Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Traveling + Writing = Interesting Storyline

Oh, oh,  I missed my May blog, but I  do have an excuse.  Last month I traveled out of the country to Cuba.  What an exciting adventure I had.  The trip was for both business as well as pleasure.  I plan on using some of the locales in Cuba as the backdrop for a future novel.


Right now I'm busy writing the second novel in my Stillwaters Trilogy and I'm using a trip I took to London, England last year as a backdrop for Jolene Carson's storyline.  For those of you who haven't read Someone Like Me, the first book in my series ,  Jolene is the youngest of the three Carson sisters that were introduced in Someone Like Me, and Jolene's quite a character.  I'm having a lot of fun pitting this mouthy fish-out-of-water against the stiff upper lip British.  Having Jolene walk the same streets that I walked in London really brings the story to life.  Meanwhile, there's a really good Four Star Review about Someone Like Me on Amazon.com.  I've taken the liberty of posting it below.

Top Customer Reviews - 4.0 out of 5 stars  HOPE REALIZED!  Very Well Written By Amazon Customer 


FORMAT KINDLE EDITION

This is an excellent writer. I loved how she weaved the characters, this was a very good example of character development.  The Heroine was quite something and enjoyed watching her climb the ladder of hope all by herself.  This was a wonderful story of perseverance, faith, the strength of a woman and most of all HOPE!  Very well done Ms. Rhodes, keep them coming.


I certainly will do that and I'm grateful for the review.  Click the Someone Like Me cover and it will take you to Amazon.com 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SOMEONE LIKE ME is FINALLY RELEASED!!!

After all the teasing and all of the taunting, and especially the stalling, the first book in the Stillwaters romantic suspense series is finally out!  Someone Like Me made its debut at the end of  March on Amazon.com. 

The Stillwaters series follows the lives of three sisters, Wanda, Melanie and Jolene.  Each is a strong, resilient woman who face obstacles in their lives they are determined to overcome.  The  women in this series are all over forty, pushing hard on fifty.  I find writing about more mature women much more interesting.  There is a richness and texture in their lives honed by experience that makes the way adversities are handled much different than those of younger protagonists.  I'm working on the second book in the series and I'm having a ball! 

Click on the book cover for Someone Like Me and it will take you straight to Amazon.com.  The book has received a good review already!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

FREE SIN SERIES EBOOK on SMASHWORDS

ebookweekslippers 


It's READ an E-BOOK Week on the Smashwords.com website and I'm offering SECRETS, for FREE from March 5-11th. During this special week,  my other books in the Sin Series are being slashed to half  price ($1.50) for ONE WEEK ONLY.  Start with the introduction of Reverend Nedra Davis and her fine, bad boy husband, Sinclair, in the book that started it all,  Sin ( only .99), then meet Sinclair and Nedra's best friends, Brandon and Sash, in Sweet Sacrifice, move on to enjoy the stunning revelations in  Secrets and then be intrigued by the mysterious man who will change a lot of lives  in the exciting novel, Strangers.

The latest novel in the Sin Series, Shadows of Love, will be coming  to Smashwords soon.  Presently, Shadows of Love is only available on Amazon.com in Ebook and paperback, and as I've been hyping for two blogs, my new Stillwaters series will start soon with Book #1, Someone Like Me.    

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ANOTHER PEEK AT "SOMEONE LIKE ME"

SOMEONE LIKE ME is still on schedule to be released next month. It seems like I've been dealing with this book forever, but that's because I wanted it to be just right.  The story line is about women's empowerment and SOMEONE LIKE ME is the first in the Stillwaters Series trilogy.  Each book will examine some extraordinary things that happen in the lives of three ordinary sisters and how this changes their lives.  Melanie, the middle sister, is the protagonist in SOMEONE LIKE ME.  Last month I provided readers with a SNEAK PREVIEW  of the book's Prologue.  Below is a sample of  CHAPTER 1:



Ten Years Later

“If you put one more hand on my sister I will stomp you into the ground!” Melanie assured her sister’s ex-boyfriend.  “Wanda told you to get out of her house and you better get out!”
She hoped this fool got the message, especially since she was standing in front of the little shrimp holding a table lamp that she fully intended to use if he didn’t comply.  Her younger sister was standing next to her holding a steel baseball bat, increasing the danger he was in, and she didn’t mince words.
“Get to steppin’, sucker, unless you want some of this.” Jolene was short and as thin as a rail.  At her best weight, she barely tipped the scales at 110 pounds, but she was a fighter, and she was about to bust this man upside his head.  She tightened her hold on the weapon fully prepared to swing.  “I know you don’t think you can break into my sister’s house and threaten her!”
In case he needed more persuasion, Wanda stood by the screen door that he had kicked off its hinges and she was breathing fire.  She was ready to pounce on him too.
Wanda was the exact opposite of her baby sister.  Although average in height, she was a large woman, whose round body still displayed remnants of the shapely young girl she used to be.  Unlike Jolene, Wanda was more mouth than anything else, but there were times that she would spring into action and take care of business.  This was one of those times. 
  
Realizing that he was outnumbered, the diminutive, Willie D, as he was known on the street, backed down.  Enraged, he tossed a barrage of parting curses at the women as he weaved unsteadily out of the house and down the cracked steps of the ramshackled house.  The sisters watched as he tumbled into his oversized sedan and drove away with tires screeching.  It wasn’t until his vehicle was out of sight that Melanie whirled on her sister.
“I’m sick and tired of this, Wanda!  Every time you hook up with these no good men and things go wrong, you call me to help you get out of a jam!”
“I didn’t call you,” Wanda snapped.  “Mama did.  We was on the phone talkin’ when she heard that idiot breaking down my screen door and she panicked.”  Her eyes narrowed.  “Anyway, don’t tell me, since you goin’ to college and all, you too good to help family now.”
“You mean since she’s sittin’ by that computer screen pretendin’ to go to college.”  Jolene sniggered, as she returned the bat back to its usual spot behind the front door. 
Melanie had been taking online college courses for so many years that her efforts had become the bunt of family jokes.
Jolene continued.  “Girl, I told her not to waste her money on that computer.  Them things are a rip-off.”  Wanda nodded in agreement.
“I guess you would know,” Melanie retorted sarcastically.  Sadly, neither of her sisters had ever tried to use one.  The era of technology was leaving them behind.
Ignoring the snide remark, Jolene turned her criticism toward Wanda.  “And Willie D’s actin’ a fool should be a wakeup call to you. Get that landlord to install a security door in this place.”

 Wanda sniffed.  “That cheap ass man ain’t gonna spend no money on somethin’ like that, but I do need one.  On top of it he’s probably gonna charge an arm and leg for that busted screen door even if it wasn’t my fault!”
Melanie snatched her purse up and prepared to leave.  “Why don’t you get that good for nothin’ Willie D to buy one for you?  That’s the least he owes you after all the hell you let him put you through.”
She couldn’t count the number of times the volatile couple had fought during the short time they’d been together and, unfortunately, she had heard about every fight.
Wanda didn’t appreciate her suggestion.  “I ain’t askin’ Willie D for nothin’.  I’m through with him.”
Melanie shrugged.  “Suit yourself.  I’ll see you two.  I’ve got to go.”
Moving swiftly, she hoped that she could get out the door, down the walk and into her car before her sister could say what she knew was coming next.  It didn’t happen.  She had reached the end of the walk when Wanda called out to her. 
“Hey, Melanie, can I borrow a couple of dollars from you to get another screen door?”
Taking a steadying breath, Melanie turned to Wanda.  “You know good and well I don’t have any money to loan you.  I’ve got bills to pay.”
“I’ll pay you back,” Wanda said testily.
“Yeah, just like the hundreds of other times you didn’t.  Besides, it’s the first of the month and you just got your check for the twins.”  Wanda was the legal guardian of her daughter’s two children.

“That little piece of change ain’t gonna get me far and I sure ain’t got no extra money for a door.  I’ve got to pay rent, and buy food…”
“So do I, “Melanie interjected.  “Plus I’ve got to send money to Myra at school.  College is expensive.”
“Oh, Lord!  Here we go with that college mess again.”  Jolene stood in the doorway beside Wanda.  “If Myra had kept her butt in Bauer she wouldn’t need no money.  Damn, Melanie, all your kids are grown and out of the house, you can loan her something!”
“Thanks for your unwanted opinion,” Melanie hollered over the top of the car.  “And since you’re so concerned, why don’t you loan her some money?  Or she can call Willie D!” Sliding inside the car, she slammed the door and drove away.
Melanie was seething.  She was fed up with her sisters’ snide remarks.  It used to be that the three Carson sisters stood together as a united front.  Now it seemed that unless there was a fight she was called to help referee it was two Carson sisters against one.  Things had definitely changed, especially since she had enrolled in college
As she drove to her job at the discount store, she forced herself not to think about them.  Instead, she concentrated on the final exam she had to take tomorrow.  Passing it would mean she would have achieved the goal toward which she had worked for so long—a college education.  She smiled.
Pulling into the parking lot of the strip mall where her job was located she thought about how life would be so much better when she had that piece of paper hanging on her wall.  She hated her job.  The pay was minimal.  The hours were long and the work was boring, but she had a plan that would make things better very soon.  

Her cell phone rang just as she turned off the car ignition.  Melanie didn’t have to look at caller ID.  It was her mother, again, calling about Wanda.
Laying her head on the steering wheel, she took a deep breath to gather her resolve.  She knew that she would need it.  Her family was so predictable.  Reluctantly, she answered, trying not to sound irritated, but she failed.
“Hey, Mama, I’m getting ready to go into work.  What’s wrong now?”
As usual, Faith Carson ignored her middle child’s impatience.  “I want to know why you can’t loan your sister a little bit of money to help her buy a new screen door?”
“What’s wrong with Jolene?  Why are you bugging me?”
“Because you’re the only one workin’ now…”
“Don’t you mean ever,” Melanie shot back.  “I can’t afford to take care of Wanda, Jolene and myself too!  They’re full grown and healthy as horses, let them get up off their behinds and get jobs.”
“I guess that goes for me too.”  Faith sounded offended.
Melanie didn’t bother to address that statement.  Faith had never worked a day in her life.  She never had to.  When she was younger she had been a stunningly beautiful woman.  Her daughters had heard people described her as resembling the great Lena Horne.  There had always been men eager to help pay her bills and do her bidding.  Faith was now in her sixties and still attractive, but lately she had
been between men.  Her income came from babysitting and contributions from her girls—mostly Melanie—who decided to cut this conversation short.
“I’m not loaning her a penny, Mama!  End of story.  I’ve got to clock in now.  Goodbye.”
Disconnecting the call before her mother could say another word, she wanted to scream.  She had worked so hard over the past ten years with the hope that she would eventually get out from under this pressure, both financial and familial.  Would this ever end? 

She had tried so hard to do everything right.  She had gone to night school to get her G.E.D.  After that, she had commuted back and forth from Bauer to the town of Anders, thirty miles away, traveling by car, by bus, anyway she could get there, in order to attend the community college, so that she could earn an Associate degree.  When she failed at that effort, she didn’t give up.  For the last six years she had been taking online college courses working toward a Bachelor’s degree.  No matter the setbacks, personal or financial, in spite of the skepticism and ridicule of her mother, her sisters, and her fellow employees, she had been steadfast in her efforts.  Only her daughter Myra, and her mother’s best friend, Emma Owens, had been there for support.  Sometimes she felt as though she was on a merry-go-round, spinning faster and faster out of control.  There had to be that brass ring at the end of this ride.  There just had to be.
Steeling herself to go inside to her job, Melanie repeated the mantra that had gotten her through everything in life that she had endured:  Soonvery soonthings will be better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A BRIEF SAMPLE OF SOMEONE LIKE ME

Okay, I managed to do my first posting for 2017 the last day in January!  My goal to update my blog on a regular basis is still intact.  The RELEASE DATE for the first book in my new STILLWATERS SERIES, titled SOMEONE LIKE ME, will be sometime in March, 2017. 

The series follows the lives of three sisters, ordinary women who experience extraordinary events that changes their lives.  Here's a sample:


PROLOGUE
 


Tears trickled down Melanie Taylor’s cheeks as she recalled the judge’s declaration.

“Frank Taylor, Jr., I hereby sentence you to 15 years in the state penitentiary.”

That meant that her oldest child would be thirty-five years old if he served the time without parole.

“What was Frankie thinking when he robbed that store?”  Her question wasn’t directed to anyone in the car in particular, but her mother thought that she might have the answer.

“It was them drugs that caused that boy to do that,” Faith Carson declared.

That truth only sharpened the pain that already shrouded Melanie in misery.  Her child was a crack addict.  He had been high when he committed the crime.  Her older sister, Wanda, didn’t make her feel any better.

“That boy’s just like his Daddy.  He never did listen to a thing nobody had to tell him.  Look where that got him.”

Melanie rolled her eyes at her.  She suspected that the only reason Wanda had volunteered to drive her home from the courthouse was to gloat over Melanie’s failure as a mother.  Of course, Wanda couldn’t be voted Mother of the Year.  Her two sons were in and out of jail constantly and her daughter was on drugs.  Melanie’s younger sister, Jolene, hadn’t fared much better as a parent either with her three boys.  She hadn’t even raised them.

Just like their mother, each of the sisters had been teenage mothers. Between the three of them they had a total of ten children with Melanie being the only one who had married the father of her children.  But that decision turned out to be a disaster.

Giving a plaintive sigh, Melanie looked out the window at the passing scenery, seeing nothing.  This was not the life that she wanted for herself and her children.  How had things gone so wrong?

She couldn’t remember when she wasn’t struggling financially.  For most of her life, public assistance had been her main source of income, supplemented now and then by minimum wage jobs that kept her living from hand to mouth.  Her childhood dreams and ambitions had faded long ago.

Following in the footsteps of the other women in their family, Melanie’s oldest daughter, Layla, had two kids by the age of seventeen.  Her younger son, Paul, was a high school dropout and spent his days hanging out on the streets.  Melanie feared what would happen to her youngest child, Myra.

“Will we ever see Frankie again?”  The nine year old asked, looking up at her mother with fear filled eyes.

Melanie tried to muster a smile.  “Yes, we will.  We’ll go visit him whenever we can.”

She knew that she sounded more confident than she felt.  The prison where her son would be sent was hundreds of miles away.  Getting there wouldn’t be easy.  Her old car was always in the shop, and money for the round trip bus ticket wasn’t readily available.

Lord, she was tired of this day to day fight for survival.  She was weary of sacrificing her children to despair.  Things had to change, if not for her then for the child sitting beside her.

Myra was her only hope that one of her children might make it out of the cycle of poverty that had weighed her family down for so long.  Her baby girl was smart.  She was a straight A student, and according to her teachers, she had a bright future.  Yet, what chance did she have with a mother who hadn’t even graduated from high school?

At that moment Melanie Taylor made a life altering decision.  She swore to herself and on the life of her youngest child that a change was going to be made.

Monday, December 12, 2016

I'M BACK TO SIN AGAIN!

It seems like I'm not very good at updating this blog, but at least I'm constantly working on something new. The first novel in my new three part Stillwaters Series is titled Someone Like Me, and it's in the final editing stage.  It should be released early next year.  At least that's the plan. 

In Someone Like Me, former welfare mother, MELANIE TAYLOR,  meets multi-millionaire  SCOTT STILLWATERS and sparks fly.  Is it possible for a serious romantic relationship to blossom between these two very different people?  We'll see. 

Meanwhile, the Sin Series is still in full swing.  I'm offering a 99 cent special on the novel SIN at Smashwords.com.  The link for SIN is http://smashwords.com/b/337141, simply use the COUPON CODE XY47Z to get the discount.

Until the next time, keep reading!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

SPECIAL JULY OFFER FOR SIN SERIES TITLES!

It seems like forever since I've been on this blog, and it has been.  But, in my defense, I have been busy.  Among other things, I've been working on getting my next novel ready for release.  The title is SOMEONE LIKE ME and it's the first work in my new Stillwaters book series.  I'll be posting updates on this as the release date draws closer.  I hope it doesn't take me as long to release this one as it did for me to get SHADOWS OF LOVE out.  

Meanwhile, through JULY 31, 2016, four novels in the Sin Series are on sale in a Summer Special Promotion being offered on Smashwords.com.  Just CLICK the BOOK COVERS on the right or the LINKS below and get SIN for FREE and the other three books for half price at Smashwords.com.  What a deal!

SIN - http://smashwords.com/b/337141   

SWEET SACRIFICE - http://smashwords.com/b/146760  

SECRETS - http://smashwords.com/b/209925   

STRANGERS - http://smashwords.com/b/304807 

Happy Reading!!!!