Tritely enough, a brand new year is a very exciting time, is it not? You feel a renewed sense of purpose. You may even prioritize things differently, make exciting plans, draft lists of the things you neglected to do in the previous year.
And speaking of things that I neglected to do in the preceding year, I’d like to say that the official countdown is underway.
In case you’ve forgotten, my book, The Great Trees Fall, will be released in March of this year. I sincerely cannot wait to share this with you, and I hope that you help me in spreading the word about it.
Brandon and Natalie deserve a proper send off, am I right?
In the meantime, check out some snippets of the book here and here!
I’m in a good place right now. My direction for this latest project has been re-invigorated, and I’m writing like crazy. For all your patience and kind words, I not only thank you, but I’ll share a chapter with you. Take a gander below.
I’ll also (hopefully) be releasing a new date for the book very soon. And by soon, I mean in the next few days or so.
Thanks for sticking with me through this whole process. You have no idea what it means.
If you like what you’ve read from me so far, please do me a solid and share with your friends.
Since September 10th, has come and gone, I’ve gotten a few emails from people notifying me that they can’t locate the book on any book distributor’s website. There’s a reason for that, which can be found here.
In the meantime, I promised you guys a snippet of what’s to come. While I work diligently, making the last book in the When You Come to Me series what I believe it should be, you can read a tinge of what’s going on below. As always, if you have any questions or want to chat, I’m available!
Take a read and let me know your thoughts! I cannot wait to share the final product with you all.
I’ve only briefly mentioned the 3rd addition to the When You Come to Me series entitled, The Great Trees Fall. But now that a month has passed and Skin Like Dawn is doing so well, I thought it a great time to let you know that I’ve already broken ground on the new book, and hope to have it out by early next year (hint: I’m thinking February/March). My outline is written, and I’ve already had it “approved” by a couple of my close, personal friends, and the first chapter is almost complete. This book will be told from four different perspectives: Natalie, Brandon, Asha and Bellamy. That way, you’ll get a sense of everyone’s feelings, regarding the situation, and won’t get bogged down on one character’s neuroses.
I’ve noticed that a couple of you guys have already started searching for the new book. That makes a girl feel great! I have a muralist located in Los Angeles, working diligently on a sketch of the cover, and I hope to share that with you guys in the next couple of months. He’s extremely talented, and I know that he’ll do wonders for the cover that I’ve imagined.
I’ll be creating a page for The Great Trees Fall in the next couple of days, so you guys (you wonderful readers and devotees of Brandon and Natalie’s Story) can keep up to date with my progress.
Thank you guys so much for reading and sharing – you have no idea how good it feels!
Ask any one of my friends and they’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve been on a roll the past couple of weeks! With the aid of my beta readers, a crisp glass of white wine and some very soothing music, I’ve cranked out at least fifty pages in the past few days, putting me way beyond my goal for this time of year. Soon, I will be editing and formatting frantically to get it ready for you guys. I cannot wait to share this with you. It will excite some and disappoint others, but I’ve opted for a realistic approach that any couple worth something will experience in their mid to late 20s.
Thank you for your continued support. You have no idea how much it means to me!
With the summer fast approaching, avid lovers of literature will be flocking to book distributors to stock up. Please take a moment to view my growing library on Lulu.com and other distributors. Especially be on the lookout for my new novel Skin Like Dawn, coming out in mid-August.
I sincerely appreciate everyone’s support and I cannot wait to share more with you all!
“Her mother loved him – this had become apparent to him. Through the thick, arbitrary levels of her bitter derision laid a softer woman, much like Natalie,who, at all costs, resisted every attempt at exhibiting affection toward men.”
Simply put, I love this story. I started it not too long after I graduated from college in 2008. I was lost, I was in love, and I was fighting for independence. So, marks Loren Soto’s origins. At face value, she’s a scorned bitch who’s having difficulty getting over the fact that her first love is in love with her childhood friend. Hell, at the very beginning of the novel she’s watching them get married. Yes, it’s a love story: but it’s one with some bite to it. While Loren and Nicholas’ decade-long love affair comes to an end, she must decide if she can start anew with a fresh-face musician who’s just returned to town from an inexplicable hiatus.
Without say too much, I encourage you all to read it at your leisure and absorb it.
Loren is a smart, witty girl and gravely misunderstood. Her sexuality, her cursing and her drinking make for an interesting heroine.
I had someone come up to me while visiting friends in Maryland this weekend and say, “I knew you wrote, but I didn’t know you were an actual writer”. That was unbelievably flattering. For the past year and a half, I have been patiently building a small empire of sorts. I want to be a writer, I know where my future lies, I know what I want. To hear someone say that they’ve read something I wrote and actually enjoyed it is music to my ears.
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Blame it on the lovely weather we’re having in North Carolina, my positive outlook on life, or all of the inspiration that surrounds me on a daily basis.
And I have something else very exciting to share with you all! I’ve been developing this since the summertime, when I took a graduate poetry class at North Carolina State University (my alma mater). I’ve been developing an entirely new way of looking at my writing, and I’ve investigated ways in which I could incorporate a new angle: magic realism and surrealism. I’ve studied Chilean writers like Neruda and Allende for many years and wondered how their brains worked, how they cultivated these visions into words.
And do you remember that grungy rock band, Nirvana? While Kurt Cobain admittedly creeped me out as a kid in the ’90s, I was always drawn to the song, “Where Did You Sleep Last?”. The macabre tonality of it mixed with Cobain’s eerie, I-see-a-bright-tunnel-of-light-ahead-of-me voice, immediately made me think of decay, heat and death. I did a little research to discover that it was actually a remake of a 1917 recording called “In the Pines” sung by a black musician named Lead Belly. Being the history buff and research enthusiast that I am, I dug a little deeper to discover that the song dates back to the 1870s, believed to be of Southern Appalachian origin.
Without further delay, I’m introducing yet another short story for my growing repertoire, appropriately entitled “Specter”. Without giving too much away, imagine an failed writer suffering from delusions and heartbreak, a old plantation reformed into a hotel, and a pretty, young stranger who doesn’t remember who she is.
Aren’t sufficiently creeped out yet? Check out these lyrics, and the accompanying music provided below.
I can’t wait to share this with you guys! :)
“Black girl, black girl, don’t lie to me
Where did you stay last night?
I stayed in the pines where the sun never shines
And shivered when the cold wind blows”
It’s National Novel Writing Month, and every author (independent and traditional) is fighting for the spotlight. Why should you care to read anything written by little ole me?
Everything I’ve written has a song associated with it. I have a large music library. I’m very passionate about music. I cannot write without it. I listen to a song, envision the scene in my head and write it from there.
Interracial dynamics fascinate me. The casts in my stories will never all be one race. I, myself, thrive in an eclectic, racially diverse environment. This is 2012; the reality is, whites will date blacks, have sex with them, marry them, have kids by them. The state of California is creating a whole new race by itself. America exists in a shade of gray.
My sauciest, most intense scenes come from drinking wine. I think that one pretty much speaks for itself.
My heroines are bitches. But they are bitches who have the capacity to love and be loved. All too often I’ve read heroines or other leading women, who submit to their men no matter how controlling or crazy they are. Nope. Absolutely not. My women will never submit to a man so easily. The book would be over very quickly, no?
I hope everyone is enjoying their November so far!
It’s officially National Novel Writing Month, and I’m working hard.
I started writing this in June after meticulously creating an outline, which I have since deviated from. Since then, I have written more than 100 pages of frantic, soul-biting prose, that will turn Brandon and Natalie into monsters.
Well, it’s not as dramatic as that, but you get the picture.
Brandon and Natalie will both turn into the types of people they used to judge once upon a time. And at this point in the writing process, I’m not really sure if I want them to go back.
I’ve also introduced a couple of new characters: one opinionated lesbian, and a spoiled rotten heir with a genius IQ. One of which will affect Natalie and her sense of self-control for the rest of her life.
A lot of this couldn’t have happened without the help of my closest friends who’ve listened to every single one of my ideas, and we’ve been brainstorming like crazy. This entire venture wouldn’t be possible without them.
While Skin Like Dawn highlights the endurance of Brandon and Natalie’s love now that they are married, I will essentially present it as a tragedy of sorts. With that type of love ushers a particular kind of exposure and pain. And although this is a sequel, it is intended to stand on its own.
This has been a 5-year endeavor, I am elated that it is finally taking shape.
In the event that you need to catch up before this book comes out, you can read its predecessor When You Come to Me for free!
Interested in learning more about National Novel Writing Month? Go Here!
As you can tell I’m pretty happy about it! I cannot describe how incredible it feels to see such a small project balloon into something that several people have enjoyed. I definitely love the direction I went in with this particular story, and I intend on writing things like this in the near future.
For a limited time, I am offering this story for free. Please share it with your friends and fellow book lovers!
Here’s the thing: I’ve been working on the project for years. And each year that I didn’t put my heart and soul into it, I pissed my friends off even more.
Do you remember this novel called, When You Come to Me? Read it yet? If not, stop reading this post now because I feel some spoilers coming on…
The novel itself is marked by major events between the couple that fall on Brandon’s birthday (August 15th) each year. In the final chapter, Brandon is celebrating his 28th birthday, a year after he and Natalie tied the knot. They had a rocky first year of marriage, and are finally adjusting to their new life together once his birthday arrives. They’ve both realized over some time what caused their emotional disparity and have each decided what needs to be fixed without telling the other: Brandon impulsively quits his job while Natalie drops out of medical school. And there’s another kicker: Natalie is pregnant.
See where the cliffhanger lies?
I started writing the sequel at the age of 21, but I didn’t like it. It seemed juvenile. And who could blame me? At that point, I’d never been in a serious relationship nor was I married with a baby on the way. How could I know what it felt like to deal with such a thing? The desolate, fragile nature of Brandon and Natalie’s relationship at the end of the first book deserved quite a bit of evocative language in the sequel, which is something that I had no clue of in my early twenties.
Now that I’m a little older and have experienced quite a bit of romantic pain in the past few months, I’m approaching this new sequel with a fresh mind.
So I present to you Skin Like Dawn in its early stages, based off of the poem “Passing Time” by Maya Angelou
Your skin like dawn Mine like musk
One paints the beginning of a certain end.
The other, the end of a sure beginning.
The book highlights a much bigger chapter in Brandon and Natalie’s remarkable story, and those close to me who have read the outline of Skin cannot believe where the story is going to go. I can’t either – but it’s a realistic depiction of two young people fighting for love.
I’m excited about this one; because my own maturation needed to happen before Brandon and Natalie’s did.
Well this time last year, I was still reeling from the high of publishing my first novel, When You Come to Me, which, since it’s release last year has sold somewhere over 2,000, perpetuating my legitimacy as an author.
The reality of how far I’ve come in a year’s time still hasn’t settled in, so while I’m still riding on Cloud Nine, I’ll milk the experience for all it’s worth in the interim.
I’ve been working on a number of projects this summer, and reading excessively, getting myself geared up for a pretty exciting Fall season.
Earlier this year, I started writing a novella entitled The Trail’s End, which I initially intended to release on my birthday (October 1st), but got a pretty great surprise in June: I was invited to Whidbey Island, Washington, for a week-long Master Class and creative writing residency. I will be working on the novella at length, getting advice from the experts, while enjoying an amazing view of Mount Rainier.
Go ahead and click that thumbnail :)
And if you haven’t read it yet, When You Come to Me ends with a cliffhanger that have angered a few of the readers because they’ve become so attached to Brandon and Natalie’s story. So, I’ve started work on the sequel of which is called “Skin Like Dawn”, which chronicles their story after the honeymoon phase is over. I’ve already shared the outline of this story with a couple of my closest friends and they love it so far. While it doesn’t have a release date yet, I’m hoping to put it out there early next year!
My main focus in the meantime is making sure “The Trail’s End” is perfect and ready for release at the end of this year — just in time for the holidays!
I sincerely thank everyone for joining me on this journey. I can only get better from here!
Loren Soto meets Nicholas Grey at the age of fourteen on sleepy Kiawah Island – and ever since she can’t seem to shake him no matter how hard she tries. They grow together, developing a love affair torrid enough to send a mountain crumbling to the ground. And just as everything appears to be set in place, Nicholas interrupts the course and marries Loren’s oldest friend and Charleston’s princess, Sadie Vansant instead. Disillusioned and angry, Loren then occupies her time with Oliver Russo, a Vansant childhood friend who mysteriously returns home just in time for the wedding. Loren then begins to notice that there may be more to Oliver and Sadie’s friendship than they let on, and subtle truths and revelations inevitably lead toward an unveiling of secrets that no one, least of all, Loren, is prepared for.
Throughout the novel, I combined a little bit of what I loved best in life: music, art and love. Without these three things, I don’t think life would be nearly as worth it.
In this excerpt I pulled inspiration from the classical Arabic tale: Layla and Majnun and listened to Nayanna Holley’s On Love and Fear extensively.
The concept of star-crossed lovers driven to a semblance of madness by their feelings and the inevitably of their proximity to each other has always fascinated me.
WHEN TRUE LOVE COMES IN THE FORM OF A FLYING BEER BOTTLE.
When Brandon Greene, an oatmeal-skinned junior from upstate New York, drunkenly hurls a beer bottle at an unsuspecting, brown-skinned Natalie Chandler, both their worlds are changed indefinitely.
Brandon makes his intentions clear from the beginning: he is hopelessly in love with his girlfriend, Sophia, but does not want to marry her. He does, however, want to be friends with Natalie.
Neither Brandon nor her curiosities about him make sense to her at all, and her complacency begins to tumble, as she and Brandon grow closer. She’s thrust into a love triangle that she wants no part of and suddenly, a streamlined future to success in the medical field is the last thing on her mind — all she sees now is a shade of gray. Brandon and Natalie have a powerful dynamic; but can it stand the weight that time, spatial disparity and color have placed on them? When You Come to Me is a sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic take on the loss of innocence in its most colorful form.
I am exceptionally fond of this story. I’ve written countless pieces, and each have meant something to me. But there will always be something about the characters in this novel that will always touch me.
Brandon and Natalie are quite normal in the grand scheme of things: they’re both young and attractive, they both come from large, tight-knit families, they’re both strong-minded and intelligent.
But what sets them apart?
Of course there’s the obvious: one is white and one is black. One comes from the North and one comes from the South.
But what else?
I’ve read my fair share of love stories and have even experienced love in a realistic form. But the thing that makes Brandon Greene and Natalie Chandler so different is that their dynamic felt real.
The most common feedback I’ve gotten from readers is that Brandon and Natalie, despite their obvious flaws, never lost sight of each other. Their believable, tangible chemistry had everyone rooting for them in the end.
I ultimately wanted their relationship to be successful, but I wanted it to be as realistic as possible.
It was never about the destination per se, but more so about their journey.
Natalie had to grow, had to learn how to love a man, had to adapt to change better. Brandon needed to be more patient and understanding of her needs, Brandon needed to find himself altogether.
In the novel, their love stretches a span of 8 years. And while some have complained that the story was “too long”, I wanted it to be that way. I wanted the readers to become a part of their lives, empathize with them, become them.
With that, I present to you a free, updated version of When You Come to Me.
With this one, I constantly emphasized the fact that this is two years in the making.
This is no exaggeration.
I watched a movie about dueling women, both beautiful, both physically attractive, one inferior to the other. The inferior woman felt it necessary to finally steal the one thing that the more “powerful” woman could never get: the first night with the man they both admired.
Of course this film took place in ancient India and a lot of what goes on between women when it comes to one man is not nearly as stealthy or classy.
So, I was driving around one hot summer night, and the idea came to me piece by piece: wedding. Two sisters. One man. An intelligible brawl. A mysterious family.
Of course it all sounds like a tawdry soap opera at first glance, so I added another element: I wanted it to be told from the perspective of a young, innocent boy…who’s voluntarily mute.
It started coming together in a frame narrative, but I never could get the ending right.
It was even selected for presentation at a Creative Writing Workshop in California – but I didn’t go. I was afraid.
So here I am, two years later, with a preview and links to where you can purchase the whole thing.
I’d loved it since day one – my hope today is that you will too.
I know that it’s chilly where you are, and you’re looking for a nice book to snuggle up with.
Sound about right? I figured.
I’ve received a couple of messages on my Facebook page, asking me when my next book The Great Trees Fallwill be released, and if it will be released sooner than March 9th (yes, that March 9th in 2015). I would love to say that the book was ready for release now, but it isn’t, and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience as I finalize this project. Believe or not, March will be here in the blink of an eye.
Think about it this way: the holidays are here and the end of the year is right around the corner.
With that being said, I want to thank each and every one of you who’ve reached out to me expressing your anticipation for the next book. I’m just as excited as you are!
March 9, 2015, is still the release date for the book, and I don’t expect it to change.
In the meantime, I’ll be sure to post another snippet, and if you have any questions or concerns, please, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll try to get to your inquiry as soon as humanly possible.
While I’m well underway, working on my new project and the final book in the When You Come to Me series, the folks over at 10914 Reviews, were gracious enough to interview me about my first book, When You Come to Me. Remember that one? I know it’s been awhile.
At any rate, check it out, share it, and share your thoughts.
As most of you know already, my latest project The Great Trees Fall did not come out on September 10th. If you don’t know why, here’s my reasoning.
With that being said, however, many of you have been waiting ever-so-patiently for a new release date. I’ve promised you so many times. I’ve even posted a couple of snippets to tease you.
While the date you see above seems ridiculously far out, and inconceivable, it suits me just fine. This book is being dedicated to the 4 most important women in my life: my mama, my maternal grandmother (you remember Natalie’s grandma Marie Chandler…welp!), my baby sister, and my late aunt (who actually passed away on March 9, 2013). This final book in the When You Come to Me series is more than concluding Brandon and Natalie’s tale. It’s about the bounty of tough choices women have to make throughout their lives: whether it be our careers, our men, and something as difficult as when we should opt to use our hearts over our good sense. It’s about self-discovery and finding peace after difficult chapters in our lives, and where we should seek comfort, and how we solidify our strength.
The date not only commemorates my late aunt, but her literary influence on my life, as well as the other women who give me strength and life daily.
Have no fear, readers. This date is staying, no matter what my life brings!
I thank each of you for sticking with me, and sharing your own stories with me.