#Featured “Unthinkable Sins: Book 1” by Tiffani Quarles-Sanders

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A family’s darkest secrets are about to be revealed.

Jerome Durham is an up-and-coming black politician who faces a dilemma when his elderly mother starts showing signs of dementia.

Until now, the family and friends of elderly Hattie Durham have known her to be a God-fearing, law abiding Christian woman. But as her aging mind starts to unravel, Hattie begins confessing to a litany of sins she’s committed throughout her lifetime. During several conversations, she tells stories that describe emotional incidents she went through in her life, unconsciously giving the reasons for the terrible things she did in her later years.

Jerome does not know if his mother’s confessional is driven by guilt or revenge, or just an unfortunate random consequence of her illness, but he’s not sure he can wait to find out. His career is at stake if she tells anyone how his own past mistakes are entwined with hers. Neither he nor his wife is about to let that happen.

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#BookBlitz “Speakeasy” by A.M. Dunnewin

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Suspense Thriller / Historical
Date Published: 12/21/2011
Publisher:  Dark Hour Press, LLC
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The novella is centered on Eddie Durante, owner of a speakeasy who’s supported by his mobster uncle—the boss of the Durante family. Eddie is a young widower after his family’s rival, the Caprice family, murdered his wife over a territory dispute. After devising a plan that retaliated against four of the rivaling capos, Eddie is left with the daunting task to try and move on. That is, until he’s notified that the Caprices have put a hit man in the speakeasy—and Eddie’s name is on the list. But things take an unexpected turn when Eddie instead starts to find the dead bodies of his relatives, the ones who had helped in the retaliation.
Behind the backdrop of jazz music and glistening flappers, murder after murder begins to unravel as revenge takes center stage, and Eddie soon learns that some secrets can’t be taken to the grave.

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Excerpt

Once the doors were closed, Sal didn’t take long to get right to the point. “They know it was you, Eddie.”

The words slapped him across the face, but Eddie didn’t respond.

“That you were the one who came up with the idea,” Sal continued. “They’re out for retaliation, and it’s rumored that they’ve sent a torpedo into this juice joint of yours. That’s part of the reason why I’m not being too open with the information. Afraid of who might be listening.”

A hit man in his speakeasy. Eddie stared out the windshield, watching Sal begin to light a cigarette out of the corner of his eye. “I had a lot of ideas,” he remarked hoarsely, fear and dread subtly mixing into his thoughts.

“Only took one,” Sal responded as he lit the cigarette. He silently offered one to Eddie, who refused with a shake of his head. “Sorry, kid,” Sal explained as he took a puff. “After what they did to your wife, I wouldn’t have blamed ya.”

Eddie remained silent, his eyes drifting to the bootleggers who were moving the last of the crates. No wonder they weren’t laying their eyes on him. He was a dead target.

Sal took another drag on his cigarette, taking a moment for himself. “Don’t worry, though,” he finally remarked. “Your family’s got your back. My brother-in-law, your dear uncle, has requested that Joe stay by your side until we can square away if there’s a torpedo and who it is.”

“What?” Eddie balked, shattering his calm exterior.

“It’s temporary,” Sal cooed, trying to calm the young man down. “He’s just some extra protection.”

Eddie gawked, unable to believe that they’d send Joe, of all people, to protect him. “He’s crazy,” was all Eddie could summarize when it came to his cousin.

“He’s happy,” Sal tried to smooth over.

Trigger happy,” Eddie corrected.

Sal shrugged his shoulders. “He gets the job done. And when the boss’ favorite nephew needs protection, the boss will only send the very best.”

“I don’t need protection,” Eddie fought back, trying not to raise his voice to the lunacy. “And even if I did, I have Anthony and Marcus in there—”

“Little orphan Anthony and Baby Marcus?” Sal choked, half laughing, half sputtering on the cigarette smoke. “Marcus is too naive, and Anthony,” but Sal had to chuckle first before he could continue. “Well, ya better just pray your killer isn’t a female.”

“Thanks for warning me,” Eddie begrudgingly admitted as he pulled the door handle…

 

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About the Author

A. M. Dunnewin grew up with a taste for mysteries and thrillers, inherited ever so lovingly from her family. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, A. M.’s own stories cover a wide range of genres that tend to take a dark turn when least expected. With a B.A. in Psychology, she’s a gambler of words, obsessed with chai tea, and addicted to books – everything from classical literature to graphic novels. Other hobbies include art, history, music, equestrianism, and a good classic film. She currently dwells in Northern California.
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#Featured “The Temple of My Familiar (The Color Purple Collection Book 2)” by Alice Walker

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The Temple of My Familiar

by Alice Walker

Genre: Literary Fiction/Historical/African-American/

Cultural Heritage Fiction

1.99 at time of posting! LIMITED TIME ONLY!

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple weaves a “glorious and iridescent” tapestry of interrelated lives in this New York Times bestseller (Library Journal).

In The Temple of My Familiar, Celie and Shug from The Color Purple subtly shadow the lives of dozens of characters, all dealing in some way with the legacy of the African experience in America. From recent African immigrants, to a woman who grew up in the mixed-race rainforest communities of South America, to Celie’s own granddaughter living in modern-day San Francisco, all must come to understand the brutal stories of their ancestors to come to terms with their own troubled lives.

As Walker follows these astonishing characters, she weaves a new mythology from old fables and history, a profoundly spiritual explanation for centuries of shared African-American experience.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

The Temple of My Familiar is the 2nd book in the Color Purple Collection, which also includes The Color Purple and Possessing the Secret of Joy.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Say Goodbye and Goodnight” by Daniel Ruggerio

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Romance

Date Published: 6/11/20
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
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This is the love story to end all love story’s! 1977, the most tumultuous year in New York City’s history. In a place called Bensonhurst, a young Italian-American fighter named Anthony Marino meets his love in Romeo and Julie disco on 86th Street. Gia steals his heart away, and through tremendous trials and tribulations, their love survives. A modern Shakespearean tale that pulls on every heart string we possess.

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About the Author
Known worldwide as a celebrity chef, David Ruggerio’s life-story is one of redemption, sacrifice, and a new lease on life as an award-winning genre fiction writer.

Ruggerio rose to the position of top chef at the famous La Caravelle in New York by age 25. He went on to take command of Pierre Cardin’s New York outpost of Maxim’s de Paris, where he garnered three stars fromThe New York Times. In 1995, Robert Mondavi, the note vintner, named him one of the thirteen best young chefs in America.
With two acclaimed cookbooks under his belt, David Ruggerio became known as a “Super Chef” and was called for television guest spots that quickly became opportunities. He hosted the iconic TV showsRuggerio to Goon the Food Network, andLittle Italy with David Ruggerioon PBS. Throughout his outstanding career as a chef, Ruggerio cooked for five US Presidents.
Today, Ruggerio lives on the East Coast and spends his days writing mostly genre fiction.He is an Amazon bestselling author and the recipient of the Maxy Award for Best Horror 2019 for his debut horror novel,A Wistful Tale of Gods, Men and Monsters. His second book of fiction, Say Goodbye and Goodnight, releases June 2020.
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#CoverReveal “She Wears the Mask” by Shelly Stratton

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SHE WEARS THE MASK

BY SHELLY STRATTON

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No one can ever really know what lies behind the mask . . .

Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form an unexpected bond…

1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to death and the other to dire circumstances.

1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich, aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago buried.

Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old debutante with seemingly too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally. Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets, too.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

 Angelique

 November 9, 1950

Chicago, Illinois

 

She will never get used to the sound of the “L” train.

Angelique realizes this for the umpteenth time as the train thunders above her and she ducks her head and clutches the collar of her wool coat in a white-knuckled grip with one hand. While crossing the street under the train tracks, she doesn’t look up—too frightened to witness its passage. She focuses her runny eyes instead on the puddles of melting snow where the halogen lights from bars and the late-night delicatessen glow. Her eyes then drift to the bundle in the basket she holds.

Hearing the steady click-clack of the train wheels, the seismic rattle of metal beams, and the whoosh of air as it passes will never become background noise to her, no matter how long she lives in the “Windy City” to some or “Chi-Town” to others—but it did for Daniel. He laughed at her the first time she cringed when the train passed their bedroom window.

“Look at you,” he drawled that first night they slept in their apartment. “It’s just a train, sugar. It can’t hurt you none.”

But what did Daniel know? Even though he’d grown up on the alfalfa fields of North Carolina with dirt under his nails and the sweet stench of manure in his nostrils, he’d been a city boy at heart. The “L” was practically a Mama’s lullaby, lulling him to sleep at night, while it became her torturer, yanking her awake every time her eyelids would drift closed.

When she did sleep, the train would haunt her dreams—those hungry steel wheels gnashing at the tracks, sending up sparks into the dark night. Her mind’s eye would see the train barreling at high speeds over Logan Square, Hyde Park, and Chinatown, like it was searching for her, leaving quaking windows in its wake.

She dreamed of standing with other commuters waiting to head Uptown, only to have someone accidentally shove her. She’d go tumbling off the platform, onto the train track, and get hit by the “L,” yelling for help as she watched it approach. She dreamed of Daniel riding on his way to work at the stockyards, and one of the train cars would derail and go careening to the busy street twenty feet below. She would wake up screaming, and Daniel would wrap her in his strong arms, pull her close, and let her tremble in his embrace.

After a while, she started to sleep with a pillow over her head to finally get some rest, hoping to drown out the sound of the train at night. Unfortunately, it also drowned out their baby’s cries. Daniel had to shake her awake and tug the pillow from her head a few times.

“She’s hungry, sugar,” he would say, bringing their baby girl to her.

She would turn onto her back, prop the pillow behind her, tiredly undo the ribbons of her night gown, and lower the infant to her tender breast, yawning and staring out the window at the passing of the “L” as she nursed.

Ultimately, Daniel would be proven right. It wasn’t the train she should’ve feared, but the street car. That’s what took her man away in the end. The sound of the trolley bell would be the harbinger of death for him, not the screech of train wheels.

She gives a bleak, dark chuckle at the irony as the “L” finally . . . mercifully passes overhead, leaving behind the distant sound of rattling metal and fluttering newspapers. She can hear her baby girl, Emma Jean, crying now and see her squirming in the basket at her side, making it hard not to drop the basket and the baby from her sore fingers. She holds fast though, and continues to walk in the cold and through the melting snow. Her leather shoes—one of her few remaining pairs—are covered in rubber booties, but the booties have holes in them. The shoes are now damp and she suspects her feet are starting to freeze. Her toes are stinging like they’re being poked by tiny needles. She wonders if she will develop gangrene, but she doesn’t stop to check her feet. She’s already walked this far. May as well keep going.

“Hey, lady! What you doin’ out here with that baby?” a voice slurs, startling her and making her pause for the first time.

Angelique turns to her right to find a figure lurking in a doorway. An old Negro man with weathered skin stumbles out of the shadows like someone has given him a hard shove. He clutches a half pint of Old Forrester in his dirty hand. He’s wearing several layers of clothing, all of which are either shredded, riddled with holes, or covered with stains. The rank smell of alcohol, body odor, and urine drifts from him like an atomic cloud. He narrows his bloodshot eyes at her.

She stares back at him, tugging the basket close to her side, but she doesn’t respond. She turns back around and starts walking again.

“Cain’t you hear that baby cryin’?” he shouts drunkenly after her and she starts to walk faster. “Shouldn’t be out here in the cold with no baby no way! Take it inside!”

When she nears the end of the block, she is almost at a run, jostling the infant in the basket and making her cry louder.

“Crazy cracker wench!” his voice howls against the growing wind.

Angelique is finally a block away. She stops at an empty wooden bench to regain her breath. She sets the wicker basket on the bench, sits beside it, and takes out Emma Jean. She holds her against her chest, cooing to her and rocking her softly. Emma Jean is no more than a little round face engulfed in blankets under the street light. Big brown, watery eyes gaze up at her. After a few minutes, the wails quail to whimpers and the whimpers die down to hiccups. Emma Jean’s eyes close. Long dark lashes like her daddy’s sweep her cheeks. Eventually, Emma Jean quiets, asleep again.

This is when Angelique begins to lose her nerve, feeling the familiar warmth of her baby girl against her body, seeing Emma Jean slumber so blissfully in her arms.

Her vision begins to blur as the tears well. She sniffs and a nose that was already chapped red from the chill and the wind, becomes even redder.

“I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” she whimpers, shakily rising to her feet, leaving the basket on the bench. She lurches back toward the corner with Emma Jean, and sees the outline of the drunken bum leaning against a brick wall, watching her from a distance like a specter in the dark.

Seeing him again, she suddenly remembers the empty shelves in the kitchenette cabinets back at her apartment and the icebox filled with one block of cheese and a bottle of milk that is about to go bad. She remembers the “Rent Due” notice tacked to her front door. And she remembers that she can’t return to her plush sales girl job thanks to Mr. Mullan. She probably will never be able to show her face, let alone work anywhere at the posh stores on State Street again. Odd jobs at night clubs and seedy bars won’t keep her and Emma Jean from starving. She could very well find herself on the street like that bum. She must move on and start all over again, but her baby girl will not be able to move on with her. Emma Jean does not fit into her life anymore. Not after the mess she’s made of it. That is why she is here to procure her daughter a new life—a better one.

She lowers the infant back into the basket, nestling her in the soft blankets, careful not to wake her again. She adjusts the envelope beside the baby, the one containing a note, a picture of Daniel, looking dapper in his Army uniform, and a lock of her own hair.

Angelique blinks through her tears and starts walking again, continuing to her destination.

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ABOUT SHELLY STRATTON

Shelly Stratton is the penname an award-nominated author who has published almost a dozen books under another pseudonym.

She is married and lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellystrattonbooks.com to learn more about her work.

CONNECT WITH SHELLY

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAMAMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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#BookTour “The Black Cabinet” by Jill Watts

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Blck Cabinet 3D

 

THE BLACK CABINET: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND POLITICS DURING THE AGE OF ROOSEVELT

BY JILL WATTS

“A unique and enlightening portrait . . . [The Black Cabinet] is a groundbreaking reappraisal of an unheralded chapter in the battle for civil rights.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Drawing on government documents, newspapers, and an extensive number of archives, historian Watts vividly recounts an important chapter in black American history.” Kirkus Reviews

“A compelling and moving account of their struggle to secure civil rights for black Americans, The Black Cabinet, brings to life hidden figures whose contributions were systematically erased from the record.” Goodreads, Best New Books to Read this Spring

“A well-researched, urgent, and necessary history of black folks during the New Deal that excavates the too often ignored history of black female genius behind racial progress.” —Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author

“My great-uncle Frank Horne, a poet, a doctor and an educator, was a member of FDR’s so-called ‘Black Cabinet.’ For the first time, this fascinating new book tells the whole story of the victories and defeats of these brilliant black New Dealers and the dynamic, charismatic black woman, Mary McLeod Bethune, who was their leader.”—Gail Lumet Buckley, author of The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family

Offering a compelling history of the evolution, impact, and ultimate demise of a New-Deal-era hidden “cabinet” to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on racial affairs, historian Jill Watt’s THE BLACK CABINET: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt illuminates the progress of black citizenship between Reconstruction and the modern Civil Rights movement.

In 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidency with the help of key African American defectors from the Republican Party. At the time, most African Americans lived in poverty, denied citizenship rights and terrorized by white violence. As the New Deal began, a “black Brain Trust” joined the administration and began documenting and addressing the economic hardship and systemic inequalities African Americans faced. They became known as the Black Cabinet, but the environment they faced was reluctant, often hostile, to change.

“Will the New Deal be a square deal for the Negro?” The black press wondered. The Black Cabinet set out to devise solutions to the widespread exclusion of black people from its programs, whether by inventing tools to measure discrimination or by calling attention to the administration’s failures. Led by Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, they were instrumental to Roosevelt’s continued success with black voters. Operating mostly behind the scenes, they helped push Roosevelt to sign an executive order that outlawed discrimination in the defense industry. They saw victories—jobs and collective agriculture programs that lifted many from poverty—and defeats—the bulldozing of black neighborhoods to build public housing reserved only for whites; Roosevelt’s refusal to get behind federal anti-lynching legislation. The Black Cabinet never won official recognition from the president, and with his death, it disappeared from view. But it had changed history. Eventually, one of its members would go on to be the first African American cabinet secretary; another, the first African American federal judge and mentor to Thurgood Marshall.

Masterfully researched and dramatically told, THE BLACK CABINET brings to life a forgotten generation of leaders who fought post-Reconstruction racial apartheid and whose work served as a bridge that Civil Rights activists traveled to achieve the victories of the 1950s and ’60s.

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The Black Cabinet is the first ever account of how African American appointees in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt came together to form a unofficial advisory group that became known as the “Black Cabinet.”  It uncovers the story of a lost generation of African American federal appointees who provided a bridge between black leaders of the early twentieth century and the post-WWII Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King.  The Black Cabinet members were the “hidden figures” of the New Deal and WWII era who pushed not only for African American rights but for the fulfillment and expansion of the promise of democracy to all Americans.

Why was the Black Cabinet so important? Black Cabinet members fought for the inclusion of African Americans in New Deal programs designed to help the nation recover from the Great Depression, and for equal opportunities in the military and in the defense industry during WWII. They played a key role in rescuing the nation from the Great Depression. They were able to compel the government to introduce the first anti-discrimination clauses into federal contracts, and win jobs, agricultural, and educational assistance for African Americans and other citizens suffering from marginalization and impoverishment. They proposed universal health care, fought for public housing, successfully challenged segregation in the federal workplace, and campaigned against lynching. They paved the way for African Americans to shift their allegiance from the Republicans to the Democrats. They campaigned for better treatment of African Americans in the military including the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen.

Why haven’t we heard of the Black Cabinet?  Because they were an unofficial group and they often worked clandestinely. They faced enormous resistance and hostility from within the federal government and confronted a President who fretted that supporting black needs would alienate the powerful white southern wing of the Democratic party. When Black Cabinet members couldn’t get results internally, they turned to the African American press and black leaders to further their causes. Often, they covertly opposed policies put forward by the administration or by Congress and, as a couple of Black Cabinet members later remember, regularly feared for their jobs.

Who were the leaders of the Black Cabinet?

  • The dynamic and indominable Mary McLeod Bethune:  Born to a sharecropping family, her parents had been enslaved.  She rose to become the founder of Bethune-Cookman College, a leader in the black women’s club movement, and, with her appointment in the New Deal, the first African American woman to head up a federal program. She took the reins of the Black Cabinet in 1936 and drove the group ahead in their battles for equality refusing to accept no as an answer from anyone, including the President.

  • The young and brilliant Robert Weaver: A member of Washington, D.C.’s black elite, he attended Harvard University where he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in economics.  Recruited early in the New Deal for his statistically compelling studies showing how the New Deal was actually hurting black Americans, Weaver continually argued that if any group was left behind economically, then the nation would never fully recover from economic crises. He would become the “brains” behind the Black Cabinet.”

  • Black Cabinet Pillars: Crusading newspaper editor, Robert Vann, a former Republican who led the defection of African Americans from the GOP and was appointed in the Justice Department; Alfred Edgar Smith, a scrappy Arkansan who grew up poor and rose to head one of the New Deal’s largest black jobs programs; Bill Hastie, boyhood friend of Robert Weaver and graduate of Harvard Law School who became the first African American federal judge; and Lucia Mae Pitts who became the first African American woman to serve as a secretary to a white federal administrator.

Who were the Black Cabinet’s main allies? 

  • Eleanor Roosevelt: The First Lady shared a deep friendship with Mary McLeod Bethune and she provided The Black Cabinet with access to the President. Outside of Bethune, none of the other Black Cabinet members met with FDR.  But Eleanor Roosevelt endeavored to get their requests to the President, even if it meant leaving a note on his nightstand.

  • The White House Domestic Staff:  In particular, Elizabeth and Irvin McDuffie who respectively served as FDR’s maid and valet.  They often conveyed Black Cabinet messages and needs of the African American people directly to the President.

  • African American Leaders including the NAACP’s Walter White and union head A. Philip Randolph: The Black Cabinet looked to the NAACP to pressure FDR from the outside.   Several Black Cabinet members supported Randolph’s call for a March on Washington in 1941.  The March was postponed after FDR signed an order outlawing discrimination in defense employment (E.O 8802) but it was later revived and carried out by Randolph and Martin Luther King in 1963.

  • The African American Press:  Several members of the Black Cabinet had worked in journalism before joining the Roosevelt administration and collaborated with the black press through leaks and by providing information to black reporters.

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ABOUT JILL WATTSJill Watts

Jill Watts is a Professor of History at California State University San Marcos where she teaches United States Social and Cultural History, African American History, Film History, and Digital History. In addition to her forthcoming book The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt, Professor Watts is also the author of Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood; Mae West: An Icon in Black and White; and God, Harlem USA: The Father Divine Story. Her books on Hattie McDaniel and Father Divine have been optioned for film.

Professor Watts was raised in her father’s hometown of San Diego and grew up in the neighborhoods of Emerald Hills and Southeast San Diego. After earning a B.A. in History from UCSD, Professor Watts received an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles. Before returning to San Diego County to teach at California State University San Marcos, she taught at UCLA, Weber State University, Cornell University, and Santa Monica College. She was a fellow at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities and, in 2017, was selected as a Brakebill Distinguished Professor at California State University San Marcos. She has served as the History Department’s Chair, the coordinator of the History Graduate Program, the program director of Film Studies, and the co-director of Women’s Studies.

More about Dr. Watts from Contemporary Authors @ Encyclopedia.com

CONNECT WITH JILL WATTS
WEBSITE | LINKEDIN | FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAM

CONNECT WITH MOCHA GIRLS READ
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#BookBlitz “Speakeasy” by A.M. Dunnewin

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Suspense Thriller / Historical
Date Published: 12/21/2011
Publisher:  Dark Hour Press, LLC
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The novella is centered on Eddie Durante, owner of a speakeasy who’s supported by his mobster uncle—the boss of the Durante family. Eddie is a young widower after his family’s rival, the Caprice family, murdered his wife over a territory dispute. After devising a plan that retaliated against four of the rivaling capos, Eddie is left with the daunting task to try and move on. That is, until he’s notified that the Caprices have put a hit man in the speakeasy—and Eddie’s name is on the list. But things take an unexpected turn when Eddie instead starts to find the dead bodies of his relatives, the ones who had helped in the retaliation.
Behind the backdrop of jazz music and glistening flappers, murder after murder begins to unravel as revenge takes center stage, and Eddie soon learns that some secrets can’t be taken to the grave.

~~~

Excerpt
Once the doors were closed, Sal didn’t take long to get right to the point. “They know it was you, Eddie.”
The words slapped him across the face, but Eddie didn’t respond.
“That you were the one who came up with the idea,” Sal continued. “They’re out for retaliation, and it’s rumored that they’ve sent a torpedo into this juice joint of yours. That’s part of the reason why I’m not being too open with the information. Afraid of who might be listening.”
A hit man in his speakeasy. Eddie stared out the windshield, watching Sal begin to light a cigarette out of the corner of his eye. “I had a lot of ideas,” he remarked hoarsely, fear and dread subtly mixing into his thoughts.
“Only took one,” Sal responded as he lit the cigarette. He silently offered one to Eddie, who refused with a shake of his head. “Sorry, kid,” Sal explained as he took a puff. “After what they did to your wife, I wouldn’t have blamed ya.”
Eddie remained silent, his eyes drifting to the bootleggers who were moving the last of the crates. No wonder they weren’t laying their eyes on him. He was a dead target.
Sal took another drag on his cigarette, taking a moment for himself. “Don’t worry, though,” he finally remarked. “Your family’s got your back. My brother-in-law, your dear uncle, has requested that Joe stay by your side until we can square away if there’s a torpedo and who it is.”
“What?” Eddie balked, shattering his calm exterior.
“It’s temporary,” Sal cooed, trying to calm the young man down. “He’s just some extra protection.”
Eddie gawked, unable to believe that they’d send Joe, of all people, to protect him. “He’s crazy,” was all Eddie could summarize when it came to his cousin.
“He’s happy,” Sal tried to smooth over.
“Trigger happy,” Eddie corrected.
Sal shrugged his shoulders. “He gets the job done. And when the boss’ favorite nephew needs protection, the boss will only send the very best.”
“I don’t need protection,” Eddie fought back, trying not to raise his voice to the lunacy. “And even if I did, I have Anthony and Marcus in there—”
“Little orphan Anthony and Baby Marcus?” Sal choked, half laughing, half sputtering on the cigarette smoke. “Marcus is too naive, and Anthony,” but Sal had to chuckle first before he could continue. “Well, ya better just pray your killer isn’t a female.”
“Thanks for warning me,” Eddie begrudgingly admitted as he pulled the door handle…

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About the Author

A. M. Dunnewin grew up with a taste for mysteries and thrillers, inherited ever so lovingly from her family. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, A. M.’s own stories cover a wide range of genres that tend to take a dark turn when least expected. With a B.A. in Psychology, she’s a gambler of words, obsessed with chai tea, and addicted to books – everything from classical literature to graphic novels. Other hobbies include art, history, music, equestrianism, and a good classic film. She currently dwells in Northern California.
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#BookBlitz “The Last Siren” by EE Sample

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Literary Fiction
Published: September 2019
Publisher: Luminare Press
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He watched her go and felt the chill of the mist blowing in from the Gulf. It fell on his face and mingled with the faint tear that he couldn’t suppress. An elderly couple made their way up the sidewalk and past him on their way inside. They held each other close, huddled beneath a large golf umbrella. He wondered how long they had been together and how long they had left to share their lives. “Think it will rain?” he asked, trying his best to sound cheery. “If it doesn’t, it’s missed a good chance,” the old man replied as they trudged past. Matthew St. James stood in the rain and contemplated missed chances as the Florida sky echoed with the roll of faraway thunder. He had never felt so empty.

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About the Author
EE Sample is an accomplished musician and composer of film music. He currently resides in Florida with his wife and son. This is his first novel.
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RABT Book Tours & PR

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Meet Jules Hayes, author of “The Walls We Build”

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Thank you for stopping by Nesie’s Place today, Jules!

Let’s talk about your new book, The Walls We Build, which has Winston Churchill’s estate, Chartwell, as the backdrop. It centers around three friends and has a dual timeline. Wow! What’s your inspiration for the story?

Lovely starting question, and thank you so much for having me here.
I’ve always been intrigued with the life of Winston Churchill and so when I came across a photo of him addressing his troops in 1943 Tripoli, North Africa, I had that ‘what if’ moment. What if a soldier amongst the crowd was Churchill’s old employee from Chartwell? Perhaps his bricklayer, as I was intrigued with Churchill’s passion for bricklaying in his spare time! Perhaps they had a unique relationship – I liked the idea of juxtaposing the ordinary and the extraordinary man. How will their paths cross again? And in what capacity will Florence, my other main protagonist, and Frank’s friend but true love, fit in to the story? I knew then that at the heart of the novel would be an unconventional love story, as well as a mystery, and all set against the rich backdrop of war and its aftermath. But I also knew too that I needed a present day protagonist, Richard, Frank’s grandson, to untangle the intrigue of the past.

Research books
A pile of books I used for researching The Walls We Build

 Please share an excerpt with us.

This section is told from Florence’s viewpoint in October 1940, the setting is Blitz London. At her lodgings she’s getting ready to attend a fundraiser at the Savoy hotel, invited by Mary Churchill, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s, youngest daughter.

Florence was late getting home from Kings Cross where she’d bought her ticket to go up to Yorkshire to visit Anna; tomorrow’s train, 3 o’clock. First though, was the Savoy bash. Tonight. It was time to wear her dress, and try to be someone she wasn’t. Her mum had told her not to worry, born in the wrong household you were, my girl. You’ll fit into the Savoy as easily and snug as ol’ Cinder’s foot slipped into that slipper. She missed her mum.

Florence surveyed her tiny bedroom but the mirror on the wall was huge and she could see herself in full, nearly. Her feet were missing in her reflection. She didn’t mind this though, because she hadn’t been able to afford new shoes. But as she looked down at her suede turquoise slip-ons that she’d buffed up with an implement Elizabeth had lent her, she was pleased at the match with the emerald green dress.

She’d straightened her hair with irons and put on the reddest lipstick she’d ever worn. She fiddled with her hat. She loved it but was unused to such frivolity in her headwear. It sat precariously on the front of her head, just as the shop assistant had shown her. The ruffles of red fabric seemed to her to be asymmetrical. She pushed and pulled them but finally, after hearing the church clock outside strike six, gave in. She scrutinised her reflection. Not bad. Not bad at all. Momentarily she thought about Frank, guessing the shine in the eyes staring back at her was due to the afternoon in his hotel.

She picked up the red gloves, checked her hat one more time, and left her room.

Florence was ready.

‘You could have come with me, you know, Elizabeth.’ Florence went to sit at the kitchen table, but not before shoving a paper handkerchief under one of the legs of the uneven surface.

‘Not my thing, Florence. I want ol’ Churchill to win the war for us. He is the right man for the job. I mean, he likes a good war doesn’t he? But I hate all that upper-class stuff.’

Elizabeth was at heart a staunch labour supporter, not a commie though, she was always keen to emphasise. Left in her politics, although it didn’t stop her from sleeping with a wealthy man who lived in Knightsbridge. Elizabeth’s socialism was a bit like Churchill’s domestic communism. When it suited. Wednesdays were Elizabeth’s nights with her lover. Florence’s room was the one below where Elizabeth slept. Every Wednesday Florence had to sleep with cotton wool stuffed in her ears, and every Thursday morning there was always a late breakfast. The gentleman politely doffed his cap to her on leaving, a huge smile in place. He reminded her a bit of Mr Churchill, the way he was able to appear quite ordinary and at home with the lower class, in a way peculiar to the confident and rich.

‘It’ll probably be deathly boring,’ Florence said.

Elizabeth grinned. ‘Probably. Lots of lovely food, though, I’m guessing.’

‘I hope so.’

Elizabeth laughed. ‘Never known a girl with an appetite like you.’

Asylum
An image from inside an asylum, which I used to create the asylum in The Walls We Build, where my character Anna is a patient.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

I have three point-of-view characters in The Walls We Build, and I do like all three, but I love Florence the most. She’s ahead of her time, liberated and mischievous, but ultimately she is driven by love, honour and duty. She is the character who has a fair amount of page time in both the past and present sections, and it’s Florence who links the two timeframes.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love reading modern historical fiction, anything from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. I do have a degree in modern history. But I like a modern day thread too, which is why I suppose I tend to often write in this structure. I like a good thriller/mystery and love it when a story set in the past incorporates these elements too.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a biography on Gladstone, a Kate Morton novel and CJ Tudor’s new book!

Where are you from?

I was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire but went to uni in London at 18, where I completed a history degree. I’ve lived in the south east for a long time now, although I’m still a ‘northerner’ at heart. “You can take the girl out of the town but not the town out of the girl” sort of thing!

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

With the publication of The Walls We Build I’m joining the ranks of the Hybrid Author Club, using my pseudonym, Jules Hayes. My debut psychological thriller, Falling Suns by JA Corrigan was published in 2016 (Headline Accent.)

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

For the past 3 years I write pretty much full-time.

Where do you get the most writing done?

I’m lucky as I have a study and its there where I do most of my writing, although in the summer I take my laptop and sit on the patio; sometimes in the summer I also write in our summerhouse at the bottom of the garden. It’s perfect as it has no internet! I have a treadmill in there too, so that comes in handy!

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

We have a very cute cockapoo, champagne-coloured – Harley. He follows me everywhere, although that does change when my daughter comes home from university, when he follows her everywhere and I lose my shadow for a few weeks!

Our dawg, Harley, with his winter coat on!

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I don’t think I’m addicted but that’s what all addicts say! I wish I could sign-out to be honest, but I do find out so much in there and have made a lot of friends on social media. I’m a big Facebook user (that’s my generation my daughter tells me!), not so into Twitter, although I loved it 8 years ago when I first started out writing, but it’s a much more hostile and commercial selling place these days. I’m just getting into Instagram, it’s a forum I like, even if my photography skills aren’t up to much.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on my next Jules Hayes novel – another dual timeline historical, although simultaneously, I’ve also begun work on another JA Corrigan novel, which is a speculative thriller – although still in its early stages.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Success in the literary world is all about stamina, passion and having an extraordinarily thick skin. It’s also about being able to sift through good and bad advice. Interact with other writers, find your tribe, it’s the only way to survive in such a brutal, transitory, mercurial and ultimately, supremely competitive environment.

**Many thanks to Jules Hayes for spending a few minutes with us today! Scroll down to get your copy of The Walls We Build–which is also in the Kindle Unlimited program–and don’t forget to enter her international giveaway. You could be the lucky winner of a signed copy of The Walls We Build!**

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Three friends … 

Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life … 

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.

“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.”  #1 bestselling author, Nicola May

KINDLE UNLIMITED

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Author BioJules Hayes

 Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.

Jules Hayes can be found at:

Website:

Twitter @JulesHayes6

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor

Instagram: JulesHayes6

Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website

Twitter: @juliannwriter

Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann

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Giveaway

Win a Signed copy of The Walls We Build

(Open INTERNATIONALLY)

 E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the link above  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Making of “Love, Lies and Redemption” (Part 2) By Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing Part Two of the making of my historical western romance, coverLove, Lies and Redemption. In the first blog, I talked about how the book came to be and discussed the research involved in writing a historical romance. Today, I’ll explore the characters and touch on another subject—realism.

The book opens with Sam, the hero, bleeding from gunshot wounds and stumbling across the prairie. He’s wondering if he is already dead and suffering in hell for what he has done in the past.

This gives readers initial insight into Sam. Right from the start, we know he has done something that he feels guilty about, and he is harboring secrets. We also learn that Sam is stubborn and not the type of man to give up easily.

When readers meet Cassie in her store, they see that she works hard trying to make her store successful. But they also watch her going through the motions and wondering why she bothers.

Each character is at a crossroads, and everything is about to change for them. As the book progresses, we learn that Cassie is headstrong, independent, and not the type to take guff from Sam, or the people in town. She’s running a store all by herself and doesn’t like to accept help or rely on anyone.

I contrasted Cassie’s independent nature with a secret vulnerability. The consequences of a failed relationship left Cassie emotionally fragile and broken. She says she’s not afraid of anything, but later we learn that’s not true. Deep down, she fears losing the store. She’s also afraid of falling in love with Sam, only to lose him. Cassie has experienced many losses in her life, and she is hesitant to open her heart and trust anyone.

Sam is a noble man who feels he has a debt to pay and a duty to watch over Cassie, and this leads to conflict between them. She doesn’t want to admit that she needs his help, and he is being overprotective of her (or so she thinks…).

Although Sam comes across as honest and open, readers quickly discover that Sam is keeping his past a secret and is hiding his true identity—and much more—from everyone. Sam is a troubled soul who has also experienced a lot of loss in his life. Without giving too much away, readers learn that Sam lost someone very important to him through an act of violence, and he’s set on getting his revenge—and that’s not pretty.

This leads me to my next topic—realism. Before I sat down to write, I did a lot of research about general stores, what life was like in the 1870s, etc., and I learned that life back then was very difficult and much different from how we live today.

People died of infections, diseases, and all sorts of other ailments, and there was the threat of violence to consider. The west was known for being “lawless” and some people took advantage of the fact that you practically could do whatever you wanted.

Life for anyone in the “wild” west was tough. Combine that with the fact that women virtually were the property of their husbands and had no rights, and you have the makings for pretty rough times for women.

I incorporated a few of these elements into the book. How could I not? The setting and time period have to be realistically represented in a historical romance. Although readers might take issue with including violence in a romance, it has a place in the story (to a degree). If everything was too perfect or too pretty, the book would lose the richness in details that bring it—and the characters—to life.

Having Sam face the threat of a potentially lethal infection, Cassie trying to help a woman escape a violent marriage, and Sam admitting the horrific truth of his past, all work together to give the book an authentic feel.

And part of an author’s job (especially when writing historical romances) is to let readers live the story through the eyes and experiences of the characters. One thing authors are told is to make life difficult for your hero and heroine. If there is no conflict or drama, the story becomes dull, and the characters have nothing to strive for and don’t grow.

Yes, I may have put Sam and Cassie (and a few other characters) through an emotional wringer, and yes, they had to face violent situations, but they’re strong and their challenges built up their resilience.

And of course, as in any romance, it all worked out happily-ever-after.

Here’s the book summary:

Love, Lies and Redemption

Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.

As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature, but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?

Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store, but find their efforts are thwarted — and their lives endangered — by the locals.

Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth?

Cassie has everything invested in the store — can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?

Order Love, Lies and Redemption here:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0849LN73Z

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mdzL6W

Want more romance? Visit my site: www.KelliWilkins.com and follow my Facebook pages:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Love, Lies and Redemption. I had a great time creating the characters and I think readers will fall in love with them as much as I have.

I welcome comments and questions from other authors and readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media.

Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

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ABOUT THE AUTHORKelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

In January 2020, Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in November 2019. The book features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Earlier in 2019 she released The Viking’s Witch, a paranormal/historical romance, and Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania.

 Kelli has authored two online writing courses: Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas and Fiction Writing for Beginners. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.