes and curious grins.
As her patience turned into worry, she walked slowly up to the front counter.
“I was supposed to be meeting Malkai here… I think. He didn’t happen to say anything, did he?”
“Um…” the man thought, rolling his eyes up in the air as if in deep wonder. “He left here shortly after five with a lady friend that he had picked up at the dock.”
“Do you know where he was taking her?” Suddenly, she felt very ill.
“To the party, I imagine! You a friend of Malkai’s?” His eyes now traced over her newly found curves.
For the first time, Marla found this offensive. “No,” she answered, turning away. “He was… just going to give me a tour around the hotel.”
“Well, maybe you can catch him in the morning!” Daringly, he called after her. “I, on the other hand, am off the clock in about twenty minutes. I’d be more than happy to give you that tour… although you look like your dressed for a party instead!”
Marla stopped in her tracks and breathed in deeply. Perhaps this was just what she needed. It would serve Malkai right if he were to see her at the party with another man. After all, they had just met, and she was leaving tomorrow.
It wasn’t as if there was anything to keep her here… in paradise.
“I’ll take you up on that,” she said, turning around on her heels. “I didn’t get all dressed up for nothing!”
“And you do look awfully nice,” the desk clerk admitted.
It was very true, too. Marla looked better at this very moment than she had ever looked in her life. The dress had fit her perfectly, and it accentuated every smooth curve of her body. Her hair was pulled slightly back behind her neck. Curls bounced against her shoulders and a single rose was positioned over one ear. A strand of pearls that had been her grandmother’s was wrapped around her neck. She was… impeccable.
“Thank you,” she smiled. “For taking me to the party, I mean.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” he said, his eyes moving slowly up and down her legs.
“Can I ask you one thing though?”
“Sure! You can ask me anything you want!”
“What… what is your name?” She smiled and when she did, it seemed to light up the entire room.
His name turned out to be Samuel, and he was the twenty-two year old son of a rich Texas oil tycoon. His father had agreed to let him move to the island when he was seventeen, on the condition that Samuel paid his own way once he got here. That was when he had gotten the job at the resort, working his way up from janitor to the front counter. He said he hadn’t any real plans to advance with the resort. They allowed him to stay in one of the rooms, and he had three square meals a day. As far as he was concerned, he was set for life!
Marla had quickly become bored with his chatter and was eager for seven o’clock to arrive. When it did, Samuel disappeared into the office and a young Asian woman replaced him at the desk. He appeared ten minutes later in the lobby, having quickly changed into a tropical t-shirt and a pair of beach shorts that revealed to anyone that noticed that he was not wearing underwear and he was proud of it.
Malkai hadn’t been wearing underwear last night, she remembered, thinking of how she just reached down and grabbed his personal Jesus. This trip had been filled with a lot of firsts for her…
“Are you ready to go,” Samuel asked, stirring her from her daydream. “We want to get drunk before all the good liquor is gone!”
“Does that ever happen?”
“It hasn’t yet,” he admitted with a boyish grin, “but I’m not taking any chances!”
She shook her head, but still she smiled. At least… at least she had a date, even if it was with an adult child. Samuel was in no way her tall, dark, and handsome man. In fact, he was rather average height, and although he had a tan, it was nothing compared with Malkai’s naturally ebony skin. He was handsome, however. He looked quite like a young cowboy turned surfer. His blond hair was cropped short, and his blue eyes were rather stunning. As he smiled and took her hand in his, she saw his perfect white teeth and returned the gesture.
“Let’s go,” she said, gaining a bit of confidence. “Like you said, we want to get drunk before all the good liquor’s gone!”

***

Two hours and seven margaritas later, she had seen not a single sign of Malkai. The thought of him had distracted her the entire evening, and every time a man passed, she took a second glance to make sure it wasn’t hers. Perhaps, she thought, he had intended on meeting her at the dance. They had never smoothed out all of the details. Or, possibly, he could have gone to her room just after she had left, and naturally, she wasn’t there.
But there was the other woman… Samuel had seen her with his own eyes.
She felt him grind up behind her as they danced around the bonfire. Beneath the thin fabric of her dress, she could feel his manhood bob up against her with every thrust. It was a strange and unusual feeling for Marla, but Samuel seemed to be enjoying it fine. The more he grinded, the larger his manhood grew. After a few moments of this, he excused himself for another drink. As he walked off, she could see his erection lifting up the front of his shorts.
With this thought now on her mind, she finished up her margarita and slowly began to follow him. From behind, his pants were pulled tightly to his buttocks, displaying every sweet curve. She licked her lips and dabbed a bit of sweat off of her brow. One hand unknowingly reached up to her chest and lightly grazed the top of her cleavage. She saw him stop at the bar and order another drink. As he waited, he leaned forward onto the counter, giving her a sharper looked at his rear. She wanted to just reach over and grab it, but she remembered the trouble those actions had caused last night and she decided against it. Instead, she walked up and leaned on the counter next to him.
“Did you order me another,” she asked teasingly.
“Of course,” he answered just as the bartender sat two margaritas on the counter. “This makes how many for you?”
“Um…” she thought, “… eight!”
“I’m on number eleven,” he confessed. “You know what, I remember these things being stronger! I don’t feel drunk at all!”
He laughed so hard at his own comment that he actually slid off of the counter and onto his knees. After a moment, he turned around and sat on the sand. Marla slid down beside him. She noticed instantly that his erection had gone away.
“Okay, maybe I feel a little drunk,” he laughed again.
They sat like this for a moment, and amongst all of the many other people on the beach, they seemed alone. Samuel’s eyes stayed placed on the grains of sand at their feet, and Marla sipped softly on her drink while watching him. After a bit, Samuel stood and she followed.
“Do you want to dance again,” he asked.
“Sure!”
Instead of moving back to the bonfire, he pulled her close right where they were and began to slowly move with her in his arms. She felt loose and light in his grip, and she allowed him to sway and move her all he wanted. Closing her eyes, she felt as if she wasn’t even on the beach anymore. Instead, she was floating high in the sky, being held in Malkai’s tight grip…
Malkai, she thought as she opened her eyes. She could not seem to get him off of her mind. And as she looked over Samuel’s shoulder and beyond the bar, she wondered if she was still daydreaming.
There, under the light of the moon and the glow of the fire, Malkai stood in all of his beautiful glory. He still wore his white pants, but no shirt covered his chest. A thick gold chain hung around his neck. He stood with another woman, who was perhaps the most beautiful black woman Marla had ever seen. Malkai talked with her for a bit, noticed his drink was empty, and kissed her on the cheek as he started toward the bar. The woman followed along, laughing and tripping through the sand with her bare feet. It was maybe twenty feet from the bar when he noticed Marla and smiled. His pace quickened toward her. Panic-stricken, Marla froze until they were only a few feet away, and then she pulled Samuel’s head from her shoulder and kissed him deeper than she had ever kissed anyone before. She felt his tongue slip into her mouth, and as she closed her eyes, she could feel his eager erection regain consciousness and press into her stomach.
“Marla…” Malkai whispered as he approached her. “I’d like you to meet my sister, Crystal, who just flew in from the mainland to see me.”
When she looked up, Malkai was not smiling as one usually does when introducing a relative. Instead, he appeared rather hurt, as if fighting away a scream or tears. Shaking his head spitefully, he looked back at his sister and hurried as fast as he could from the beach party.
“Tramp,” Crystal snapped before trailing off after her brother.
Marla could not believe how stupid she had been. Malkai had told her there hadn’t been anyone else for a long time, but she hadn’t trusted him. She had listened to Samuel instead – the young man who appeared to be still holding his erection even after the terrible display.
“You want to go back to my room,” he asked through a drunken slur, only to have Marla push him away. “Come on! You kissed me!”
She did not answer him. Instead, she broke into tears and hurried off toward the resort and back to her room, where she would once again cry herself to sleep.

***

In the morning, she slowly packed her garments back into her ugly green suitcase. She showered, and although her body was still rather beautiful, she did not masturbate. Instead, she cried.
For the boat ride to the docks and the flight home, she decided to wear the dress Malkai had given her. It was the only part of him that she still had. The rest… she feared she had lost forever.
The same people rode the boat back with her that she had arrived with. There were the seven beautiful people, and this time they actually smiled and waved her over. Marla returned the smile but she did not go to them. Rather, she returned to the same spot of railing that she had spent the trip out looking over.
A horn blared from somewhere on the deck and the boat slowly eased away from the shoreline. Marla watched as the island began to shrink in the distance, but her eyes were tired and she wondered if it really was Malkai that she saw, waving goodbye from the sandy beach. She tried to wave back, but she felt too tearful to attempt it.
“Are you still real,” a voice called from behind her. When she turned around, she saw the same old man as before, reclaiming his spot beside her.
“Yes,” she said, trying to smile. “I guess I’m as real as I ever was, but I don’t know how real that is…”
“Well, you sure do look different. You look like one of them,” he gestured toward the beautiful people. “Only you look this way naturally… something on that island sure must have agreed with you!”
She looked back to the island, still slowly shrinking in the distance.
“Yeah…”
“You know, a lot of love happens on that old island. Sadly enough, people leave that love behind – even when it is right.” Wisely, he cocked an eyebrow. “We are lucky in this life to love even once. Some of us never find love at all! Those who give it up… well… they may not ever find it again.”
There was a terrible amount of truth in the old man’s voice, but Marla found herself at a loss of words.
“Do you love him,” the man asked, a bit more bluntly than she had been ready for.
Looking at him square in the eye, she found her voice again, although it was a mere whimper. “Yes…”
“Can you swim?”
This one confused her a bit. “Yes…”
“Then what are you waiting for?” With the same knowing grin he had held a week before, he nodded his head and wondered off.
Marla’s eyes quickly darted back to the island, which could still be seen in the distance over the ripple of the blue water. She shook her head insanely, as she did not know what she was doing, but taking a deep breath she climbed up onto the railing and leapt into the ocean waters.
“Is she crazy?” one of the beautiful people cried out.
“No,” the old man answered from somewhere nearby. “She’s in love!”
Marla swam as fast as she could – even faster than she realized. Although the island was slowly growing closer to her, her arms were beginning to tire and she felt like a fool. Then, just when she had decided to turn back, she saw Malkai kicking the sand slowly below his feet as he ambled along the beach.
“Malkai,” she screamed above the waters and winds. “Malkai!”
He was not sure if what he thought he heard was real or not, but slowly he stopped walking and looked out into the water.
“Malkai!” Marla cried out once more, still swimming with all her might.
It was then that he saw her – just a faint essence of beautiful swimming toward him through the blue ocean. Eagerly, he pulled his polo from his body, leapt into the water and began to swim towards her.
He met her halfway, and although they were floating in endless feet of water, there was silence. Marla began to cry, and then she opened her mouth to speak and could not stop.
“I’m so sorry,” she begged, choking on her tears. “Samuel told me you were with another woman and then I saw you kiss her and then you came over and I kissed him to make you jealous and it was your sister and… and… and…” She tried to continue, but the gentle touch of Malkai’s finger upon her lips sealed her words shut.
“Samuel told me the whole story today,” he reassured. “I tried to catch you, but your boat had already left by the time I reached it.”
Suddenly, neither one of them could think of another thing that had to be said. The gentle bob of the waves brushed up against them, pushing them closer into each other’s arms. In an instant, he kissed her with more passion than anything she had ever witnessed, and she melted into it. Her hands began to take control again, and she found them moving softly down Malkai’s bare, wet back. When they reached the pants, they slowly moved around the thigh until his crotch was just a handshake away. Catching herself, she jerked the hand away. Malkai caught it and returned it to his thigh, brushing it slowly over to the covered head of his erect penis. Marla fumbled clumsily with the zipper, but once she had tugged it down, his manhood rose out like a sword being drawn from its sheath. There was more there than she had ever felt before, and she began to massage it as skillfully as she knew how.
She felt Malkai’s hand reach under her flowing dress when she realized she had forgotten to wear panties this morning. Tightly, she closed her eyes and clenched her teeth together as two fingers found their way into a region that man had not been introduced to in quite some time. Excitedly, she contracted around his fingers, feeling the pulls and pushes and he slid them in and out. As she opened her eyes again, she felt his fingers slide out completely and, shortly after, a more massive object replaced them.
He entered her slowly at first, using the ocean waters as a lubricant. Sweetly, she moaned under her breath. Once she relaxed, he entered further until all ten inches were tucked deep inside of her. Marla cradled him with her legs, wrapping them tightly around his waist. She laid back into the water and let her head float happily along.
Malkai’s moans and grunts were not as monstrous as she had wondered. Instead, they were moans of pure joy and emotion, feeling titillation with every new thrust. His moans seemed to rise at the same time as her, and it was not long before he buckled harshly in the water and dropped his face onto her chest. She felt him pull out and watched as the white fluid rose to the top of the ocean water.
Marla never returned back to her droll life in the city. She never had the desire to even send for her belongings or notify her school that she was dropping out. Instead, she spent the next many days and nights, weeks and months, and even years in the arms of her tall, dark and handsome Malkai and walking barefoot along the sandy beaches of the tropical paradise that was this Jamaican island.

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Jordana Ryan

Do not Judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes