Our Home School Journey- The First Week of School!!!

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The First Day of School! Both of my kids sitting at their own work space; my daughter is on her father’s computer and my son is working on the brand new computer sent by the Georgia Cyber Academy.

A few weeks ago, I announced on my blog and other social network platforms, that my husband and I made the decision to take our two youngest kids’ education into our own hands. After several months of disappointment and watching the standard of education grow increasingly worse, we decided pulling them out of the traditional brick-and-mortar school and enrolling them into a home school program was what we needed to do. And after one week, I am more than sure that our decision was the best for our kids!

Before I go any further, I have to say this: When I un-enrolled my kids from their middle schools, (my son was in a regular middle school, while my daughter was in a Magnet middle school), I was not only irritated, I was very disappointed in the negative feedback the schools counselors gave me when I told them about our decision. Did I walk in the door singing the praises of home schooling and telling them to their faces how disappointed I was to ask my kids every day what they learned and their faces went blank, only to hear about all the negative issues they experienced when NOT getting their questions answered or understanding what an assignment was all about? Did I go in throwing teachers names around, complaining about the lack of communication, help, and attention my kids had received? No, I didn’t. I simply walked in, notified them of the need to withdraw my kids. Simple. Then the conversation went like this:

Counselor: So what school are they transferring to?

Me: We’re home schooling them. They’ve been accepted into the Georgia Cyber Academy.

Counselor: Home school? Do you know how many parents pull their kids out, get tired of it and come running back crying to enroll their kids? They should have left them here.

Me: *Quietly fuming and holding my tongue, trying my best not to tell her exactly how I feel about this school because going off on her would not be setting a good example for my children at this moment.*

Counselor: Some parent’s bite off more than they can chew. Well, just know, once they’re enrolled, you can’t bring them back until next year.

Me: I don’t plan on bringing them back. My husband and I have made a decision that’s best for our kids. We’ve got this.

Counselor: *smirks as she walks off to get the paperwork completed*

I can’t tell you the amount of cursing that went on under my breath! Did I ask this woman for her personal opinion? Who was she to tell me that I would fail in undertaking this journey? I carried my children in my womb for nine months. I gave birth to them and have taken care of them all of their lives. My husband and I know how intelligent our kids are and how to work with them to help them understand in ways teachers don’t. All we need are the tools to guide them in the right direction. And that is exactly what the Georgia Cyber academy has given us. For FREE!!!!

Sorry to rant a bit, but that seriously pissed me off! So, parents…if you decide this path is what you want to take, your school is going to feel the need to have something negative to say about it. I’d like to think it was because they were truly concerned about my kids’ education, but let’s be real. It’s all about numbers. The more kids they have enrolled in their school, the more money they can get from the state. Period. Personally, I prefer my tax dollars to go to the program that’s working for my kids!

Now, onto the good stuff! There is so much information to share! I can’t do it all in one post, so for now I’ll stick to the basics of this week.

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‘Live’ Life Science class where the teacher is revealing blacked out answers to questions she’s asked the students.

Our first day back from Christmas Break starts with enthusiasm from my daughter, and grumpiness from my son, who was under the misguided impression that ‘home school’ meant sleeping in and getting work done when he decides to get up….NOT!!!

I dive in with gusto and make a nice breakfast, excited to get the day started. Once the kids wipe the sleep from their eyes, they realize they are about to embark on a new experience. It’s no longer something we talk about…it’s happening…right now! Their eyes beaming, they are in their seats by 8:30 and ready to go! (My goal is to keep them on as normal  a schedule as possible, so they don’t feel the need to forget the daytime is about learning, not chilling out and getting to it when they feel like it.

Like all schools, there is a brief adjustment period for new students and their teachers to get to know one another. My kids are enrolling in the new semester, joining other kids who have been here since school started in August. Just like enrolling into a brand new school, it takes time to get schedules set up, and home room teachers assigned. But with the Georgia Cyber Academy, they take it a step farther.

The first week is all about the teachers assessing the students and their individual learning abilities. The kids have their own log in profiles, (to which the parents have complete access to through an account of their own), and a day-to-day outline of activities in Science, Math, English/Language Arts, and Social Studies. The assignments for the day are outlined in their student accounts, and is also available in the parent’s account.

The program has sent everything they need to ensure they have full access to the state’s mandatory curriculum. Test books, student work books, literature books for reading assignments (no need to run to the library or book store for a specific novel!), as well as the fun stuff, like a microscope, slides, rocks, sand, and various other items typically found in a Science class room. And my favorite….a brand new computer and Ink Jet printer! The point is, my kids have everything they need to continue getting the same type, if not better, education in the comfort of home, as they would if they were in a brick-and-mortar school.

My husband and I have access to books of our own – learning coach guides- which deal with the breakdown of each subject they are studying, along with answer keys to the worksheets done for practice. There are also plenty of online recordings for us to take advantage of when we need help, live support classes, and the ability to email the teachers or other parents for one-on-one assistance and encouragement if we get confused or discouraged.

The first thing my kids do when logging in to check their daily schedules is see what classes require online ‘live’ class participation. Simply put, that means they follow a link from their schedules which takes them to a virtual class room filled with other students in their grade. There are two teachers in the room along with however many students log in at that time. The classes are recorded for those who may not be available to join at that time or for students to return to in case there is something they don’t understand. Awesome, right?

Instead of the traditional chalk board seen in brick-and-mortar schools, the teachers present Power Point presentations. They can use a virtual mouse to point to different things and use a virtual ‘pen’ to write on the ‘white board’. At times, they turn on a function that allows the kids to use their mouse and write on the board as well. All of this can be seen by other students. There are many opportunities for class participation through reading out loud. How is this done? The teacher can pick a student, or they can raise their ‘virtual hand’, and the teacher will turn on their microphone (also provided by the school) so they can read from the slide presentation. How cool is that? My son loves this and takes advantage of it as many times as he can.  There are also review questions asked where the students answer by putting their comments in the chat box. The teachers are quick to acknowledge their responses by calling their names as their answers hit the screen. Students are also sent study guides and the Power Point Presentation which they can save to their computer for quick reference, or print out for their folders.

As I said, there is a lot of stuff to share, but one thing I know for sure, this next week will be different. Remember when I stated the work they did last week was a part of evaluating their learning abilities? The teachers have reviewed their test (yes, they have online tests taken per unit, and believe me, how that works is an entirely different story!) From now on, the teachers will tailor their weekly assignments to them specifically. Can’t wait to see how that goes!

Oh and one more thing, and this is amazing….

My son and daughter, ages thirteen and twelve, who have fussed and argued nearly every day during Christmas break, spent the week laughing, helping each other if there was something in an assignment the other didn’t understand, and even worked together doing chores….only ONE ARGUMENT during the entire week!!!! If I had to guess, it was because for once, they were not under any negative influences or stress they dealt with during a regular school day. And that among everything else, makes this entire experience worthwhile!

Look out for my next post in two weeks!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow this blog!

MJ

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I Got My T-Shirt!!!!!

Remember my post last week about receiving the book review of A Heart Not Easily Broken by The Masquerade Crew? If not, read the post: I Got Reviewed by the Masquerade Crew and Survived!!! So imagine my surprise when I logged on to Twitter this morning and found this tweet:  

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And if that wasn’t enough to make me smile through sleepy eyes, this tweet followed:

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And what a great post it is! Check it out!

The Leap of Faith of Book Reviews

So, if your looking for a honest review (and I’m not saying that we never receive any from readers because believe me, I have, both good and bad!), be sure to check them out! Their review policy is listed on their site so read it carefully and know what your signing up for! Like I said in my previous blog, I’m glad I did and will happily do it again! 

Happy Reading! 

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog! 

MJ

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Page Turner Book Tours Celebrates it’s First Year of Service!

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PTBT opened their doors a year ago and has grown from strength to strength working with some amazing authors along the way. This year the official .com site was opened, a dedicated team of graphics designers joined the team and PTBT became the official host for all tours under 5 Prince Publishing.

The story doesn’t stop there…

There are already plans for further improvements and many more tours to be held in the future along with further charity work.

We hope that you will check them out at this link: http://pageturnerbooktours.com

During July PTBT are offering the following discounts:

1 week tour – 1 additional day

2 week tour – $63.75 – 2 additional days

3 week tour – $85 – 3 additional days

4 week tour – $170 – 4 additional days

These discounts are good for a year AS LONG AS the tour is booked and paid for in July 2013.

Working for Page Turner Book Tours has been amazing. I have met some amazing people, worked with some fantastic books and been privileged to be part of some amazing journeys. I know there will be great things to come for PTBT and I am excited to meet every request, author and to discover the wonderful books that I work with. Thank you to everyone on the past year who has worked with PTBT you are all amazing and I am so have been part of your journey. Here’s to the next fantastic year!” ~ Kate, Owner/Tour Coordinator PTBT

 I have been blessed to have had a long professional relationship with Kate and Page Turner Book Tours. Her organization of the tours and cover launches has always exceeded our expectations. She is thorough and knows what she’s doing. I believed enough in the company that Page Turner Book Tours is the official coordinator for 5 Prince Publishing. Kate sets up tours for our cover/book launches, for each of our authors, as well as book tours. Her prices are very fair and that helps individuals and small businesses. I give Kate and Page Turner Book Tours 5 STARS, for their consistently good service, well managed tours, and comfort level when working with them. If you are looking to promote yourself or your book I highly recommend Page Turner Book Tours.” – Bernadette Soehner, CEO, 5 Prince Publishing, Lost And Found Tour Details

 I enjoyed working with Page Turner Book Tours in 2012 for my second Lash Series Book, Shadow Man. Kate was able to arrange far more stops than I’d initially hoped for, and also garnered my book several five star reviews! The spreadsheet she gave me to work from had all the relevant contact information to write tailored engaging posts for each site, and she fulfilled every part of the agreement to create and deliver signature prizes for the tour. She tried her very best to make my tour the best it could be. The best recommendation is that I will be using her services again this summer to promote another coauthored work!

 Service: At least half of service is value for the money spent. Kate gives great packages and I feel I got a very good value for the money I spent with her. She was knowledgeable and answered my questions in a timely fashion. I especially appreciated the reviews as part of the package, of which almost all were favorable.

 Communication: the other half of service for this type of promotion is communication, and Kate was very good in that aspect as well. For my tour, I had a total of 5 interviews to complete, along with 12 guest posts. She got me info for topics and interview questions as soon as she had them, which helped me stay ahead and on time with my side of the tour.

 Overall tour running: 5 starsTara Fox Hall, Author, Lash Tour Details

I have had the pleasure of working with Page Turner Book Tours for just a few short months. When I first contacted Kate and told her what I was looking for, she helped walk me through everything that they could do, what it would entail on my part as well as what was to be expected from her and Page Turner Book Tours.

Every time I have any questions Kate is sure to replay quickly. I have not encountered many problems while working with Page Turner Book Tours other than a few Bloggers did not follow through on their end. Which, I by no means, hold against Page Turner Book Tours.

Kate does a wonderful job communicating what is needed by all her bloggers, if you are interested then you just let her know and she does the rest. All you have to do as a blogger is set it up to go on your scheduled date.

Overall I think Kate and Page Turner Book Tours do a wonderful job with their Press Releases, Interviews, Book reviews and scheduling who needs to be where and what time.  I would give Page Turner Book Tours 5 out of 5 stars!” ~ Marie, 5 Prince Publishing

 Page Turner Book Tours is a great resource for authors and I have personally found Kate and her tour company to be worth their weight in gold! I have worked with Kate on book tours for myself and I have even joined book tours for other authors as a host. Each time I have found Kate to be absolutely wonderful to work with. With many tours running consecutively Kate is adept and masterful as she customizes each tour to the specific author and his/her book.

 Kate is a marvelous coordinator and I can’t wait to work with her in the future on a book tour.  If you are looking for a company to schedule a tour, than I recommend working with Kate at Page Turner Book Tours. She will customize a tour specifically for you and work with book bloggers making your tour run as easy as possible leaving you with a sense of satisfaction and a great tour experience!

 Page Turner Book tours is definitely a five star company!” M.M. Shelley, Murder On Mars Tour Details

 Click here for more information! 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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#Guest Post- Hearts in Exile by Mysti Parker

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Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea, lies an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.

Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard’s High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria’s inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae’s descendants happy. Never in her life did she imagine being a Dragon Keeper.

Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn’s tyranny and the dark god Tyr’s abominations. But none of that compares to the ten years of hell he’s been without Loralee, presumed dead.

One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to re-establish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.

Amazon USA      Amazon UK

Excerpt From Chapter Three:

After a shipwreck, Sir Robert wakes up in a strange cottage, only to find Loralee, the love of his life, whom he thought had been dead for a decade…

“I don’t understand. What is this place?”

“It’s an island. Very few know of its existence.”

I shook my head, trying to clear the fog of this confusing dream come to life. “But, why would you be here, and why would you be sorry? Unless…”

The words wouldn’t come. My racing mind pitched in to help. Unless she didn’t want to marry me after all.

Wrenching pain I’d kept tucked inside broke free, and I clambered to my feet. Loralee followed suit, backing herself into the small dining table.

I tried, but could not hide the bitter anger in my words. “How could you do this to me? Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?”

Her eyes widened. She clutched the table with one hand and her robe with the other. “What you’ve been through? I didn’t want this. I was forced here.”

“What do you mean, forced here? Where are your shackles?” My voice roared through the little cottage as I gestured around me with one arm. “Where are the bars? This looks like no prison I’ve ever seen.”

Her voice cracked the air, rivaling with my own. “I was betrayed, forced into exile. Don’t you understand? I never wanted to leave you. I never wanted anything so much as I wanted you.”

Pacing away, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I had to calm myself, to let the weight of this discovery, the improbability of her explanation to sink into my water-logged brain.

I couldn’t bring myself to look at her just yet, so I stared at my bare feet instead. “Why didn’t you tell me, write to me?”

“I tried. I begged the supply ship crew to bring my letters to you. They always took them, but never brought one in return. I suspect they destroyed them, but I had no way of knowing.” She sucked in a shaky breath as though trying to hold back her tears. “I never stopped loving you.”

Turning back to face her, I felt like a mindless beast. Here I was, raging against the love of my life when she’d all but been brought back from the dead.

“Loralee.” I eased toward her. She cringed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Without a word, I leaned in and pressed my forehead to hers, allowing myself to breathe in her scent for the first time in a decade. We stood suspended like that for a while, lost in time, and emerging from a purgatory neither of us had imagined ten years ago. I would have been content to stand like that forever, but Loralee burst into tears and wilted to the floor.

I followed her down and opened the quilt to wrap us both inside. I held her tight while she cried.

While I cried.

I finally got enough breath to speak again. “What did you mean by forced here? They told me you were…” I couldn’t say it, not with her warm and so very alive against me.

“I know.”

The weight of it all came crashing down on me. “This is my fault, isn’t it? You’re here because of me.”

She made no attempt to wipe her cheeks, but shook her head and stared at the rafters as though entreating the gods. “No, it’s not your fault. Not at all. There is so much to explain, I don’t know where to start.”

I couldn’t comprehend any of it, so I focused on the here and now. “You found me on the shore?”

She nodded.

“The crew, Francis…did you find anyone else out there?”

“No, I had Xax-, I mean, no, I searched but didn’t find anyone else.”

The familiar weight of grief squeezed my chest, and a few more tears escaped before I could stop them.

She pulled me close and whispered, “I’m so sorry. I know how much you loved him. We all did.”

“We all grieved for you. You’ve been here…all this time?”

“Yes.”

“By the gods, Loralee, I’ve missed you so much.” I put my wet cheek against hers and pressed my lips to her soft skin. “Part of me died the day I thought you… please…just tell me how you ended up here.”

Loralee took a few deep breaths and finally pulled away from me. She caressed my cheek and smiled weakly.  “I’ll make us a pot of tea. And then, I think we should start at the beginning, back to the Great Plague and when we first met. Do you remember that?”

Smiling past the sadness, I covered her hand with mine and closed my eyes. “How could I ever forget?”

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Mysti Parker is having a contest along with her virtual book tour for her latest book, Hearts in Exile. For anyone who buys a copy and forwards their receipt to her at mystiparker@yahoo.com, she’ll enter you into a drawing to win a really nice pack of prizes valued at ~$50!

 ***To see photos of the prizes, you can click on this Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/519253418129437/***

Mysti Parker author pic

About the Author:

Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

 Blog     Facebook Page      Twitter      Goodreads

Tallenmere Series:

 A Ranger’s Tale, Tallenmere #1     Serenya’s Song, Tallenmere #2      Hearts in Exile, Tallenmere #3

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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#8Sunday- Things said in anger…

No matter how much we love someone, there are times when even they cross the line. The result? Arguments that lead to hurt feeling or even worse, lack of trust. While my stories have a happy ending, the reality is love has it’s ups and downs. Here’s an example from my latest release, JADED…

Excerpt: 

“You don’t know how many times I wanted to tell you, how close I came to telling you. I am so sorry! I should have listened to myself and not your mother.”

I pursed my lips and held up a hand. “No, don’t apologize now, it’s way too late. There’s nothing you can say or do to make me change the way I feel about you right now.”

Yasmine sunk to her knees on the floor in front of me, sobbing.

“I’m gone.”

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What was the argument about? Can they find their way back to happiness? Buy your copy of JADED (Book 2 of The Butterfly Memoirs) today and find out!

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Available for just $3.99!

 

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

***Read as a STAND-ALONE or as part of The Butterfly Memoirs series!***

Looking for Book 1? Follow this link to learn more about A Heart Not Easily Broken!

Follow this link to more #8Sunday Samples!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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#FridayFeatures- The Only Option by Deatri King-Bey

Before I begin writing a novel, I’ve already seen the entire plot run through my mind like a movie. As I write, the storyline pours from my fingertips, but with improvements from what appeared originally on the movie screen in my mind. My latest novel, The Only Option, was a completely different experience for me. The heroine had been harassing me for years, but I didn’t listen to her. Why? That’s an excellent question I wished I knew the answer to.

 A few months ago, she said, “No more. It’s my turn.” Yeah, I hear voices. That’s why I write. I figured I might as well get paid for my psychosis. Anywhooo, I began writing The Only Option, but didn’t have any idea what the plot was about or even the genre. On one hand I was terrified! For me writing without some sort of game plan is like taking a road trip without knowing the destination. Some people find that exciting. I’m not one of them.

So I begin writing and knew from the moment Jonah (the hero) saw Isis (the heroine) that The Only Option would be a romance. This fit in my comfort zone, so all was good with the world. I continued writing and BAM. I was smacked in the head by the plot’s base, arranged marriage. I’m not a big fan of arranged marriage books. I’ve read a few I like, but I don’t go out of my way to look for them. So imagine my surprise when I found myself writing a romance with an arranged marriage. All kinds of stuff went through my mind, but I kept writing their story and I fell in love with Isis and Jonah.

With that being said, I thank my characters for harassing me until they get what they want.

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African-American Romance/Multicultural Romance

 Sane upwardly-mobile women don’t agree to enter into arranged marriages… Or do they

Control freak Jonah Tazi comes from a long line of arranged marriages, but the thought of his parents picking his bride never sat well with him. Time is working against Jonah, so he reluctantly agrees to allow his father to find him a proper bride. Then he meets Isis and becomes infatuated with the vibrant, funny, and talented woman. A powerful man used to getting exactly what he wants, exactly when he wants it, he is unprepared when Isis doesn’t agree to his proposal immediately. Now he is determined to convince her (and everyone else) that he and Isis belong together. Jonah intends to be her only option.

Isis Michaels has always been sheltered by her father. The tables have turned, and now she must shelter him. Isis rearranges her life and will do whatever it takes to please her father during the time he has left—almost anything. It becomes clear that he wants to see her settled before he passes. Is marrying Jonah, a man she’s emotionally and physically attracted to but just met, her only option?

Here’s a little sample. Enjoy

Excerpt: 

Chapter 1 

“Dad, you’re not choosing my wife.” Adjusting his earpiece, Jonah exited the elevator. Fifteen minutes early for an acquisition meeting, he considered himself late.

“You’re a lot closer to forty than thirty. People are starting to talk.”

“I don’t care.” Artwork lined either side of the hallway. The priceless collection had taken Jonah years to build and there were more pieces to acquire.

“Well, I do. Three years. Three years ago you promised to dedicate time to finding a wife.”

“I’ve been busy running a multibillion-dollar corporation.”

“I was just as busy as my father and his father before him. We’ve always had arranged marriages. That didn’t change when my father moved to this country. He did an excellent job of choosing my wife.”

“You’re divorced.” Jonah’s grandfather had moved his wife from Morocco to the United States shortly after their marriage. The majority of the family remained in Morocco and Spain along with many of their traditions. Jonah’s selection of a wife went beyond tradition. As the only son, Jonah believed it was his duty to produce at least one heir to carry on the Tazi name. Time had slipped by too quickly for him to find a wife. A control freak, he hated the idea of his father choosing his wife, but he didn’t see an alternative.

Attracted to the maturity of women his own age, if he waited much longer, the type of woman Jonah wanted wouldn’t be of childbearing age. “Fine, I’ll get married. I take it you have suitable options in mind?”

“Of course I do. I’ll have your assistant set up the meetings.”

“Speaking of meetings, I have one in thirteen minutes. We can talk later.” Jonah disconnected and continued along the hallway. Originally, he’d tried to acquire D. M. Solutions two years ago, but the owner wouldn’t consider his offer.

He rounded the corner, then stopped in his tracks. Few people had access to his private floor, so seeing a woman standing dangerously close to his Auguste Rodin sculpture shocked him. What drew him even more than her presence were her legs. Quite tall himself, he rarely met a woman who reached his shoulders. He’d give his Rembrandt to have her legs wrapped around him as he pushed into her.

Soon he’d be selecting a wife and other women would be off-limits. Currently a free man, Jonah had no intention of allowing the long-legged lovely to pass him by.

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Buy Your Copy Today! 

Print, Kindle, and Nook

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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New Romantic-Suspense SPLIT DECISIONS by bestselling author Carmen DeSousa is now available!

Split Decisions is a follow-up novel to the romantic-suspense bestseller She Belongs to Me. While you do not have to read the first book to enjoy the second, we believe you should have the option, so click here to avoid spoilers.

 If you’re still here, read on for a first peek at Split Decisions and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Split Decisions - Final Cover

Sometimes you want something so badly you are willing to abandon everything you’ve ever known—including yourself.

Eighteen years ago, Jaynee Monroe married the man of her dreams, became the mother of four, and fulfilled her career goals. About to turn forty, she senses something is missing from her idyllic life. While Googling her name in an attempt to find herself, she unearths something so impossible, she contemplates her own sanity. Seeking answers, she embarks on a journey to discover the truth, only to end up abducted by a deranged stranger who insists on calling her Caycee.

Caycee took the road less traveled. Rejecting a marriage proposal from the only decent man she ever knew, she ventures to California to become famous. Eighteen years later, success has left her alone and miserable. Attempting to locate her lost love on Facebook, she discovers his infatuation with her. Not only does his presumed-dead wife have Caycee’s uncommon middle name, it appears he has photo-shopped her face over hers.

Never could Caycee and Jaynee have imagined decisions they made years earlier would threaten not only their lives but also their loved ones. Caycee must now reunite with the southern gent she dismissed eighteen years ago and convince him to accompany her to New York to locate his wife, the most important person in both their lives.

 Download Split Decisions here:

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5 Prince Publishing Release Day: Rocky Road by Susan Lohrer!

Welcome and congratulations to  new 5 Prince Publishing author, Susan Lohrer!

Correct cover- RockyRoad3 (1)

Physical therapist Nancy Anne Robertson has her sights set on her dream promotion. Problem #1: she’s engaged to one of her patients, and if her secret gets out, she’ll lose her job altogether. Problem #2: her ex-fiancé is back in town, shooting for the same promotion. Complicating matters are two mothers (and one fiancé) with alarming secrets, an autistic brother with a penchant for wandering off at the most inconvenient times, and four rings—the fake diamond kind, the stolen kind, the sticky wax kind that belongs under a toilet . . . and maybe, just maybe, the kind meant to make a girl say I do.

Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

Wouldn’t someone who really wanted to get married be a little more careful than this? Not that Ancy doubted Mark’s intentions. He was he One. And she wouldn’t nag him about it.

Honestly though, severing most of the nerves in his hand should’ve been enough for one week—but no! He had to go and whop himself on the head too. It wasn’t like Mark to be this accident-prone, and he’d been

getting worse over the last few months. Working too hard so he’d be a good provider, no doubt. that’s just the kind of guy he was. She smiled, visualizing him in a black tux.

Focusing on her impending nuptials usually distracted her from thinking about whether she’d make department head. And lately, her im-pending groom had been more than enough distraction.

She checked the temperature of the paraffin tub. “This’ll feel a little hot, but it’ll help with flexibility.” He grimaced as she dipped his right hand into the warm wax. Then he gave her bum a squeeze with the left

one. “Quit it before someone sees us.”

Since he wasn’t dragging his feet—that much seemed obvious—why couldn’t he stay in one piece long enough to put some professional distance between them?

“Mark, you’ve dropped a wall on your head, nailed your foot to the floor, and dislocated your shoulder. Are you trying to get out of our wedding?”

Whoops. She bit her lip and glanced over her shoulder. Outpatient Physical Therapy was crowded in the afternoon. he last thing she needed was for someone to overhear her in a lover’s spat… with her patient. That would not only prevent her promotion to department head, it would end her career. Instantly. Working quickly, she covered the warm wax with a plastic bag, then slipped a padded mitten over the whole thing to lock in the heat.

If only there were a simple way to get around the patient-therapist dating taboo. But because her specialty was post-traumatic hand rehabilitation, she was the therapist most qualified to care for Mark’s injuries—so she and Mark were forced into secrecy until he regained the use of his hand. “Well, couldn’t you try to be just a little more careful?” She kept her voice to a low hiss. “At this rate, I’ll be ninety by the time we even set the date.”

“Aw Ancy, a few more weeks and this thing will be as good as new.” He grinned and held up his thickly swaddled hand.

Yeah, right. She’d treated her share of injuries. his one was far from pretty, even though she hadn’t seen it until after the surgery. His poor body.

“Please just be more careful. I want to wear my ring on my finger, not on my necklace where no one can see it.” She displayed her perfectly healthy left hand, its third finger perfectly naked. Did Mark have any idea how hard it was on her to keep this a secret? And not just from the department—from Jen, her best friend in the whole world.

Though she was the one best qualified to treat Mark, Jen—perky, sexy Jen—could have treated his injuries. But then Jen and Mark—not that she didn’t trust him—but why create temptation by throwing her beefcake fiancé into the capable arms of her best friend? Besides, every difficult PT case brought her another step closer to becoming department head. She couldn’t risk losing that kind of security, not when she almost had it in her grasp.

“Promise me you’ll be careful.”

“You worry too much.” He looked so hot when he gave her that wink that said she could count on him no matter what.

“Mark, I’m serious.” She added a stern, professional note to her voice as Doris Ridgewood, the department head—who was due for retirement any second—passed by. “You have to take some time of work to rest. If you don’t, you’ll never regain full use of your hand.”

Doris nodded approvingly and continued on her way.

Mark leaned close. “It’s kind of exciting, don’t you think, Ance?”

“What is?” She checked her watch. Almost time to unwrap the hand and work on scar mobility.

“Knowing you’ll be mine to have and to hold.” He waggled his dark brows meaningfully. “His hand is going to make a full recovery, and you know what I’m gonna do with it.”

She could feel the blood rushing from her extremities, and probably from a few vital organs, straight to her face.

Jen, between patients, was walking past. Had she overheard Mark’s titanically not-suitable-for-work innuendo? She slowed. Cocked her head. Pivoted on her heels. Ancy’s promotion slithered down to the pit of her belly as Jen marched up to her and pulled her aside, a thunderstorm brewing in her eyes. “Is this guy giving you a hard time?”

Fresh guilt welled up inside Ancy, and she was sure her cheeks were as red as if Jen had targeted her with a laser pointer. Jen didn’t have a clue, and it made Ancy feel like a big, fat liar.

“I um, got something in my eye.” Jen shot her a strange look. But it was the only thing Ancy could think of on such short notice. She turned away and pretended to wipe at her face. When she looked again, Jen was

with another patient. Ancy had never kept a secret from her best friend before, and she was starting to hate the way it made her feel.

Maybe she should tell Jen and just get this whole thing of her shoulders. But then Jen would be obligated to tell Doris, and Ancy wouldn’t blame her if she did. And she’d lose her job. Her watch’s second hand swept up to the 12.

Back to Mark. The mitten, the bag, and the wax came of, and she began to manipulate his hand through range-of-motion exercises, bending and stretching all his fingers, careful not to apply too much pressure

to the still-healing surgery scars. His hands were muscular. Strong hands, dependable hands. the hands of a man who would stand by her through whatever life threw at them. And he wouldn’t leave her the way Steve had. he way her father had left her family.

“Nice technique, Ancy.” Doris’s voice behind her shoulder made her flinch. The woman didn’t approach like a normal person, she appeared. Ancy had never once heard her coming. “Young man,” Doris said, skimming over the floor and coming to stand beside Ancy, “our Miss Robertson is highly qualified in her specialty. She’s one of the best.”

Wow. It wasn’t every day Doris handed out a compliment like that. Could it reflect an intention to recommend Ancy for the promotion?

“Of course, Fidelity General Hospital is soon to be blessed with a second, equally qualified therapist. He’s one of our alumni. Your case might prove especially interesting to him.” She glided away, and Ancy pictured Doris as a young, heavy-browed girl balancing a book on her head.

Her mind was racing. “Mark, do you realize what this means? It’s the answer to our problems.” Because an equally qualified therapist who didn’t have her seniority could take over Mark’s case without threatening her

promotion. Then the bit about the alumnus sank in.

“Ouch, let go!” Mark’s face contorted.

Ancy loosened her grip immediately and banished the unsettling thought from her mind. “I’m sorry.” She returned to her work on his hand and whispered, “You can switch to the new therapist, and we can come out in the open.”

She pulled the curtain halfway around the bench for a little more privacy before starting to work on Mark’s other injuries. These weren’t as serious as the one to his hand, and while she concentrated on deltoidius, trapezius, and rhomboideus major and minor, she couldn’t help but notice Mark’s build on a more superficial level, which was part of the reason she’d pulled the curtain. Half the staff would be drooling over him if they saw his bare chest.

As it was, all she could manage to say to him when she finished the examination was, “Looks good.”

The curtain behind her swished open, and the scent of Obsession for Men filled her mind with images from the past.

Steven Stone.

Steve and her, training together, working together.

Steve, the only guy who’d ever made an effort to understand her autistic brother and had never made fun of him.

Steve and her, in his fossil fuel–burning Mustang….

Steve… the second and last man who’d walked out of her life. A wall slammed down in her heart.

It couldn’t be him. She made herself turn around. Her arm brushed The paraffin tub, and liquid wax sloshed over the sides. A distant splash marked its landing on the floor.

Her heart did that funny flipping thing that made her breath catch in her throat.

It was him.

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Susan Lohrer

About the Author: 

Susan Lohrer grew up all over western Canada and lives in BC with her husband, their two children who are still at home, three dogs, and far too many aquariums. She believes life is always better with a healthy dose of humor.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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Farewell to High School Class of 2013!!!

IMG_0637[1]After six years of watching my son go from an excited sixth grader who’s lifetime goal it was to play the music he heard while watching The Lord of the Rings, and learning to play the bass, we have reached another major milestone: graduating from high school.

Into The Woods- Youth Orchestra- 2011

Into The Woods- Youth Orchestra- 2011

For the past four years, Kris has matured not only as a young man, but also as a musician. His musical accomplishments are dreams that have come to fruition. Some of the most memorable high lights included: winning the position of Principle Bass Player for the Alliance Theater production of the Broadway musical, Into the Woods (2011), and a spot in the 2012 and 2013 Statewide Honor Orchestra. He was also a member of the Mount Zion High School Jazz Band and has won awards there as well. But as I write,  my eyes fill with tears knowing  my son, whom I have watched grow from an infant with long legs and arms, to a 6” 2′ man, is about to embark on another journey in his life…college. In the fall he will start his pursuit of a Bachelor of Music degree and has been accepted into the Clayton State University Music Program. His goal is to become a music teacher and give back to the community and youth by teaching the benefits of music in our lives.

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Chilling at home playing the bass guitar.

Watching him walk the Georgia Dome football field among the other talented kids (his friends) who have come in and out of my home over the past few years was a moment I will never forget. Tears didn’t come to my eyes until after the ceremony when we found him in the courtyard. It was a moment of tears for our entire family: our first born has moved into adulthood.

One down…three more to go! 🙂

Here are some of my favorite musical highlights: 

The Mount Zion High School Jazz Band performing Livin’ My Life Like It’s Golden by Jill Scott

Palladio, by Karl Jenkins. This song was featured in a diamond commercial, one I am sure you’ll recognize the moment it comes on.  These was performed by the 2013 Georgia All-State Honor Orchestra. By the way, they learned this and three other difficult pieces of music in 8 hours! As the orchestra director, Thomas Joiner, pointed out, professionals often take weeks to learn these pieces. I couldn’t be prouder!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Deciding what genre you write should not be this difficult!!!!

Finding the Correct Genre For Your ProseOkay, admit it, we’ve all been there. You get an idea; invest time, tears, aggravation, and determination to write it all down. Then you struggle with letting it go long enough for a friend or relative to read it. You gird yourself emotionally (or at least you try to) while you listen to their feedback, then cry when in private. Despite however many edits it takes to tell your tale, one of the first questions asked by your reader is, “What genre do you write?”

You would think it would be easy to say, (fill in the blank), but not these days. Genres no longer carry the simple tags of Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Drama, and Sci-Fi. There are sub-genres to these popular book categories that muddy the waters when it comes to deciding exactly where your manuscript fits in. Not to mention, new categories seem to pop up every day. Ever heard of Science Fiction/Alternative History? Me neither, but it is out there!

So, how do you find out if your manuscript fits into one, or more, of these sub-genres?

Well let’s start with defining what a fiction genre is. Visit this link, Exploring Different Types of Genre, which is found on the For Dummies website.

To summarize, here are the two main types of literal and commercial fiction:

Commercial fiction: Attracts a broad audience and may also fall into any sub-genre such as mystery, romance, legal thriller, western, science fiction, and more. (Example: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Popular authors in this genre include John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and Jackie Collins.)

Literary fiction: Appeals to a smaller, more intellectual audience. Works in this genre can fall into the above listed genres. The difference is the qualities it contains: excellent writing, originality of thought and style. These qualities raise it above the level of ordinary written works. (Examples: Cold Mountain by Frazier. Popular authors in this genre include Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsover, John LeCarre, and Saul Bellow. )

The article goes on to describe the main genres, as well as list the sub-genres and its most popular authors. Visiting this link provides valuable information to help you discover where you fit in, as well as where to best promote your work when it’s published.  The site also provides links to the Writers of America website for each genre for more detailed descriptions and the accepted rules.

For those of you on a time crunch who don’t have time to read the full article, but want to find our more information about your genre, here are the links:

Mystery Writers of America        Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America      Western Writers of America

So, where does my writing fit in? While I writer Romance, because I ‘break the rules’, the stories I tell fall into several categories.

The settings are modern day which puts me in Contemporary Romance.

Though I write from the female and male point of view, the stores are mostly about women’s issues and the ability to overcome, which places me in Women’s Fiction.

My characters are not all from one race. The heroines in the first three novels of The Butterfly Memoirs are an African-American, Caucasian-African-American, and Caucasian. The heroes are Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic. This puts me in the Interracial Romance category. Unfortunately, this is a relatively new category that is just now being acknowledged by the publishing industry. (Here’s a great blog post written by a fellow author on this topic: Interracial Romance: The Most Popular Genre No One’s Heard About.)

And last but not least, because I am an African-American author, anything I write, regardless of the topics, writing style, or genre, I am automatically placed in the African-American genre before anything else is considered.

So, where does YOUR story fit? Good luck with figuring it out!

MJ