Greetings and welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at The Indie Spot! Location: Lansing, Michigan, USA.
Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today:
** PRIZES HAVE ALREADY BEEN AWARDED**
I invite you to check out my books and the book trailers that go with each title. I’ve included an excerpt of Jazz Baby and a short blurb for each book to help you become better acquainted with the stories!
Jazz Baby Chapter Four Excerpt
722 Dauphine Street promised little in the way of excitement—from outward appearances. What once had been a Digby’s Department Store now went by the somewhat famous Crescent Club.
Revelers of every color, size, and persuasion lined the sidewalk out front, passing around flasks of bootleg hooch, eager for the doors to swing open so nighttime could finally begin.
Nobody paid us any mind as Tanyon and I split the crowd on our way down a side alley leading to the rear entrance.
Tanyon laid a coded knock against the heavy red door.
A fella’s chubby face filled the small peephole.
“I have Miss Teegarten with me,” said Tanyon to the man.
That door swung wide; entrance was granted.
Dozens of round tables lay scattered willy-nilly throughout the cavernous main room. A wide stage rose five feet above the floor. Four colored boys worked up a number I could sing in my sleep.
I said, “I’m ready,” drinking in a dream fixin’ to come true.
That chubby fella let go a laugh. “How’s about we open for business before you get started, huh?”
Waitresses lit candles and set ashtrays on each of those tables.
Tanyon snatched the one closest to the stage, and ordered a pint of bourbon from a dark-haired girl dressed out like a flapper.
“Tell me something,” I began to say.
’Cept Tanyon, he had an answer all lined up. “Your mama was not a whore—if that’s what you’re meaning to know.”
Fine enough by me.
Even if I really didn’t believe him.
Frank Rydekker himself brought Tanyon’s pint to our table. “So this is the little songbird,” said the short, stocky man, pulling me into a splash of orange glowing off a candle. “Can you sing any of these songs?”
My eyes tumbled down the list he presented. “I can sing ’em all,” I gladly admitted.
Rydekker nodded toward a big fella up near the bar and hollered, “Let ’em in, Bill!”
“Don’t be scared, Baby,” Tanyon said, handing me a go at that pint.
I raised the hooch to my lips, had a good pull. “Don’t call me Baby anymore.”
* * *
Cool blue dripped onto the stage from lights burning high above.
My body stood in its gathering puddle.
A boy on drums got us going with a slow shuffle that took up with the bass like a couple of long-time lovers knowing each other’s next move before it’s even been considered. Sullum Cass kissed his shiny saxophone with the breath of something painful and delicious, tossing delicate notes into the smoky air. When the boy on piano sprinkled all the right keys into the mixture, I eased my body against that skinny silver microphone stand, closed my eyes to the fractured night, and told all about that man done me wrong.
Everybody on that parquet dance floor caught on real quick. It’s me they stared at.
Emily Ann Teegarten.
And wasn’t a single one gave a tinker’s damn about my age or my station in life. Faces opened in welcoming smiles as wicked rhythms spun us all toward a whole new place—a place tucked up high as heaven.
Bodies shimmied and twirled at my feet.
One song blurred into another with nary enough time to breathe.
If I’d dropped dead then and there on that Big Easy stage, I’d have no real complaints. I reckon I’d tell the first angel I set eyes on I’d lived a full life.
I lived out my dream.
While all of Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, sudden orphanhood wraps its icy embrace around pretty Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten, a young teen.
Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, Baby Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that brings church ladies to righteous tears, and makes both angels and devils take notice. “I’m going to New York City to sing jazz,” she brags to anybody who’ll listen. But the Big Apple—well, it’s an awful long way from that dry patch of earth she’d always called home.
So when the smoky stages of New Orleans speakeasies give a whistle, offering all sorts of shortcuts, Emily Ann soon learns it’s the whorehouses and opium dens that can sidetrack a girl and dim a spotlight…and knowing the wrong people can snuff it out.
Jazz Baby just wants to sing—not fight to stay alive.
Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories
These twenty short stories are a peek into individual lives caught up in spectacular moments in time. Children, teens, mothers, and the elderly each have stories to share. Readers witness tragedy and fulfillment, love and hate, loss and renewal. Historical events become backdrops in the lives of ordinary people, those souls forgotten with the passage of time. Beem Weeks tackles diverse issues running the gamut from Alzheimer’s disease to civil rights, abandonment to abuse, from young love to the death of a child. Long-hidden secrets and notions of revenge unfold at the promptings of rich and realistic characters; plot lines often lead readers into strange and dark corners. Within Slivers of Life, Weeks proves that everybody has a story to tell—and no two are ever exactly alike.
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