#8Sunday- Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs) – Dreams

Have you ever found yourself  working at a job that, even though your good at it, is not right for you? Have you ever wanted to break away and do your own thing? Your not alone…

Excerpt:

“You’re supposed to be training me to manage the new location.”

I groaned. Hearing about the third Phillips’ Family Inn was not on the top of my list of things to talk about. I appreciated the family business, especially since we sacrificed so much to open the original location twelve years ago. Since graduating college, Id been in charge of the daily ins and outs of the second location. I ran the place as if it were my own. However, it was not what I saw myself doing five years from now.

My dream didn’t have anything to do with hotel management.

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Jaded will be available from 5 Prince Publishing on in FOUR MORE DAYS!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read A Heart Not Easily Broken, grab your copy today so you can catch up!!!

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

#TeaserTuesday – Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs)

We’re almost there!!!!!!

I am beyond excited about the release of my second novel, Jaded. For months I’ve forced myself to not talk share too much information. Questions and comments from readers have been torturer!!!

But now the ban is lifted!

Yasmine and Zachariah’s story has been close to my heart since the moment I wrote “The End” on A Heart Not Easily Broken. Read the book and you’ll understand.  If you enjoyed Ebony and Brian’s story, I have no doubt there are many of you who will be able to empathize with the characters of Jaded in ways that will surprise you.

My previous posts and snippets for #8Sunday have all been from Yasmine’s POV. This time I want to introduce you to the voice of the hero, Zachariah Givens.

Excerpt:

Yasmine was an amazing woman. I didn’t know her, yet she’d gone beyond anything I expected when it came to my mother. Why hadn’t Melissa been that way? I could count on one hand the amount of times I’d asked her to help me and exactly how many times she’d agreed to help with minimal fuss.

Yasmine dispelled my preconceived notions. She was nothing like what I imagined. As the saying goes, appearances could be deceiving. I wondered what else lay beneath her beautiful exterior.

“I’d like to take you out sometime to thank you. Maybe we could meet for dinner.”

The line went silent.

“Are you asking me on a date, Zack?”

“No, no, not a date, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to use my mother to…that’s sounds awful.  What I mean is I wanted to do something to thank you for agreeing to help me…us. It would be strictly platonic with no expectations. Damn, I’m sorry. I didn’t think to ask if you were in a relationship. I’m sure your boyfriend wouldn’t want you to be seen with another man.”

She laughed again, but this time there was nervousness in her voice. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to shoot you down. No, there’s not a man in my life. You’re a nice guy, Zack, and I like you. I don’t want you to waste your time trying to hit on me because I’m not looking for a relationship. I don’t want to make things awkward between us.”

I’d say they were awkward already. “I understand. I’m not dating either. It’s complicated. Maybe we can swap war stories sometime.”

“Maybe.” She paused. “I’ll be swamped for the next week or two. Maybe we could do it in a few weeks.”

“Sure, no pressure here. Like I said, it’s my way to say thank you.”

“Okay. Well, I have to go. I have a ton of calls to make and little time to make them. Just let me know when you need me.  This is my cell number so you can call or text night or day. If I happen to snap your head off when I answer, just ignore it, especially if you reach me in the morning.”

“Not a morning person, I remember.” It was my turn to laugh. “Thanks again, Yasmine.”

I stared at the phone when the line went dead. What just happened? Did a woman I didn’t know agree to help me care for my mother? Why? What did she get out of it? Nothing that I could see. My mother and I were going to be the ones getting the benefit of her time. I got my promotion; my mother would spend time with a young woman she apparently liked a lot.

The only problem I could foresee was Yasmine being put in the middle of my mother’s matchmaking attempts. Well, at least we’d already established neither of us was in the market for a relationship. I would make sure my mother understood so she wouldn’t pressure Yasmine into changing her mind.

I dialed my mother’s number to share the good news.

Of all the words spoken, the one thing that stayed on my mind was the fact this beautiful woman was single.

What could a man have done to a woman that amazing, that sexy, that…openhearted, to walk away from her?

Whoever he was, he had to be an idiot. If I was in the market and had a chance at being with her, I’d do my damndest to make her happy. There would never be a reason for her to wonder about my feelings.

The love of a woman like Yasmine Phillips had to be treated with the utmost care and respect. Her every need, physical, mental, and emotional, would be my number one priority.

It was a waste of time thinking about it. The line was drawn in the sand between us.

The only thing to do would be to enjoy her company. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Zachariah, how are you?” My mom’s voice disrupted my thoughts.

“I’m good. I’ve got some good news for you…”

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Jaded will be available from 5 Prince Publishing on March  7th!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read A Heart Not Easily Broken, grab your copy today so you can catch up!!!

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

MJ

Support and Sacrifice in a Relationship: When Dreams Are Not Your Own

(This was originally posted on The Butterfly Memoirs Blog on 8/7/12)

I found this article the other day and had to share: (for the full article, click the link below)

‘One of the key components of a relationship is the support that two people provide for each other, yet it is typically one of the most overlooked aspects of choosing the perfect mate. A relationship that is built upon mutual support will overcome just about any obstacles that two individuals encounter along the way.

Lack of support in a relationship can surface in many ways. It can be something as simple as a failure to be sympathetic when a mate has had a bad day at work, to the major support that is required when embarking on a new business endeavor or during life changing events. 

Support can take on many forms, but in the broadest sense, it is the willingness of two people in a relationship to lift and encourage each other to be the best that they can be. It is also the willingness for each of the individuals to be there for each other through both good and bad times.’ (For the rest of this article, visit WorldVilliage)

Looks. Personality. Goals. Sexual Attraction. All are important during the beginning stages of a relationship.

Over time, personalities clash, good looks fade, and the intense sexual attraction experienced in the beginning can simmer.

In A Heart Not Easily Broken, finding a supportive relationship is one of the key things that aids Ebony’s decision to ignore the color of Brian’s skin and focus on building a relationship.

“He’s persistent, that’s for sure. He kept after me even when I told him no. And he is a hard worker, not a slacker at all. He doesn’t use his love of music as an excuse not to work in the meantime. He’s very realistic about what he wants and is supportive of my dreams. That’s what I love most about him.”– Ebony Campbell when talking about her boyfriend, Brian Young.

It is because of this supportive and loving relationship, the two of them are able to make it through the tough trial they face.

So, do you support your significant other?

Do you go out of your way to help them reach their dreams? How important is it to you that your mate support your life goals? Be it a new job, a life changing career, or the decision to move away from their family and closer to yours. How important is it to you that you have their support in return?

MJ
 


What Makes a Woman Independent?

(This was originally posted on The Butterfly Memoirs Blog on 5/1/12)
Independence. It’s something everyone, male or female,  yearn for as a child, even more so when they reach their teens. High school graduates are anxious to move out of their parent’s homes and spread their metaphorical ‘wings’ as they break free of their cocoons. No longer larva, or caterpillars, they are now butterflies. The word independent has various meanings, twenty, according to dictionary.com. Yet, when it comes to the sexes, independence is a word with both positive and negative connotations, especially for women. Let’s explore a few of those meanings.in*de*pend*ent (adjective)1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinkerPretty self-explanatory, it could go for both men and women. This is the level teens strive for when separating themselves from their parents.

2. not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free: an independent businessman 

If your self-employed, you have this mindset; you have to in order to make ends meet.

3. not relying on another or others for aid or support

This could go either way, male or female, depending on whether or not they are financially able to take care of themselves without combining their income with others (roommates; renting a room)  in order to make ends meet.

4.rejecting others aid or support; refusing to be under obligation to others

Again, this could also be a male or female. This way of thinking is about  pride not allowing them to do otherwise. Even if that means running up every credit card, or worse, becoming enraged when others offer them assistance.

5. expressive of a spirit of independence; self-confident; unconstrained: a free and independent citizen

This one, in my opinion, would be where most independent women, (those who feel there is no need for a man in their life or significant other), tend to fall.

Is this type of independence the kind every woman dreams of? Is it what they truly want out of life? Or do they feel or act that way because of what life has thrown at them? Are the daily challenges they face forcing them to take on that mentality in order to survive?

Does a woman really want complete independent from romantic attachments for the rest of her life?

That is one of the questions asked throughout the The Butterfly Memoirs Series.

In the first novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, we meet Ebony Campbell.  She is smart, independent, and focused on reaching her goal. Since graduating high school, she has made it her life ambition to get her degree of Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine so she can get her dream job of becoming a veterinarian at the Los Angeles Zoo.  For seven years, she hasn’t allowed a relationship to distract her.

In Ebony’s Words:

“I don’t have time to get into a real relationship right now.  Finishing this last year of college is my focus. I’ve got to get that veterinarian job at the zoo, I’ve worked too hard to mess up now. Besides, I don’t need a man to take care of me. Financially. Having a nice body to lie against is a different story.”-Ebony

With that mentality, would it be possible for her to abandon that way of thinking  if the right man came along? What would he have to say or do to make her feel differently?  Buy a copy of A Heart Not Easily Broken in order to find out.  But I must say,  this is NOT your typical  romance! Life, love, tragedy, and triumph are the subject matters of my novels. But despite it all, there is a happy ending along with life lessons learned.

This  one is for all my independent ladies…Independent, by  Destiny’s Child. When you done singing and shaking your grove thing, be sure to leave a comment!

     

 

Here’s some food for thought…..
“A woman does not need a man to feel complete. Neither does she need to be single to be independent.” ~Mariluz Lozada
So, are you and independent woman? 
MJ


The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Thanks to Carol Fragale of 4 Broad Minds for tagging me for this honor! I have had the privilege and sharing blogs with her and several other talented Women’s Fiction authors on Goodreads.  So…let’s play!

Ten Questions About My Latest  WIP:

Autumn landscape1. What is the working title of your book? Jaded, Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs (Currently in the hands of my editor.) Release date is March 7, 2013.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? The story line is based on a secondary character in my first novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Yasmine Phillips, who is the best friend of the heroine, Ebony Campbell. Though the  novel focuses on Ebony, there are a few chapters where the reader is introduced to Yasmine to show where she is in her life. She’s ambitious, a hard worker, and full of self-confidence, especially when it comes to her relationships with men. She’s all about friends-with-benefit. During the course of the story, she winds up engaged to her main hook up. Everything seems to be working out until Ebony drops a bomb on her happy moment and she discovers her new fiance is not the man she thought he was. Jaded picks up two months later when we find Yasmine still reeling from the heart break of her engagement. Shes decided to give up on relationships of any kind and focus on finding herself.  She’s been working on a business  to start her own small business. Entrepreneurship is nothing new. She’s grown up watching her parents build and maintain their own business, a Bed and Breakfast chain of hotels, since she was in high school. Upon graduating collage, the chain expanded opening a second location. She’s managed the hotel for the past three years. During the course of the novel, Yasmine finds herself in a relationship that has her struggling to decide whether she is ready to open her heart up and give love another chance.

3. What is the genre of this book? Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, Interracial Romance

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition? Oh, that’s easy! My male lead would be Columbus Short! He is exactly how I pictured Zachariah Givens while writing. For Yasmine, it would be a mix between Zoe Saldana or Megan Good.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? After heart break leaves Yasmine devastated, she must decide if fighting for love is worth the risk of  losing the woman she’s become.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher? I am Indie published through 5 Prince Publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I outlined the novel first, but from there it took 29 days to write my rough draft, complete with errors and no edits…about 85,000 words.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I would have to say the first novel in the series, A Heart Not Easily Broken. I have worked hard to develop my own style of storytelling, so I can’t think of anyone to compare it to.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? My stories are based on themes and ‘what if’ scenarios. Jaded deals with several themes: women as entrepreneurs, reaching your goals without the support of family, opening yourself up to love after heartbreak, friends-with-benefits relationships, dealing with sick family members, and knowing when to trust yourself to follow your heart.

10. What else about your book might pique the readers interest? If you’ve read A Heart Not Easily Broken and got to know Yasmine, the truth she learns at the novels end will have you wanting to know what happens to her. As I said before, one moment she’s in her happy place, then without warning her outlook on love will never be the same. You will want to know if and how Yasmine Phillips finds her Happily Ever After.

Whew! That wasn’t too bad!

The three authors I’d like to tag to introduce their Next Big Thing are: Nia Forrester, Candace Shaw, and Sharon C. Cooper!  Enjoy!

MJ

#TeaserTuesday- A Heart Not Easily Broken- Family Influence

No matter what race you are, falling in love and introducing that significant other to your family can be a trying experience.

What if my family doesn’t like them? What if they think they are not good enough for me? What if….????  The list can go on an on.

The tension is compounded when you are in an interracial relationship. When do you let your family decide what’s best for you and when do you go with your heart?

In this excerpt, Ebony gets an unexpected phone call from her older sister, Lashana who lives hundreds of miles away…

Excerpt:

“Why haven’t you called Momma? She’s been dying to call you for the past few weeks. I’ve been keeping her preoccupied to give you some breathing room.”

“Thanks.” She’d been running interference since my move to California. Seven years later and my mother still had a hard time with it.

“We thought you would call on the Fourth of July. That was how long ago?” she asked pointedly.

“I was preoccupied at the time.” Thoughts of lying in Brian’s arms that night made me smile.

“Translation, you were doing the horizontal mambo with Patrick. Didn’t you guys break up?”

“We did, months ago. He’s getting married by the way.”

“Damn. Okay,” she drawled. “If it wasn’t him then it was someone else. Come on; let it out. It’s my job as big sister to make sure you’ve got your head on straight.”

“I do have my head on straight.”

“Oh, you’re snippy. Interesting. Don’t hold back, girl, spill the beans.”

I sighed. It doesn’t matter what she or anyone else in my family thinks.

Yeah right.

“His name is Brian. He plays in a band.”

“Okay…”

“He owns a lawn maintenance business and plans to get hired working for a recording studio soon.” I cursed silently.

There was no reason for me to try and convince her of anything. Talking up Brian’s attributes would never make a difference to my family. He could damn near be Donald Trump rich and they’d still have something to say about his race. But then again…

“Let me get this straight. He’s in a band. He cuts grass for a living, and his dream job is to work in a studio? How old is this guy?” She laughed through the phone. “He sounds straight out of high school. Not to mention, you’re studying to be a doctor, well not a human doctor, but still. You need someone who’s more on your level. A real professional.”

Her comments set my teeth on edge. Brian’s career choice made no difference to me. He worked hard and was good with everything he did. He had goals and was on his way to meeting them. That’s what mattered to me.

My family seemed to believe my ideal man would have a well-paying job. And be black.

“And what black man does that?” she continued. “Wouldn’t he be out trying to be a rapper?”

“He’s white, Shana.”

I could practically hear the crickets from back home chirping through the phone.

“Did you say I’m right? Something must be wrong with the connection because it sounded like you said he was white.”

I steeled myself for her retort. “Brian is white.”

“Oh. Hell. No. What are you doing messing with a white guy, Ebony? Are you crazy?” she hissed.

“No, I’m not crazy. I’m just…Brian’s a really nice guy. I decided to give him a chance.”

“Give him a chance? You slept with him, didn’t you?”

“That’s none of your business, Shana. The way you’re acting right now is why I didn’t bother telling you in the first place.” I fought to keep my voice down.

Why waste time getting upset?

“Excuse me; you have noticed racism still exists, right? What good is being with a white man going to do for you? I could understand if he had a good job and made a lot of money, but damn, he sounds as broke as you. And, oh, God, what if you got knocked up?”

I wanted to scream. “He’s not going to knock me up. I’m being safe.”

The line went quiet. “I’m calling Trevon.”

“What does he have to do with this?”

Lashana didn’t answer, only clicked over and left me on a dead line.

I’d long since gotten off the bed and paced back and forth across my room. I was too close to blowing a blood vessel.

“Hello? Ebony, is everything okay?” Trevon’s deep voice broke the silence.

I hadn’t heard my twin’s voice in months. We emailed each other all the time, but catching each other on the phone proved difficult due to the time zone differences and our work schedules. I worked during the day, and he worked at night.

“No, it is not,” Lashana’s aggravated voice broke in.

“Yes, it is, Tre, I don’t know why she called you. It’s not going to make me change my mind,” I said.

“So nobody’s hurt or dying, right?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“Our sister’s gonna be swinging from a tree if she doesn’t watch it,” Lashana said.

“Shana! I can’t believe you! I’m not in the South, and this is not 1950,” I bellowed.

“Whoa, whoa, will somebody please tell me what the hell is going on with the two of you?”

“Your twin is dating a white man,” Lashana interjected.

“We’ve been seeing each other for a while, but it’s not that serious.”  Yet.

“Really? But you’ve slept with him,” she retorted.

“You slept with Tony on your second date!” I threw back at her. “Don’t try to call me a ‘ho.”

“Ladies.”Trevon chuckled. “Calm down. Man, this reminds me of home. I always refereed. First of all, nobody’s a ‘ho, though, Shana, Eb’s got you there.”

“Oh, grow up,” she said sourly.

“I have, quite nicely. Now, let me get this straight, Eb, you’ve gone white?”

I pinched the bridge of my nose, attempting to kill the headache threatening to emerge. “Yes. He’s a good man, better than some knuckleheads I’ve been with since moving here. He took me to meet his family over the holiday at his parents’ house­”

“Oh, God,” Lashana mumbled.

“They have no problem with our relationship,” I added quickly. “Especially his sisters. Sorry I can’t say the same of my own.”

“I find that hard to believe,” she said.

“Are you serious about this guy? Does he treat you right?” Trevon had remained silent during our verbal sparring.

I knew then Trevon was on my side. He always understood me. Even as children he always had my back.

“Yes, I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t. To be honest, I have no idea where this could go. Marriage isn’t what either of us is looking for. I like spending time with him because he’s not domineering and doesn’t expect me to live up to his expectations. He can put up with my mouth­”

“He must be the silent type,” Lashana muttered.

“No, he’s the ‘likes-the-way-I- talk-and-gives-it-right-back-to-me type’.” I chuckled. “He’s persistent, that’s for sure. He kept after me even when I told him no. And he is a hard worker, not a slacker at all. He doesn’t use his love of music as an excuse not to work in the meantime. He’s very realistic about what he wants and is supportive of my dreams. That’s what I love most about him.”

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BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

 

 

Social Networking for Writers: Good, Bad, or Just a Waste of Time?

My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

t My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

Some people say good, other’s say a waste of time.  I believe it’s all in how you work it.

Nearly everyone one who has access to the internet has some type of social presence, be it Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, Linkedin, Instagram, Pintrest, and I am sure that’s just naming the most popular ones. My point is: readers are online. They chat about what they like and don’t like, what’s the latest trending topic, who’s got the hottest new book, and so on and so forth.

How can that benefit a writer?

No matter what type of new technology there is, nothing works as well as word of mouth. Well, think of social networking as the digital version of the age old form of publicity. The trick is how to use it.

I’ve read various blogs that say they feel it’s a waste: “All you do is try and sell your books to other authors, nobody is gonna buy because we’re all trying to get paid.”

True and false.

First of all, authors are readers, too, not just writers. We like to read a good book, discover an unknown talent, and be entertained. That’s why we write!

And yes, if you’re an unknown author, a majority of people you first connect with on social networking sites are other authors. Why? Because those authors have experience  – some more, some less than you – on how to connect with readers. Networking can teach you the ropes on navigating a new site, the best new advertising technique, where to find the best deals for self-publishing, or publishers who are looking for new material. Not to mention book signing events, (yes, even with eBook’s being the big thing, readers would still like to have their paperbacks and Kindle/Nook covers signed). But when connecting with these seasoned pros, don’t just go in for the help, talk to them, get to know  them, and yes, read their work, make an honest new friend. Support them and guess what…they will support you.Hold up, say what?????Yes, it’s true, other authors can and will help you! But don’t get it twisted, it’s a two-way street!

Networking with other authors is simple and not hard to do. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you asked to guest post/interview/feature on an author’s blog, be sure to give them the information requested in a timely manner, drop by the post to comment, and, if you have a blog, be willing to reciprocate the favor in the future. After all, when they have you on their site, it’s exposing your work to their followers/readers. You should be willing to do the same.
  • When you have a chance to read their work, do so! Talk to them (via private chat/emails) about what they did when writing, discuss writing techniques. You’ll be surprised by how much you have in common when writing. Also, you may learn a few things not only about the writer as a person, but  something that can help you become a better writer too!
  • There’s nothing wrong with shouting out a fellow author or posting a good review if you really enjoyed the story! Remember when your mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? The same goes here to. Remember, you want to support your fellow author and in turn, encourage them to do the same for you. Spreading negativity will not only turn them off, but others as well.
  • Remain a professional at ALL times. Your online presence is your digital business card.  Know when to comment on a post and when to keep your personal feelings to yourself. Don’t get caught up in negativity, political, or social issues unless it pertains to your work. Remember, your looking to establish a fan base. Fans follow authors they like wherever they can be found. Possible fans will read your post/comments, etc. and decide whether or not they want to connect with you. Also, other authors your looking to connect with may decide to avoid getting caught up in your drama, therefore cutting you out of the loop. Giving off a negative presence can ruin your writing career, no matter how long you’ve been in the game.

Above all, remember….there are millions of readers, and thousands of authors. Nobody can put out a book a week, so expecting to hog all the readers is very unrealistic. Readers want to be exposed to new writing styles, and stories. Remember, if you write a good story, they will love your work, but while they wait anxiously for your next book, they want to read something else. Expose them to an author you like and they will appreciate you more for it.

And it’s not just something an Indie Author can do….

Take a look at the back cover of your favorite NYT Bestselling Author. Other than the ever popular critique review, you’ll also find comments and shout outs from other NYT authors. Now that’s what you call having each other’s back!

MJ

Announcing the Blog Tour for A Heart Not Easily Broken!

I am proud to announce the official blog tour to celebrate the release of my debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken!!!
Starting the day of the eBook release, September 20, 2012, there will be numerous interviews over various blog sites on the web. The tour will end September 28th, 2012. Follow the tour to learn about me, how I started writing, why I write, the creation of the characters and the Butterfly Memoirs series! Along the way there will be character interviews, deleted scenes, and sneak peeks into the novel itself!
But wait, there’s more!

I will also be holding my FIRST CONTEST!!!  And who doesn’t love a contest!

In appreciation for all of the support I’ve received during my writing journey, I want say thank you for the encouraging comments and feedback! As a bonus for taking the time to visit these blogs – and showing the blog host some love – I will be giving away an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the paperback version of A Heart Not Easily Broken!
That’s right! For all of you who still love the smell of a paperback book, feeling the weight of it in your hand, and having it displayed on your book shelf, someone is going to win one!

(But if you can’t wait until October 4th to get that paper back, download a FREE KINDLE APP and grab your eBook copy today!!!!)

The contest rules and directions will be posted on both this site as well as the home for The Butterfly Memoirs Series. I will be shouting out reminders daily as well has posting all the host links so that if you miss a day you will still be able to catch up!
By the way, if you don’t have an eReader and would like to purchase the book the day it releases in eBook format, don’t fear!!! Did you know that you can download FREE KINDLE APPS for your laptop, iPad, Tablet, and Smartphones? There’s even one that allows you to read on your browser! And they are all FREE!! Follow this link and find out how you can get one of these free applications, then got to Amazon and purchase the novel! (On release day, Septmeber 20th!)  I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Until later, Happy Reading!

MJ

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