I remember when I was younger my brother and I putting towels on our heads and tossing our heads about as if they were our hair. This used to annoy my mother to no end because we were imitating the white people we saw on television or went to school with instead of the blacks whom we resembled. My mother was a proud African woman and she wanted us to be proud African children who appreciated our culture, heritage, and color while living in the United States.
What does this have to do with romance books? In high school I made a friend who used to loan me her romance books, I call her my book pimp. All of these books tended to be about women with pale creamy skin and long silky flowing hair or men with light eyes and deeply tanned skin. I couldn’t relate as I touched my naturally nappy hair and medium brown skin. This didn’t stop me from reading the books though, it was the romance I was after, not their race.
It wasn’t until I started getting books from the library (my heaven on earth) that I noticed there were romance novels by black authors. I remember reading one of them and smiling. The heroine had chocolate color skin, dark eyes, and although her hair was silky, it was that way because of a relaxer. I was in love. I could relate to the physical attributions of these characters. But what I found weird was that other than small twists of phrases here and there the books were just like those with white characters.
I have found that with romance novels it’s not the color of the character’s skin, it’s the richness of the story that matters. Although I love to read black romances, I read anything that my hot little hands can get a hold of. If the story sounds good, no matter who is on the cover I’ll read it. It’s just that sometimes reading the words, beautiful brown complexion makes me look down at my own beautiful brown skin and smile.
There is a saying that goes, “Write about what you know.” This is why I write black romance novels. I know about being black. I read all other races and cultures of romance novels because I know about being human.
Keep an eye out for my debut novel Love Through Time coming out this year by Black Opal Books. But in the meantime join me on my blog Loving Romance, Loving Life for more posts about romance, book reviews, and author interviews.
© 2013 by Nana Prah
I’m an avid reader of romantic suspense and started writing about a year ago after a vivid dream. I know, sounds cliché, but that’s how it started. I work full time at a Cardiology clinic, then at night you will find me in front of my computer writing. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but now live in Arkansas, surrounded by the Ozark Mountains where I get to enjoy the four seasons without a long, cold winter. Other than spending time with my wonderful family, my favorite things to do are writing, reading and listening to music, but my most favorite is going to the beach. Surf, sand and a good book, my stress relief.
Two of my favorite quotes:
“Writing is my passion, Reading is my love.”
“A writer is never lonely; they always have their characters to keep them company.”
1. What was your inspiration for the book?
It’s a cliché but I got the idea from a dream. It was so vivid that I woke up and wrote down the story behind it. From then on I kept having dreams with the same characters. I kept a journal and after some prodding from friends I decided to turn my dreams into a story.
2. Do you have a book trailer?
No. I have not ventured down that road yet. I would love to make one, just haven’t looked into how.
3. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Writing the book is the easy part. I wrote my story only to find out from critique partners that I had no idea how to write. You have to know the aspects of making a story into a good book. My advice would be take classes, keep writing and editing and never give up. It will happen to you too.
4. When do you do your best writing?
In the evening is the best, and the only time I have to write. My day job keeps me pretty busy and house and family keep my weekends full.
5. Do you have a favorite spot that you write in?
In my living room, curled up on the couch.
6. Which character was the hardest to write and why?
The terrorists mainly because of all the research I had to do to get the names and places correct.
7. How did you come up with the title for your book?
That was simple. It’s about a rescue and she is held in the dark, so I just put the two together.
8. What where some of the biggest challenges you faced while writing the novel?
Time. I have a day job and a small farm so between the animals, garden and the office I had trouble finding time to sit in front of the computer.
9. What is your favorite author/book?
I have too many to just pick one. But the three that I have and re-read are Cindy Gerard, Suzanne Brockman and Janet Evanovich. Love their books.
10. If you could spend the day on any beach in the world which one would you choose?
This is good one because I love the beach. My kids grew up going to Galveston beach every Saturday. When we go places we plan them around a beach. I collect sand from beaches I have been to and display them at home. They are all different colors and textures. I just saw a beach in Australia called the rainbow beach that had muti-colored sand, that one is on my bucket list to visit.
11. Where was the most exciting place you have traveled to recently?
My son was stationed in Japan, Okinawa, so I was able to go visit a few times and I loved it. They have amazing beaches. He is now being transferred to Hawaii. Can’t wait for that vacation.
12. Which part of the book was the easiest for you to write, the beginning, the middle or the end?
The beginning. I love the development of the characters.
13. Did you create an outline for the book before writing?
NO I just wrote as I went. I tried an outline and could never stick to it.
14. Did you think of the character first and build the story around that person, or did you think of the story first and then incorporate the characters?
I had the characters from my dreams and a partial plot. The rest just worked itself out as I wrote.
15. How long did you have the idea for the book before you actually decided to write it?
About a month. The Journal was getting pretty thick I made it into a story.
16. Were your family and/or friends influential in your writing your first novel?
My friends helped push me into writing the book and my family supported me along the way.
17. Has your environment or upbringing influenced your writing?
My Mother always wrote poems so I was raised around her making them up all the time.
18. Where did you interest in writing originate?
It all came from a dream. I never thought about writing a book until then. My life was so full with family, friends and a farm that I never thought I had room for anything else.
19. What book or author has influenced your life the most and why?
I am an avid reader. I am never without a book, and I have a very large library. I was so happy when the kindle came to be. I was running out of room. I have too many authors to just pick one but I will tell you after I wrote my book I e-mailed Cindy Gerard. I was surprised that she e-mailed me back, but she did and was a great help in giving me the right direction to go in for the next step. I was at the step, Okay I wrote a book, now what do I do. She was so generous and gave me suggestions on groups to join and how I needed to find a critique group. I don’t think I would be here right now if it wasn’t for her.
20. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I paint and always wanted to have my own gallery. Now my gallery can be of the books I write.
21. Where do you hope to take your writing in the future, and do you have another project you’re working on currently?
I hope to just keep writing and find more readers that love my stories as much as I do. Rescued from the Dark is the first book in the Guardian’s of Hope series. They are a group of special ops, Navy seals and FBI men that the government sanctioned to perform rescues they are not able to do. I have book number two, Last Chance to Run, almost finished and I just started the third one.
22. If you ever had writers block, what did you do to overcome it?
Go to bed. I work out scenes that are hard and if I’m stuck I let it work itself out in my dreams.
23. What tools do you feel were must-haves for you as you were writing your novel?
Workshops on writing skills. POV, grammar, punctuation , things like that. It has been a long time since high school and there was a lot I needed refreshed on. Also a computer and notebook and pen. I am always writing down ideas. I even dictate if they come to me in the car. But I always have a notebook and pen in my purse at all times. You never know when your next story idea will hit you.
How can readers contact you?
Amazon Author page:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009L7TK04
© 2013 by Lynda Kaye Frazier
Growing up is never easy. Going through school with a disability makes it much more difficult to get through the day without being tormented by people you trusted and expected to be your friend. In my case, it was already humiliating enough to wear hearing aids that were visible to everyone, the last thing I needed was to be teased mercilessly and called nicknames like “Gibby” which was a deliberate slur based on my last name. It may sound innocent enough and I know a number of people with that same name, but when it was aimed at me with malicious intent, it hurt. Kids are cruel, there’s no question about that. But names like that tend to stick with you for the rest of your life. All it takes is to hear it again and all of the pain and shame associated with it comes rushing back. It never goes away. The irony of it is, my brother was given that same nickname by his classmates at his school. It never bothered him because it was created with good intentions. Both of us grew up with the same sobriquet and yet they held very different meanings to each of us.
Which leads to the question of why it’s important to come up with suitable names when writing a book. The main character in Sway, whose life is based on mine growing up was not originally named Jessie. It was Jenna which in hindsight was not the right fit. The only reason I came up with Jessie was that one day I was out shopping and began to wonder if I should change her name. As I wandered from store to store, a song came on the radio, one that I hadn’t heard since high school; “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. Then later on, as I walked into another store, that same song came on again and it suddenly dawned on me that I was meant to use “Jessie” for my novel. I don’t know if this was fate, perfect timing such as being in the right place and right time but it turned into a very cool moment for me. So, thanks Rick for giving me that clue.
For the other characters like Ethan and his father, both of their names were changed to suit their personalities. I was fussy with Ethan’s name since he was special, a genuinely kind person with good spirit and nobility. To me, Ethan is a strong, classical name which transcends the generation gap. His father, Jonas, is a hint to my love of Sci-Fi. Anyone who has watched the tv series Stargate will instantly recognize it. Eagle eyed readers will also find subtle hints throughout Sway that refers to Stargate as well
For the other characters, some names are tied in to my family tree which is a nod towards them. Jessie’s mom is Paige which is actually the name of my mother’s beloved dog. There are lots of neat clues throughout all three novels in terms of where the origin of their names came from. Some are more personal which is my way of tipping a hat to people I know in the community, some who are no longer with us which makes it even more special. For those of you that know me, you’ll get a kick of the names in the third book. I had oodles of fun adding them to story and hopefully it will keep you guessing as to where it came from.
Originally posted by Jennifer Gibson on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at the following link. http://www.jennifergibson.ca/chronicles/name-game
Re-posted with permission.
© 2013 by Jennifer Gibson
To learn more about Jennifer please visit her website at http://www.jennifergibson.ca/
You can find Jennifer’s Books in the following locations in many formats:
Black Opal Books (Publisher)
Barnes & Noble (NOOK)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Embarrassing! Terrible! Bad! That’s what I thought as I started to review for this book the essays that began as my brand new blog back in September of 2011. It depressed me to read them. Maybe all my short stories were terrible, I’d just been deluding myself that they were good. Maybe I just sucked, generally? But as I continued to read, review, and edit the pieces, I realized just how powerful and necessary each one was to my process. I couldn’t have gotten to the third piece (“Stacking the Deck,” where I really start to find my voice) if I hadn’t written the first two.
Looking back on my first essay in September of 2011, unsure of where I was going, I decided to dive in by commenting on a piece I read in a local NYC paper I found on the bus. My first few chapters were rants (hence “Raving” Violet). As I started to review them for this book, I felt uncomfortable, but I don’t think they’re terrible anymore, in fact, I think they’re terrific. They represent the genesis of my voice. Follow the Yellow Brick Road. How do you get there from here? It often seems a daunting, insurmountable, undoable task, especially if you don’t know where you’re going.
Two quotes come to mind. One, from a poster I bought as a youngster at sleepaway music camp in Michigan: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” And from J.R.R. Tolkein: “All who wander are not lost.” Contradictory, aren’t they? I love them both. Confusion is a terrific state of mind to be in. It means you’re no longer stuck in the rut of thinking you know everything. You’re off-kilter, uncertain, and ready to carve new neural pathways in your brain if you keep pushing forward instead of reverting to old default modes. Confusion is a sign that great, imminent change is possible.
Could Dorothy have even contemplated the existence of Emerald City when she wandered the dusty roads of Kansas with her dog? Of course not. All she knew was that she had to leave what was known, but no longer safe, behind.
This is what I’ve learned. Bloom where you’re planted. Put one foot in front of the other. Start somewhere, ANYWHERE. But start. Go. Write. Be. Speak. Tap dance. Take that cooking class, learn Tuvan throat singing. Whatever it is you’re curious about, heed Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take it. Create your path. Find your voice. Be daring. Be brave. You’ll never do it if you judge and criticize everything you do and let fear freeze you in place. Trust the flow of life, the flow of your voice, your footsteps, and you will be flying joyously without a net before long. Now, get going!
To Visit Valerie Gilbert’s website please click here
© 2013 by Valerie Gilbert
I’m not sure what came first when I began writing THE COLOR OF MURDER, around four years ago. Nonetheless, I know for certain that writing about characters that represent ‘class’ and ‘status’ would undergird whatever the story was about. And I knew having a character with whom readers strongly identified was crucial, and young African American attorney, Kevin Johnson was born. Then I realized I needed a ‘bombshell’ incident supporting the plot, and then the murder of Charlotte
Knowles, the Caucasian Briarton, Connecticut socialite crept into my psyche. That idea strengthened with Matthew Cook, a black drug dealer the accused murderer, attorney Kevin Johnson’s client. The purpose for THE COLOR OF MURDER had begun!
Other characters and story lines fell into place, and the story just seemed to take on a life of its own.
Some hints about creating a good story might be to impart everything relative to your plot and discard excess-in this way I was challenged for I tend to write excessively. Know your characters well and lay out everything about them as though you’ve met them or lived with them. This is especially so with the ‘principle.’ And don’t neglect the setting of your story it should be as real as everything else.
Your only goal is to tell a true sounding story!
Loretta Moore is an African American female writer of many genres, residing in Dover,
Delaware. She is married. She has a college degree in English and has received literary and theatrical recognition and awards. She belongs to an honor society and other laudable organizations, and volunteers in her community and church. Her interests include writing, reading, music, and attending the theater and concerts, as well as some involvement with outdoor activities. Currently, her next writing project is keeping her very busy.the mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. Moore is a multi-published author with several novels to her credit. Other published works include poetry, essays, and short stories in several magazines and journals. She also contributes to a church newsletter. Moore is also a playwright and several of her dramas and musicals have been full productions. Presently, two of her plays are in the hands of theaters in Philadelphia, PA and Roanoke, VA. Ghostwriting is another area in which Moore currently works.
© 2013 Loretta Moore
For More information about Loretta and her books please visit her website at lorettamoore.com
You can also Purchase a copy of “The Color Of Murder” at: Black Opal Books, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble
Today I came across an interesting phrase: “Deliberate Practice” The meaning was defined as
- A form of training that consists of focused, grueling, repetitive practice in which the subject continuously monitors his or her performance, and subsequently corrects, experiments, and reacts to immediate and constant feedback, with the aim of steady and consistent improvement. … www.quantum3.co.za/CI Glossary.htm
What a great concept! The idea is akin to constantly pushing yourself to go beyond, but with a predefined outcome in mind of improving a weakness. Consciously choosing to go outside the comfort zone and into an area that is outside our norm. I like the concept in both exercise and in writing, though in writing I can see where it would be more difficult to do.
The idea of deliberate practice is not just getting out there and doing what you know or what’s easy, or just sitting down and writing for 20 minutes a day. That was referred to in one article I read as “mindless practice” and that’s not bad but it’s not improving areas in which there is weakness either. The concept of “deliberate practice” though is that it’s deliberate and designed to improve weak areas. It’s about identifying the weak area and having a specific targeted plan to turn it from a weakness to a strength.
Here are a few ideas that I have found in researching the concept of “deliberate practice” as it pertains to writing.
Target your weakness with the clear plan for improving it. I once knew a man who was a great mathematician and had a master’s degree in math which took him years to accomplish. While talking one day he confided to me that he actually hated math and doing math. I was confused by this, so I asked him what on earth would make him decide to get a master’s degree in something he hated? He told me frankly that he was absolutely horrible at math all of his life. He dreaded all of his math classes in school because he was so horrible with math. But, one day he realized the only way he would ever get better was to turn this weakness into a strength. So he went to college to become a mathematician. Was it easy? Not at all. He had to work harder then anyone else because he was so poor at it. But when he completed his courses, he had gained more then experience in math and much more then a degree could ever give him. He obtained mastery and it built his confidence in ways he never thought this simple act could do. And, this is the entire concept of “deliberate practice” take something you are not good at and practice deliberately until you master it.
Focus on a specific goal.
Where is your weakness. Is it character development? Creating or defining your plot? Is it your story end? It’s it grammar, spelling or punctuation? Is it wording? whatever it is, define it and focus on it specifically deciding what you need to do to improve that skill. Make your goals reachable but not too reachable. A good goal is something you must work hard for and is attainable. It gives you a great feeling once you have achieved it because you know you had to work hard to get there. Deliberate practice is all about effort, focus, and concentration.
Decide when you are at your peak energy or creative best. Are you a morning person, or perhaps you do your best work and thinking at night. If so know when you are at “peak” performance and use that time for you objective.
Practice every day. Don’t believe that you’ll remember your ideas or get to it later. Consistently sit down during your peak time and write every day. Just like you would go to the gym every day if you were totally committed to getting into shape, you’ve got to be committed to being a better writer, and the only way to do that is to practice every day. Got to where you write best and write.
Focus, Focus, Focus. With your plan in mind, your objectives clearly written down, your place and your time, focus on your writing, develop the areas in which you are not as good as you would like to be. Be a writing athlete!
Stop doing what doesn’t work and do what works. If the ideas are not flowing and you’ve been sitting there for an hour beating your head against the wall, and your pen isn’t moving and your not improving anything, it’s okay to stop. Figure out where the problem is, and come back tomorrow with a new plan and new focus and a new effort. Don’t torture yourself over something that is not working, just stop. Athletes don’t give up when something is getting them to their goal, they push harder. But, when something clearly is not working, slowing them down, or not improving them, they stop doing what doesn’t work, and instead look for ways to do what DOES work, what does improve their game, or makes their talent work for them and not against them.
Constantly look for ways to improve your skills. Never be satisfied with where you are now, but continually look for ways to be better, to improve your writing skills, talents and abilities. Read more, write more, write in venues you’re not comfortable in, re-write your story in different ways or from different points of view. Experiment with your structure, content, and style for fun and for practice. It takes dedication practice, and also reflection.
Feedback is your friend and you need it. Do not be afraid of feedback — ever. Feedback is key to getting what and where you want. It’s the best way to find out if what you’re doing is going to be ordinary, or turn into something greater then you ever anticipated it could be. Welcome feedback with open arms. Ask for it, and then weigh it against your own ideals. Athletes, have coaches, students have teachers, millionaires have financial advisers, People have these things because they know that they cannot do it alone. They know they need advice from experts if they want to improve themselves, or make the most of the talents or objectives they have. We all need feedback to make improvement. They can validate where we are, and help get us to where we want to be. Good feedback is tantamount to making forward progress in any area of life.
Be open minded to change. If you find that what you’re doing is not working, or the feedback you’re getting is pointing you in a different direction then you thought, do not be opposed to making changes. Think of it this way, if a weight-lifter is performing the task incorrectly and the coach says change, does the weight-lifter ignore good advice to his own hurt? Most likely not. If you’re on a road and someone tells you that you’re going to wrong direction, do you keep going down that same road? Probably not. Be open to changing course if the course you are on is not getting you to the goal you set and the plan you’re focused on achieving.
Remember, the purpose of “Deliberate Practice” is not to work at what you’re good at, but to find the areas in which you are lacking and be determined to make improvements. To master the weakness and “tame the tiger” It’s hard, it’s work, it takes discipline, action, focus, effort, and a lot of hard hard work. But and the result is that your work will be better then you ever thought it could be.
© 2013 by Gibby
1. What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book? I told my family and friends that I’d sold a book. Then, I told the writing groups where I’m a member, Evergreen RWA, Greater Seattle RWA and the online YARWA chapter.
2. What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? The beginning. Why? I usually have a good idea for the story and I’m getting to know the characters so it’s an exciting time to be a writer.
3. What part of the book is the hardest for you? The middle Why? By this point, the story is very familiar and so are the characters, PLUS I have to keep the action moving and not let the pacing drag. Some of my initial excitement about the story begins to fade.
4. Who is your favorite character in your book and why? The heroine is always my favorite. She is the person who tells the story and the one without whom I wouldn’t have a book. I always want to know more about her.
5. If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Jacqueline Emerson, the girl who played Foxface in the movie version of the Hunger Games. Tell us about your heroine. B.J. Larson is a street-smart foster kid who moves to small town Stewart Falls. She’s the Princess of Passing Though, but has she found a “forever” home, somewhere it will be safe to unpack and stay a while?
6. If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Johnny Weston, a real life surfer/actor. Tell us about your hero. Vice-president of a dog 4-H club, pitcher for his private school’s baseball team Ringo Taylor looks like the epitome of a blond surfer. However, he’s not a “pod” person – - – he has his own issues and the ability to see what lies beneath the surface. He’s smart enough to know that B.J. isn’t the tough girl she pretends to be and likes her for who she truly is.
7. Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”? No. They vary in height, weight, personalities, etc. Street-smart B.J. doesn’t sound anything like Sarah, the heroine of my second book who can be naïve.
8. Do you eat comfort food when writing? Occasionally, but usually my computer runs on coffee – no, that’s me. If so, what food inspires your imagination? Chocolate and Danish Butter Cookies – the kind that I find around the holidays. I usually buy a couple extra tins so I can eat the cookies all year.
9. What hobby do you enjoy when not writing? Riding my horse, Charmer who thinks he’s going to grow up to be a bulldozer – fences are made for walking through. He’s so lucky he lives on a 113 acre farm because he does love to go exploring. Maybe, I’ll call him Columbus in my next YA.
10. What’s your strongest point as a writer? Dialogue – I always have to go back and add in descriptions so readers can see what’s in my head.
11. What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read? Anything by Nora Roberts – I really love her J.D. Robb series.
12. You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do? Probably write a book since most guys I know who are hung-up on how handsome they are can be totally boring like Charming in Shrek. Now, if the guy actually looked like Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge or Christian Kane in Leverage and he could help build a shelter and hunt food while I start a fire – - – I’d be ready to stay on that island for my own Happy Ever-After!
13. What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? I pretty much write in every genre I like, YA, romance, paranormal, historical, mainstream. I do mainstream western romance as Josie Malone and young adult as Shannon Kennedy. I also write news articles for a local online paper and magazine articles about horses. Since I do all the promotional stuff for the family riding stable – - – I write brochures, design posters, create signs and everything else that goes along with teaching beginners about horses.
14. Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why? I’m techno-impaired so FaceBook is all I can do along with touring and visiting a few blogs and my own websites + the ones for the family farm. I wrote my first book on notebook paper, then borrowed a manual typewriter to do the final draft. Computers are absolutely amazing and it constantly astonishes me when I learn something new that mine can do. I just created my first holiday newsletter for the stable and made a “word search” – it was really fun.
Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc.
My websites are:
for Young Adult titles: www.shannonkennedybooks.com
For mainstream romances: www.josiemalone.com
My Facebook pages are: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Shannon-Kennedy-Author/335668663164046 and http://www.facebook.com/#!/JosieMaloneAuthor
Anything else you’d like to add?
I always like a supporting cast in my books and they often aren’t human. In Throw Away Teen, B.J.’s new roomie is an eight-week-old, purple heeler-border collie puppy. He loves her unconditionally, but has a tough time staying on task in doggie class. B.J. wonders if he’s like her and has A.D.D. She learns that it’s normal for puppies to be easily distracted and she can teach him to stay focused. With the help of her tutor, she can learn it too. Okay, and a mocha helps!
© 2012 by Shannon Kennedy
My parents, or at least my mother, really wanted a girl baby. They were divided on what to name me since my father thought “Anne” was a perfectly good name for a girl, but my mother wanted to grace me with the name she’d given herself. See, she was from one of those places where a name isn’t complete without the adder of ‘Jo’. So, she was Betty Jo. She said when she got it legally changed to Constance Alicia, the court clerk didn’t understand why she’d want to change from such a fine name.
While in the hospital after my birth, which by the way gives you a pretty good idea of my age since this was in the days of women having a day or so to rest up, one of the nurses was named Monica Karel, which she thought was an even nicer name than Constance Alicia. And Monica Karel I became. Not that I was called Monica, or Karel. Instead, friends returning from a tour of duty in Korea convinced her that Kim was what one called a cute little girl. Naturally I was a cute little girl, so Kim I became; only later did they discover their friends were not completely accurate. Or maybe their friends had a strange sense of humor?
At any rate I went through much of my early years as Kim. In an effort to gain some maturity and assert independence, I decided to try for a name closer to my registered name. Monica was unwieldy, but what about ‘Nikki?’ Great idea, everyone at home liked it, I even convinced my teachers to adopt the new name. Unfortunately Disney had just come out with ‘Nikki, Wild Dog of the North,’ and I got tired of having “those” boys follow me around, howling. Sigh. Back to Kim.
Then my father was transferred to Japan, and my last year in High School was at a Department of Defense school. Which, by the way, was one of the best things to EVER happen to me. For the first time I was in a school neither of my older brothers had attended. I went from a school of nearly 3,000 students to a graduating class of 75. Along with a new country, new school, I decided I needed a new identity. Or maybe it was just time to establish my true identity. I wrote Monica Karel at the top of my papers. My teachers and the other students called me Monica, and no one, not one single person, knew anything about Kim. I joined the debate team, ran for office, was in the school play and in the talent contest as Monica Karel. To put it bluntly, I blossomed.
I remained Monica Karel throughout numerous careers including stable manager, riding instructor, dog groomer, waitress, and eventually expediter for the purchasing department at a nuclear power plant. Which is another story entirely. Monica Karel married Tom Stoner and continued with her real name. Then she decided to be published.
At no time have I ever been ashamed of anything to do with my writing, nor will I ever be. But at the time My Killer My Love was in final edits, and I was asked how I’d like my author name to read, the situation in one of my secondary worlds, that of purebred dogs, had gotten ugly. And I really did not want that ugliness to spill over into my writing self. Thus was Mona Karel born.
Way back when I first started writing, several publishing houses required writers to take a pen name, and then insisted that name belonged to the house. Things have changed since then, due to the stubbornness of a few strong minded writers, to whom we all shall be eternally grateful. For some writers, taking a pen name is a matter of necessity since what they write could have a negative impact on their other life. For some writers, the pen name identifies their genre, though there is a current train of thought that we should be able to write across genre with the same name. Some writers take on a pen name for clarity and easy identification since their given name is too foreign for American audiences. And some writers take a pen name for their own personal amusement.
I’ve been told by some taking on a writing alter ego was a foolish decision. And I have since been very open about who Mona Karel is in relation to Monica Stoner. But I have also found a wonderful new source of whimsy. When asked when Mona will write a sequel to My Killer My Love, Monica can reply she’s not sure, but she’ll check with Mona and let people know. Hey, grab your fun where you can find it.
For more information about Mona Karel please visit her webstite at: http://www.mona-karel.com
©2012 by Mona Karel
He was so infuriating, and I was absolutely not charmed…okay, maybe just a little…
“Hi,” he said with a compassionate look that made me wish the traitor, Quinn, had taken off those damn handcuffs so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot.
Lips pressed together, my fingers waggled in a feeble greeting. The mere sight of him sent a quiver of excitement to my stomach.
He nodded his chin at my tied hands. “They seem rather uncomfortable.”
And they bloody well were, but I shrugged it off like it was nothing unusual. “The latest fashion. You heard the judge, I wear them quite often.”
A teasing smile played around his lips that spiked my blood pressure. “Shall we take them off?” he said.
He must be kidding. “Unless you’ve got teeth like a hacksaw, I don’t see how that would work.”
He pulled out a key-ring from his pocket. He squatted, leveled his eyes with mine, and shook the ring in front of my face. The friendly jingle of metal filled the high hallway.
My mouth sagged open. “Where did you get these from?”
“You stole them from Quinn?” I pulled my hands reflexively out of his reach.
“Of course not.” The gorgeous blond gave me a pointed look. “I asked for them.”
“Quinn wouldn’t unshackle me when I asked him to.”
His intense blue eyes locked with mine. “I had to solemnly swear to keep an eye on you. Now hold still.” Cool fingers curled around my wrist to fix my hand while he unlocked the first cuff. Sparks tingled on my skin, my hand trembled slightly.
With a click, the other cuff came off. I flexed my hands and rubbed my burning wrists.
“Better?” He tilted his head and arched one beautiful brow.
My head bobbed, but I found no breath to answer.
“Okay then.” He used my knees to push himself up and stretched to his full height.
He probably expected a thanks following his selflessness. My gaze focused on the ripped hems of his jeans, my lips remained sealed.
When he turned on his heel and marched off to the left, I glanced up. “And now you’re going where?” The words shot out before I could stop myself.
“Bathroom break.” His arched brows dared me to object.
My lower lip threatened to pop from between my teeth as I chewed on it. Don’t speak! “But you’re supposed to keep an eye on me.”
After studying me for a couple of seconds, his expression softened even more. “You’re not going to get me into trouble.”
I let him take another stride away from me. Two. Three. Four. “How can you be so sure?”Shut the hell up, Jona. “After everything you know about me, I’ll probably be gone when you get back.”
A shrug of one shoulder and his beguiling smile struck me silent. “I trust you.”
© 2012 - Piper Shelly