Monthly Archives: April 2014

Have You Heard About Rave Reviews Book Club?

Hello, Wonderful People of cyber world!!


As most of you know, I am a member of the uber-supportive RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and when I say uber-supportive, I mean UBER-SUPPORTIVE!! This group is phenomenal! Not only do I have the chance to connect with some very talented authors, BUT they also offer some awesome perks…like a chance at being the Club’s Book of the Month OR a “SPOTLIGHT” Author ORa #PUSHTUESDAY Winner. The best part is, it’s totally FREE TO JOIN!! I know you must be curious, so here’s the website: advantage of this wonderful information and JOIN today!! It will be the best decision you’ve ever made!!



Because I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club, I am posting something very special and very exciting that we are about to embark on. We are conducting a Raffle-copter giveaway! Just another reason RRBC rocks!!



World Book & Copyright Day is April 23 this year. Are you familiar with this holiday? No? Well, let me tell you about it……


WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY is such a symbolic date for world literature, celebrating books and their authors. Formalized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), this day pays a world-wide tribute to the art of writing, by encouraging everyone to discover the joys of reading. UNESCO created this day to not only promote reading and publishing, but also to make authors aware of their protection under copyright law.



So what is RRBC offering? An “ALL THE RAVE” GIVEAWAY…CELEBRATING WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY. How exciting is that?!?



Thanks to the awesome members of Rave Reviews Book Club, we have compiled some amazing gift packages of BOOKS, both in Kindle and Nook formats. There are a number of ways to gain entries and many chances to win!! All you have to do is visit our website, the WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT tab and utilize the Raffle-copter to enter. The best part? This is open to EVERYONE, members and non-members!!!


The giveaway will run from Wednesday, April 23through Saturday, April 26. The winners will be announced on Sunday, May 4 in the Rave Reviews Online Newsletter.


So, what are you waiting for??? Rush over to the RRBC Website




One last note…to really THANK those that have helped make our celebration of World Book & Copyright Day a success, the Governing Board of RRBC would like to thank those members that have so graciously donated to this special giveaway:


Alex Jones, Atoyia Pencil, Beem Weeks, Bette A. Stevens, Bruce A. Borders, Christopher Pepper, Clarissa Simmens, Dale Furse, David A. Kimmel, Doris Dancy, Garrett Addison, Jacob Quarterman, Jane Yates, Julia Barrett, Karen Ingalls, Kasper Beaumont, Kathryn Treat, Kish Knight, Leisl Kaberry, Lorraine Pestell, Michelle Abbott, Michelle Weidenbenner, Nicholas Rossis, Peter Muller, Rebecca Nolen, Rea Nolan Martin, Rhani D’Chae, Roderick Davidson, Sahara Foley, Sara Furlong Burr, Seve Verdad, Shelley Young, Shirley Slaughter, Stevie Turner, and V.C. Arran.




Rave Reviews Book Club Information:


RRBC Website


Facebook Page


Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlights Janice G. Ross

It is my pleasure and honor to host another incredible Rave Reviews Spotlight Author. Introducing the  amazing and talented Janice G. Ross.

My Personal Story


In Front of the Tree

(Creative Nonfiction)


I decided to sneak out of the house without my umbrella. Mommy and Daddy were out to work. Granny said I should try to protect my young bones because they will get old someday – but I didn’t care. For too many months, I was protected. As she issued maternal warnings, her forehead and eye corners creased up, displaying her cosmic existence through well-defined facial lines. Instead of recognizing the wisdom of her years, I gathered my 80s style coat and silently escaped without a glimpse from her watchful eyes. The itchy fur from my hot pink, faux fur coat was too much for my mini, 6-year old body. Every time I slid into the Eskimo gear, I felt as if someone had locked me up in a padded room. This day in particular did not require such a plush coat.

After months of winter’s somber waltz, the dance was coming to an end. The weather was turning and seemed to be on the outskirts of redemption. Winter was being dismissed and spring was preparing to serenade me. Even though the rain was ever present these days, I didn’t care; there was a touch of rejuvenation in the forecast. The rain had temporarily paused, while the clouds were lightened and without swirls. I inhaled the damp air, in full force. I wondered if I loosened up, would I be able to someday blow like the leaves on trees. At the moment, the branches were skeletons. But when dressed, the trees jittered and swung – with movements mimicking the high-pitched whistle of the wind. In early spring, the arms of the trees would become filled with cone-like treats, in shades of pastel. I enjoyed their conflicting appeal: naked and dull in the cool air, yet fully clothed and alive in the roasting sun.

As I headed to school with Mike, my well-adored older sibling, I was set on practicing my new saunter. About a week prior, while watching a black and white movie, I noticed a glamorous lady walking with a book on her head. Her form was perfectly in line with the black evening dress that embraced her curvy figure, while she floated on the screen like a silk scarf. I made up my mind to be just as graceful, if not better than her. Only problem was that I had to sway rather than walk, every day. My daily exercises might seem excessive, but I felt like a lady in training. I knew Mike was fed up, but I’m his little sister and felt he needed to be patient with me.

“Jay, will you pick up the pace? You better not make me late,” he scolded.

“My feet are much shorter than yours. Go ahead, I’ll catch up,” I sweetly reasoned. As I stood at the edge of the corner, a rainbow-colored puddle caught my attention. It looked like gasoline might’ve leaked into the liquid, so I stooped down to take a sniff. “What are you doing? Get away from that dirty water.” Mike’s full brown eyes were becoming thin with grief. Although a year older, he was at least a full foot taller and carried himself with urgency. I raise my head to examine his dark, neatly chiseled face and wonder why girls went crazy over him. To me, he was my older brother, he was just Mike.

“Girl, you better stop daydreaming.”

He clutched my puny left arm and led me in the direction of Heywood Avenue Elementary School. We headed west on Lincoln Avenue and were about a block from Tremont Avenue. The only cars we saw earlier were the ones lazily parked on the streets. Maybe we were early and everyone else late – or perhaps we were late and everyone else early.

As we approached our midpoint mark, Tremont came alive with cars that revived the morning. Across the street was an old, dark brown building that housed the Orange police station. Back on our side of the block, to the left stood a plump and homely, green and white house. The huge emerald shutters flapped like eyelashes, but I was not scared. Instead, my expectation was for the house to reveal a burley grandmother on the porch, ready to offer early morning biscuits – the kind of fresh treats that warm every inch of your body with love. The only problem was that the image never manifested.

I shifted my attention from the house to the large tree that sat smugly, a couple feet back from the curb, to guard the intersecting corners of Tremont and Lincoln Avenue – in Orange, New Jersey. Although its eternal home was presently shared with the green and white house, the tree ruled the yard, the corner, the block and the city. From every angle, the tree maintained a vast perpendicular presence. Subtract the relative home, the police station, and all other non- living objects in the vicinity; but leave only the tree – the character of the location would still maintain its status in American history. On the other hand, leave all else and instead remove this root of the community; there would be a decaying hole at the very center of Orange. And the scent would be of a destroyed planet, just enough of a memory combined with the uncertainty of the future.

The posture of my wooden friend always reminded me of a security guard’s firm and ever-still stance. Maybe it was a thousand years old because it looked solid. The deep ribs that extended from mid-section to the screaming branches reminded me of an elderly person. The body of this aged tree held countless tales. For every naturally carved marking, I imagined a history of this world’s journey through a youthful and rebellious past; artfully recorded into the once smooth trunk of the tree. Both joyous and solemn tales were etched into the DNA, for all to marvel on. Experience and knowledge had burdened down this tree; however, it was still dedicated to the purpose of area guardian and historian.

I was jolted out of my thoughts by the screeching of tires. “Jay, get back,” I heard my brother’s voice quiver, as he pointed in the direction of the sound that dared to interrupt the peaceful setting. While the cantankerous downpour had completely ended long before; vision still resembled that of a transparent shower curtain. I couldn’t respond. My thoughts were carried from the dark earth creature to the right of me to the sloped hill that disappeared up Tremont. There was a huge commotion that instantly slipped in and became the nucleus of all focus. I saw red and green metal objects spinning around like the red ants I use to feed hot pepper. My brain could not immediately process the unexpected incident. There were objects slowly progressing in our direction. Someone apparently put reality into slow motion.

The once fuzzy air had become completely clear to my youthful eyes, only to deprive me once again. My natural lights were diminishing. Within moments, I saw faded visions of large forms colliding in the intersection, but could not hear a single boom nor yell any longer. The actual cars did not register as tangible items, but rather as figments in my waking dreams. I attempted to utter letters, with the desire of forming legitimate cries, but the inward yearning would not materialize to outward expressions. My corpse chose not to cooperate with my brains, and instead remained frozen. I wanted someone or something to stimulate my young muscles because I was unable to shuffle, by even the slightest degree. I morphed into a tree, much similar to the one resting a short distance away.

Am I alive? The very thought induced an internal panic attack. I was to be 7 in September – would I not celebrate another childhood milestone? My entire body seized up on me and life seemed to be gradually exiting. My tongue was moist, tingly, and heavy; I could not swallow.

From the lower parts of my body, the numbing extended to my finger tips and chest. My head swayed and I no longer saw the commotion around me. No red or green cars. No pink fur coat. No brown police station, nor green and white house. No seductive trees to steal my interest. Weather was neither cool, nor warm. Daylight hid its fresh glow from my curious gaze. Color disappeared from the scene and black took over.

I was uncertain of timing and solely existed in the spirit, without a connection to my human form. Thoughts dare not disturb my peaceful relaxation. No deadly pain interrupted my rest. I was totally out of touch with the objects and individuals of earth, but steadily in touch with a heavenly world. The length of time was immeasurable.

The sun burst through my closed lids and forced me back to life. I was not dead! As I strained to open one eyelid at a time against the glimmering light, there seemed to be at least 10 shadows of people standing over me. Momentarily, I was dazed; then I recognized a familiar face, Roger – the cutest guy in my class. He was moving his lips but my ears did not cooperate. My lips did not oblige; the numb feeling was still present but fading. My mouth was arid from the lack of proper circulation during the lost moments.

I felt a coarse object cradling my small frame. Successful at my efforts to turn, I was surprised to see my former role model as my bed. Thick, dark gray roots traveled from far below the paved blacktop to well above my limited height. As my senses returned, I heard the typical bellowing of an ambulance. The stench of burned rubber faded in and out as paramedic, policemen and bystanders tried to help accident victims.

A long white arm found my small frame, as a voice asked, “Are you okay? You got hit.” “Jay, are you okay,” my brother echoed as he reached around the uniformed policeman that helped me up.

The scene was contrary to what seemed like moments ago. Lincoln and Tremont were filled with curious faces. The mighty sun had overturned the unfair ruling and the rain seemed permanently locked up. Unlike the start of dawn, everyone eagerly welcomed the day and marveled at the miraculous events that took place an instant before. Words fought each other in the air.

“The little girl got hit.” “All three cars pinned her on that tree.” “She was thrown through the air.” “Is she alright?” “I can’t believe she survived.” “It’s a miracle.”

“The red car flew out of nowhere.” “No way, the green car jumped the light” “Let the medic get the lady. She looks smashed up.” “Little girl, are you okay? Can you walk?” The arms helped me up. The moment I began to place pressure on my right leg, the tenderness of a dislocated knee shot my efforts. I shrieked. My thoughts drifted from my painful leg and followed my eyes to Mike. Wet streaks were slightly visible on his cheeks. He stood still, no longer displaying a fixation on school. Instead he comforted me with, “Its okay, Jay” and “You scared me.” Most importantly, he assured me that he was right next to me and was not going anywhere. “Alright, let’s get you in the ambulance,” the policeman ordered, then quickly carried me to the bellowing emergency vehicle.

My companion for the trip was one of the driver’s from the accident, a pale complexioned woman with deep brown spiraled curls and cherry red lipstick. She was laid out on a stretcher. Her eyes were both bold and scared, but she found the courage to dispel my fears with – “You’ll be ok!” I was a pedestrian but the only victim not requiring a cot. Although the cars never touched Mike, he was allowed to ride in the ambulance with me. As the vehicle climbed Tremont’s slope, my eyes were fixed on the tree that protected me throughout the ordeal. Time and inhabitants were born and expired, yet this wooden warden continued to survive as a silent witness to the events that have occurred at the corner of Tremont and Lincoln Avenue.

Janice G. Ross © 2010




Janice Ross was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. Although her citizenship certificate now reads the United States of America, she considers herself a citizen of the world. Sure she has not physically been around the world and back, but she’s travelled in her mind and dreams.

Janice is an author. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Janice’s debut release was entitled Damaged Girls. She uses the three books in that series to detail the effects of different forms of abuse, discussing issues that are known to be taboo. Her next release, Jumping Ship, is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series – due out in 2014. It’s poised to be a colorful and emotional experience of life, love and family. As of present, she is also a contributor to a short story collection – Just Between Us, Inspiring Stories by Women. And lastly, Loving Nate is a novella about the realities of losing one’s self to love.

Janice enjoys reading. And is drawn to stories with distinct characters that she can love or hate, characters she can form alliances with or characters that she can swear off and despise. She is also weak for a good cultural tale, preferably in the form of historical fiction. Janice loves to be taken off guard by clever language and settings.

Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.



You can connect with Janice on


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HEY! It’s the Nonnie Jules Blog Tour!

Here we are on the third day of my 15 day “HAPPY BIRTHDAY:  ARE YOU WATCHING NONNIE WRITE?” Blog Tour and today I’m with one of my uber-supportive fellow board members, Beem Weeks.  Beem and I share a common passion.  Most of you know him as @voiceofindie on Twitter.  I know him as my very supportive and loyal friend.  Support, is what we both stand for and strongly believe in.


This month marks the one year anniversary of my burst onto the social media scene and during that time, I have published three REALLY GOOD books, and have learned so very much about the industry.  Although I’ve been a writer for most of my life (actually, I was born one), I only just became a published author in 2013.  Some might say “In that short amount of time, what does she know?” Well, I’m here to tell you that “SHE” has learned a lot!  “SHE” has taken the time to hone her skills in the writing department as well as her knowledge.  “SHE” has taken the bull by the horn and run full speed ahead in building her author platform and establishing herself in the writing industry.  “SHE” is making her name KNOWN.

On each stop of my tour, I share with you tips on writing, publishing and support, all topics equally important to the writing industry.  I hope that what I am imparting, you will take, mull over, and then act on in the best interest of YOU.


With that being said, here is…


In the days of old, you would never have had such open access to authors.  Wanting to speak with them, see them, interact with them, was an evil none dared expect, yet many were hopeful about.  Having their contact information such as a direct mailing address, was just unheard of.  There were publicists, managers and agents that you had to go thru just to request an interview or a speaking engagement.  And most of the time, your requests never even reached their waters.

Today, we Indie Authors are a different breed.  Readers worldwide have all the means necessary to reach out to us and to interact with us directly.  Email, voicemail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…all avenues open to the general public.  So, with that visibility and accessibility, why do so many authors keep their readers in the dark?  Any opportunity that you have with a reader is a new opportunity for you to turn them into your very own loyal fan for life…you know the ones I’m speaking of, don’t you?  They’re the ones who buy your books MERELY because you wrote them!

Here are just a few ways that you can become your very own version of MOTEL 6:

1)       Make selling your books to new readers the start of a lifelong relationship.  Don’t just take someone’s money and run, engage and allow yourself to be engaged.

2)      Encourage readers to contact you and regard this as an opportunity to serve them, to help attract new readers through word of mouth, and to publicize everything you can offer them…in this regards, many great reads.

3)      On social media, take the time to reach out to your followers ever so often and try to respond to everyone who has reached out to you directly with a question, tid bit or even just a morning Hello.

4)      Welcome the chance to say THANK YOU and always reward those who so generously help you.

I know authors who act as if they are on top of the world, and in their minds, almost untouchable.  But here’s the deal, when your ego is that big, the pop when it explodes makes a noise so loud that if you weren’t standing alone before it happened, you will surely be standing alone afterwards.  I don’t want you to have to stand alone.  My wish is for you to be successful beyond measure and surrounded by adoring readers and fans…always.  But for this to happen, you must make yourself accessible to those who can make you successful.  It is a must that you stand out,  because as we say in the South,  Authors are as common as churches and liquor stores…there’s always one on the very next corner.  That means, that if you’re not open or if you don’t deliver, the products or services can be readily found elsewhere and very close by.

My tip, leave the light on for your readers.  That light is your WELCOME mat and in its steady flashing, there should always be a tiny whisper that says, “Come on in, I’m here for you and I’ve got just what you want to read.”   Be your own kind of MOTEL 6, because we know that no matter how far or how late you’re travelling, somewhere, they’ve left the light on for you and are anticipating your arrival.

Thanks, Beem to you and to all your wonderful FANS!  I know you have lots of them!




 NONNIE Jules grew up loving books and everything about them.  She has traveled the world, jumped out of planes and climbed many mountains, all thanks to the wonderful world of literature.  She lives with her husband and two daughters on a very quiet strip of land in Louisiana, where red dirt roads and pick-up trucks go hand in hand.  She is the Author of three great reads at present:  “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love!; “Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend” (a novel);  and “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!” Nonnie is also Founder and President of the widely-known and highly successful, Rave Reviews Book Club, as well as being a sought-after book reviewer with a strong “eye” for perfection.

She continues to write from many different genres and hopes to teach and touch minds and hearts alike with her very unique style of writing.  She loves positive feedback on her writing and personally responds to each and every email.  Nonnie can be reached at, on Twitter @nonniejules, and do follow her blogs WATCH NONNIE WRITE! {}  and ASK THE GOOD MOMMY {}.

Nonnie’s  feet are firmly planted in her two most important platforms:  Parenting & Support, where she continually invites the masses to join her.




“THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love!

“Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend”




Introducing Angelia Vernon Menchan


It is my great pleasure to share in the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author Program. This week the spotlight shines on indie author Angelia Vernon Menchan.

Author Photo




Soul Ties: Be Careful Who You Bed!

Fletcher Mitchell stared out the window and was unable to accept that his wife, the woman he loved and married was getting out of the car with another man. Unable to move or react, he watched the guy walk around and open the door for her. Offering his hand, she took it and got out. He opened the gate for her but wasn’t stupid enough to walk inside. He held his breath, praying she wouldn’t be dumb enough to allow him to kiss her in front of their home, but he wasn’t sure because if she were bold enough to allow him to bring her home when her husband and children were inside, she might. It took everything in him not to go outside and confront them but his sons were inside. Thankfully, she simply flicked her fingers and strode up the sidewalk with the guy watching her until she got inside.

Denisha jumped out of her skin when Fletcher stood up, turning on the light. The shock on her face quickly changed to a mocking look. The one she always got when she knew she was wrong and no longer cared. He knew she had not cared for a long time and tonight was the final proof. There was so much he wanted to say but he refused to utter a word. Making his way to the room where his twin sons slept, he sat in the recliner next to their beds. The words his mother had uttered two years earlier pounded in his head, “Son, be careful who you tie your soul to, everything that is good to you is not good for you and ripe fruit soon spoils.”

Pain rocked through him because that is exactly what had occurred. He had tied his soul to her, allowing her to mother his children and his life was filled with rotten fruit.

Soul Ties

Chapter One

Two Years Earlier…

Walking into the nightclub, Fletcher Mitchell could feel the pulsing music. He had decided to attend graduate school at USC and was enjoying the left coast. He was an east coast man in his blood but after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend he needed distance. Los Angeles was a long way from North Florida. After graduating from the University of North Florida he had worked for a few years at United Parcel Service because they had paid his tuition. The management training program was good but he wanted more. When USC accepted him and his company provided him with a transfer that paid more, he was all in. The company had found him a great roommate who was also a co-worker and fellow student, Rashad Ferguson.

He liked Rashad but Rashad was a ministerial student and a bit too preachy. He had heard enough about God and sin from his parents. His parents had become staunch Christians about ten years ago when he turned fifteen and for all of his high school years it had been God this and God that. Though he moved out at nineteen, they still always referenced God when he saw or spoke to them. He loved his parents dearly but he was tired of it, besides they seemed to have forgotten they weren’t always saved. Richard and Cynthia had once never set foot in a church. He found that hypocritical. Shaking those thoughts from his head, he started moving to the music. He had minored in music production and he knew he had some moves. He also knew that being six-two and muscular and slim the women were watching him. His smooth, dark brown skin and short fro didn’t’t hurt either.

Deneisha Young watched Fletcher from across the floor. She loved the sensual way he danced and wanted to know him. Other than the dark skin, he was her type. She had always been attracted to lighter skinned men like her dad, but there was something about Fletcher that held her attention. Starting her own dance she danced up close to him, with her eyes closed and hips swaying. Taking in her curvaceous body and pretty face, Fletcher touched her lightly, causing her eyes to open.

“Let’s show them how it’s done.”

Smiling, she followed him to the floor and they danced through four songs. Drenched with sweat, he took her hand leading her to the bar.

“What’s your poison?”

He asked in a deep, sexy voice. He wanted to kiss the mole beneath her eye.

“Tall, dark, handsome men who can dance.” Grinning down at her, he winked.

“To drink in a glass.” Her tittering laughter pierced him.

“In that case I will take a margarita. Tequila makes me crazy.”

Loving the sound of that, he ordered a margarita for her and Heineken for himself. He stared at her while they sipped. There was something hypnotic about her stance and her eyes.

“So what’s your name lady and what do you do?”

“I’m Deneisha Young but my friends call me Neisha.”

“Then Deneisha it is. I’m a business student and work for UPS as an IT manager.”

“I work as a paraprofessional at USC. I was in the military for three years, that’s how I ended up out here. My folks live in Alabama. My dad is a music producer.” His ears perked at her words.

“Really? That’s cool. I write music in my spare time, I also play a few instruments. What else do you do?”

“I’m a dancer!”

She started dancing as if moving up and down an imaginary pole.

“A stripper?”

He started humming the strains to ‘I’m in love with a stripper’ by T-Pain. She giggled again at his words and in tune humming.

“No, but for the right man, I am willing.”

For the remainder of the night they danced and flirted. He knew he could take her home but he wasn’t ready just yet. She wasn’t his usual type. Physically, she pretty much had it nailed but he really loved brainy women and she seemed pretty content to be a Para-pro.

Deniesha thought about Fletcher on the way home. Her friend Karen hadn’t been feeling him and was making her opinion known.

“I didn’t care for him. He had the arrogant, stuck up air about him. That boy from the middle class, slumming, with the hood chick’sthing.”

“Karen, how did you read all that into it. I spent three hours with the man and didn’t get all that.”

“I know the type. He is at USC and has all the bougie signs. I am sure he left some girl back home who he is in love with who will have his babies.”

Deneisha’s eyes met her friends and immediately she felt enraged. She got tired of being told she wasn’t good enough. She came from a good family, her mom being a paranoid schizophrenic, notwithstanding. She furiously rolled her eyes and continued staring out the window. She really wanted to slap Karen or spit in her face.

Deneisha was from a long line of volatile women who dealt with everything by hitting. Her mom had been hitting and cussing at her since she was a young child. However, she would be the first one in the church, dancing and praising and damning folks to hell. Her father on the other hand was a passive man; many would call him weak; he was from a hardworking, lower-middle class family who had married her mom because she had gotten pregnant at sixteen. Rena Young was also abusive to her husband. She had been raised to believe that a woman got all of a man’s money and hit first before she could be hit and that was how they lived. Fortunately, Ron was a naturally passive man who allowed Rena full reign. He loved her and would do anything to keep her, including allowing her to poison the minds of their three daughters of which Deneisha was the youngest.

Fletcher was the only child of middle class parents who had worked towards their own version of the American Dream. They had been born of parents who wanted more for each generation and they were no different. They had been married eighteen years and Fletcher fifteen when they had bought their first home. Before that, they had lived in nice apartments in good neighborhoods. His dad worked as a postal carrier who earned a good salary and his mother was a high ranking civil servant and had a side job as a sought after cupcake artist. Several years ago they had moved into a newer home in the country and were living out their blessings as their mother called it. She had often told him that God had taken care of them when they ignored him but now that they gave him praise and honor, their blessings overflowed. He had to agree with that because he had always thought they lived well, but it was nothing in comparison to how they were currently living. God or someone was blessing them.

Get your copy here:



This Is Rip ‘N Time


I started my Twitter account @voiceofindie with the idea of helping indie authors and their work reach potential readers. It quickly morphed into a platform that includes indie musicians, photographers, and artists. Basically, I’ll tweet links and retweets for just about anybody with a creative endeavor needing a little extra word-of-mouth promotion. Because that’s all Twitter really is: word of mouth.

Recently, an EP came into my possession. This recording contains three fantastic tracks from a metal band called Rip ’N Time. But this isn’t your average band with the standard formation story.

Rip ’N Time began as a class project at a West Los Angeles high school. The course, taught by seventh period instructor Gunther Parigaliy, is called Multimedia Studies. The students in this small class were encouraged to create separate projects that would come together as a single affair. What they’ve accomplished deserves an A+ and the opportunity to record a full-length album.


Rip ’N Time consists of Riley Ripintyme on lead and rhythm guitar, Langston LaBelle handling vocals and rhythm guitar, and the strong rhythm section of Vincent Tarrega and Akemi Lee on drums and bass respectively. They cite bands as diverse at The Beatles, Queen, and Smithereens as influences. Toss the Bangles and the Byrds into the mix and you’ll get a pretty good feel for this band’s sound.

The EP, entitled Playing Her Guitar Suite, is just a sample of Rip ’N Time’s potential. It’s a taste of dreamy guitars and rock-steady rhythms. I hear hints of eighties rock mingled with classic sounds reaching further back through the seventies and dipping into the sixties. These two girls and two guys bring it all together into a cohesive sound that takes listeners on a journey into a faraway land—perhaps even to another world.


“Playing Her Guitar” is the lead-off track, setting the mood with its haunting melody and layered textures. The guitar work here is stellar, playing loose and sassy against the lead vocals, calling to mind a conversation taking place somewhere in the ether.

The middle track, an instrumental called “Twisting Road,” marches in on a great 1980s vibe with a twist of the modern. It’s the longest of the three songs, clocking in at just over eight minutes—and still not long enough. This one is my favorite of the collection.

Another instrumental closes out the EP. Entitled “Suite Dream,” this song is big and thick with sound. The press release that arrived with the CD refers to this track as a guitarchestral symphony. I’d have to agree with that proclamation.

The instrumentation on this project is solid. Riley Ripintyme can hold her own as a guitarist. Her style draws me back to another great female axe slinger named Lita Ford. Girls can play. Period. Riley seems poised to carry the proverbial torch into the next generation of guitar heroes.

Akemi Lee on bass and Vincent Tarrega on drums provide the very foundation on which this band rests. Good rhythm sections often take years to jell. These two sound like seasoned professionals.

The art work for the EP incorporates a storyline into the music via a graphic novel included as liner notes with the CD. This is a wonderful example of the talent that flourishes within every aspect of this project.


If you’re a music fan, this is one you’ll want to check out. If you just enjoy the creative process, here’s a fantastic example of the finished product.

I would like to thank Emily G. Woodbind, the band’s publicist, for alerting me to Rip ’N Time’s existence. This is a very cool endeavor. I only wish my high school had offered such a class way back in those long-ago days of the 1980s.

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Connecting With Readers


As writers, most of us are thrilled to read reviews of our work posted on sites like Amazon and Koobug. Unsolicited, these words can spur sales of our books. They can also let us know where we lack in this craft we’ve chosen.

Then there are those messages that are of the personal nature, not intended for anybody but the author. I receive these every so often in the message box of my Goodreads account. These come from readers who were touched by something I’ve written or were reminded of some lost memory stirred back into their conscience by one of my short stories.

“Thanks for the message in your story,” they may write. “It brought back an event from my younger days—an event I’d long forgotten.” We never truly forget, though. It may slip from our thoughts but it’s always there, tucked away until the moment it’s challenged to reappear.

The thing is, I don’t set out to weave messages or lessons into my work. I write to entertain. But even so, messages appear. I believe these are out of our hands. Our egos tell us we are just creating. But there is somebody somewhere who has experienced what we’ve written.

I recently wrote a short story called Remaining Ruth, in which a teenaged girl cuts herself with a razor blade, in the privacy of her bathroom, just to have that one thing her parents can’t take away from her.

The messages were almost immediate: “I, too, was a cutter.” “I knew a girl just like Ruth.” “I didn’t cut myself but I did develop an eating disorder.”  “My sister did this for years.” This particular story touched a nerve with so many readers, though that wasn’t my intention.

My novel, Jazz Baby, has prompted many such comments as well. Talk centers around the race relations within the story; Emily’s sexuality; the struggles Emily faced to achieve her dreams; women’s rights issues. I was asked by one reader why I chose to not use the N-word in the story—after all, it is set in 1925 Mississippi and New Orleans. The truth of the matter is: that wasn’t a conscious decision. I hadn’t even really thought of it until the reader brought it up. I suppose there may have been a desire to avoid the stereotypical racist clichés. The very real racism of the deep south of early twentieth-century America is indeed present within the story; I just found more creative ways to express it without resorting to what’s been written a million times in a million other stories.

And somebody found a message in that unintentional deletion.

Not every message need be heavy, either. After I wrote an essay about a childhood incident entitled Bigfoot Was My Father, I received many wonderful stories from readers wanting to share some silly moment their own fathers provided. I am honored and humbled that so many people consider me worthy of their memories.

As authors, we create worlds and characters that wouldn’t exist without us. It’s what we do. We convince ourselves of a story’s originality, of its uniqueness. But there will always be somebody somewhere who will be reminded of a long lost moment in time. It may not be spelled out in exact detail, but it’s there. It may be the metaphor you used to describe the loss of a loved one or the silly joke your main character’s love interest tells while trying to woo the girl. It will remind somebody of something. And that’s a blessing. It means you’ve written a piece in which others find a connection. It means your story matters to another human being.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says: There is nothing new under the sun; that which has been will happen again.

I believe that. We just tell it in our own personal way.