How Important is Branding to an Unpublished Author or Published Author?

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Branding, we’ve all heard of it. Products such as Tide with the large orange bottle, McDonald’s and those unforgettable golden arches, and then there is Chili’s and the green jalapeno pepper, to name a few. These and many more can be found in nearly every town, on TV, and on the web. Each of them has one thing in common: the use of color, shape, or item represents the company and products they sell.

How does this relate to an author, published or unpublished?

When a publishing house prints a book, the covers are unique to each book, but have you noticed that no matter how many books an author publishes with that line, the font of their name is (usually) the same? If the book is part of a series, regardless of what number it is, the main title will be the same, for example, the Harry Potter series.  The colors change from cover to cover, but the font remains the same.  This allows fans to find it when scanning the shelves of libraries and book stores. Think about it, do you read each and every name on the cover when looking for your favorite author, or do you allow your eyes to find the size, shape, and ever familiar font of the authors name to know you’ve found what you were looking for?

Did you know you don’t have to be a published author to develop your brand? I established mine before I began querying.

Let me tell you how…

In 2010, upon the advice of those around me, I started a blog. The point of blogging was to help me improve my writing skills. The experience taught me how to engage an audience and receive feedback and participation through comments. And while I was nowhere near ready to publish anything I wrote, I did build a following. The more I shared my experiences, the more people followed my blog. I also established connections via popular social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.  Visitors to my blog connected with me online, and online connections started visiting my blog. It was months before I upgraded my online presence ‘picture’ from a downloaded image of a heart and book to being brave enough to show my face.  And wouldn’t you know it, the moment I put my picture up, my following on all platforms increased!

Without realizing it, my face became a part of my brand. No matter what social networking site I am attached to, you’re going to find the same picture, same name…easy recognition.

Next came creating a brand, or theme, for the books. The Butterfly Memoirs series is a Contemporary Romance novel that features interracial couples dealing with real life issues. I knew from the moment I started writing my covers would not have the typical Man/Woman embarrassing or half naked. I like symbolism in my stories and I carry that theme in my covers. The series covers will always consist of two main elements, a butterfly to symbolize the female character as well as the image of something that represents the male character in the book.

As for the series itself, I have a logo of a butterfly imprinted into a wax seal that says ‘The Butterfly Memoirs’ and my name, thus branding the series. So anytime you see my picture, logo, or book cover, you’ll know it’s me.

Though you may not be writing a series, you still need to build a brand for yourself and for your audience. Here are a few simple tips, and the best part, they don’t cost a thing!

Branding your online image:

Here are a few tips on taking an author picture without spending a lot of money. Remember, your picture introduces you to your readers. As they say, a picture says a thousand words!

  • Photography equipment: If you can’t afford a professional headshot, take advantage of the features of your digital camera or cell phone camera.
  • Setting: Plain back grounds or simple settings work best. The key is to engage with the reader, not have them wonder where you were when the picture was taken.
  • Wardrobe: Keep it simple! Use solid colors that compliment you. Keep away from strips and patterns because they are distracting. Ladies, keep that jewelry simple, guys, don’t forget to shave or tighten up that hair cut! (Of course, if grungy or over the top is what you’re going for as your ‘persona’, have fun!) *TIP: If you study my picture, you’ll see I wear a butterfly ring that is facing the camera and not away. I am pulling my book/series brand into my image. It’s subliminal branding!
  • Posing: Be comfortable! Don’t try some awkward pose that will translate pain in your eyes though your lips are smiling. Be natural, focus on the camera, and imagine you’re looking directly at your reader. Keep your mind clear…negative thoughts will translate through your facial features no matter how hard you try! Sell yourself!
  • Editing: When done, upload your picture and crop it to take out any blank spaces, once again, the focus should be on you. Readers want to know who YOU are. Off centered images with dead spaces are distracting as well as poor lighting.
  • Sharing: Now that you have your picture, share it with the world! Post it on all of your networking sites so readers will recognize you, no matter where they are! Most people recognize and remember faces before names. If you have one picture on Facebook, and another on Twitter, and yet another on Google+, fans will be unsure if it’s you. Keep it uniform! If at any time you change or update your photo, be sure to change it on all of your sites. **Ignore the urge to change it up every few weeks! Even though your name may be sitting beside the image, people recognize faces before names. Again, it’s branding! After all, McDonald’s doesn’t change the color or shape of their golden arches!**

Branding your style as an author:

  • Your writing style and the way you give voice to your characters is a part of your brand. Read books from two of your favorite authors. Notice how the authors writing style/voice varies from one another, yet, when you read more than one of their books, each of their stories have a similar tone, speech pattern, or even use of particular phrases that distinguishes their writing style from someone else’s. So should yours.
  • Interactions with fans on social media can make or break you. How many times have you come across offensive, political, or highly opinionated posts or tweets that have offended you or left you with a sour taste in your mouth about the commenter? Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but beware of using your social presence as a showcase for your opinions. Readers now have access to you online and will pay close attention to what you have to say. Make your post count. There are times to joke; there are times to be professional. There are times when your fingers need to be still on the keyboard and you avoid addressing a comment, even if it stings. The last thing you want to do is turn off a fan due to your political views or personal feelings. Instead, use your online presence as a way to build your fan base, sharing information about you, your books, and upcoming projects. Fans these days love author/reader interaction. As Indie authors, we have a chance to do what many NYT Bestsellers can’t…talk to our fans on a regular bases. Readers love it!
  • Make your online presence known. Websites are the home base of your brand, the place where a reader can be directed and learn everything about you. This can be done one of two ways: 1.) pay for a professional website or 2.) Take advantage of free website tools and build your own. Sites such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Wix.com, to name a few, offer free blog hosting. (I’ve used all three, and WordPress, which hosts this blog/website, is by far the best!) All you have to do is create an account. This takes time and patience, but can be an educational and rewarding experience. Keep your site professional with links to all of your social networking sites, products (remember, your book is a product), and any merchandise (free reads, etc.) The more work you put into it, the more people will be drawn back to it to see what’s new. Don’t publish content and step away. Website maintenance and fresh information is a must in order to keep your readers coming back. Your website represents you 24/7, even when you are not online. Content should include: a picture, a well-written bio, (remember, you’re an author. It should be free of grammatical errors. If you have a poorly written bio, readers will hesitate to purchase your books because they feel they will be written the same way), all sales links and links to social sites where they can find, follow, or contact you. Your site should also include information about your books (book blurbs), and a sample of your work for them to read.

I know it sounds daunting and like a lot of work, and believe me it is! The point of all of this is you’re a writer and it’s what you love. In order to be successful, you have to put in the work. Marketing and discovering your brand is all about knowing who you are and how you want your writing perceived. By the way, I’m not telling you something that I haven’t done. Everything you see on this site was done by me and it took weeks! But it was well worth it! J

#8Sunday- Looking good isn’t always comfortable!

Have you ever let your girlfriends talk you into wearing an outfit that wasn’t your style? The night Ebony meets Brian, that ‘little  black dress’ is magic…as soon as she gets comfortable that is!

Excerpt:

“Stop fidgeting. You look uncomfortable,” she added, winking at the bartender who handed us our drinks.

No matter how many times I adjusted the hem of my dress, it was impossible to ignore the warm air tickling the backs of my thighs as people pushed past me in the crowded bar. It would take more fabric to keep my shapely derriere from involuntary exposure.

“Thanks.” I slipped money into the bartender’s tip jar, and he rewarded me with a gorgeous smile. “For the record, I am uncomfortable.” I turned to face Yasmine. “Freakum dresses are your thing, not mine.”

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Follow this link to read the rest of Chapter One!

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

M.J.Kane- Women's Fiction/Interracial Romance/Contemporary Romance

M.J.Kane- Women’s Fiction/Interracial Romance/Contemporary Romance

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jaded, visit this link! 

Looking for more #8Sunday Samples? Visit this link! 

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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

 

#TeaserTuesday- Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself.

This week’s teaser is from Jaded (Book 2 of The Butterfly Memoirs). Falling in love is easy. Knowing when to step up and put your cards on the table can be hard. Though you may be willing to except your situation and ignore the fact you want more when the one you want doesn’t, it’s often up to our friends to kick us in the butt and motivate us  not to settle.

Excerpt:

When the call ended, I stared at the screen until her picture faded.

“Oh shit, you are whipped.” Nick slapped the table in deep laughter.

“What are you talking about?”

“‘It’s not just about sex’? You say that to a woman you really care about.”

“So?” I glared at him.

Nick stopped laughing and sipped his beer while watching me. “You’re finally over Melissa’s selfish ass. Good for you.” He toasted me with his bottle. “If this dry spell of yours lasted any longer, I was going to stage an intervention at the barber shop.”

I shook my head and looked away.

“All jokes aside, man. I haven’t seen you this relaxed in…months, actually. I’m going out on a limb and assuming it’s because of this new woman. What’s her name?”

“Yasmine Phillips. Her family owns the chain of bed and breakfast hotels.”

The Phillips’ Family Inns? Wow, so she’s got some money, huh?”

I shrugged. “It’s none of my business.”

“So, what is it about her you like?”

I glanced over at my best friend who now ignored the table full of women he’d been eyeing. Nick and I met in the fourth grade when his family moved from Virginia. He was an awkward kid, shy and lacking confidence. Other kids teased him, but I thought he was interesting. We’d been tight ever since. He knew my secrets, and I knew his.

I was at his house the night my father died.

“She’s everything, Nick. Everything Melissa should have been and more. She’s smart, outgoing, willing to help others. I swear she doesn’t have a selfish bone in her body. She’s got class and style and an attitude that …” I smiled to myself. “The day she walked into my store, I wanted her. Do you know how long it’s been since I gave a woman that kind of attention? I mean, Nick, every time I’m near her I’m ready to take her to bed. Her laugh, her smile, and oh man…that body of hers is—”

Nick dropped his head and laughed. “Damn, man, I bet if she walked in here right now and told you to lick her shoes you’d do it.”

“Uh, no. It’s not like that between us. We’ve got this…I don’t know how to explain it. We understand one another. Both of us have been hurt before so we know what to do to avoid it from happening again. That’s why we…” I realized Nick was staring at me. I waved it off. “It’s not important. The fact of the matter is, what we have works.”

“What you have? Okay, you’re sleeping together. What’s so special about that? Men and women sleep together all the time. What did you guys do, re-invent the wheel?”

I chuckled. “Not exactly. We’re friends, really good friends. I feel as though I can talk to her about anything and she’d understand. The sex is…” There was no need to explain. “I couldn’t imagine being with another woman. Neither of us wants a long term commitment, so…” My eyebrows creased in thought about the words I uttered. I lifted my bottle and drained it dry.

“Hold on a minute. You’re having hot sex with a woman you see as a great friend, she’s obviously what you need or else you wouldn’t be gushing over her like this. What’s stopping you?”

I glanced at him. “From what?”

“From marrying her. Let’s face it; between the two of us, you’re the marrying type. Me, I fool around. If you guys have no intention of walking down the aisle, it’s a waste of your time. And you my friend,” he pointed his bottle at me, “are not the type to waste time. You go for what you want. What are you waiting for?”

I didn’t have to think about it. I knew the answer. Yasmine made it clear what the parameters of our relationship would be.

Seeing this as anything more was my problem. Yeah, I was tired of putting my body on lock down every time she came near me and pretending my feelings didn’t exist. If I told her what I wanted…

“She’ll leave me, Nick. I can’t lose her. For once in my life I’ve found the perfect woman. If I lose her then…” I rubbed my eyes. “If no commitment is what it takes to keep her in my life, then I’m willing to sacrifice what I want to make it work.”

Nick shrugged. “Okay, so it works for now. What about six months from now? A year? Are you sure you’re willing to sacrifice your long-term happiness for good conversation and hot sex? What about family? Are you going to be able to walk away and find someone else willing to make that kind of commitment?” He tapped his bottle on the table. “That, my friend, will be the ultimate screw, except it won’t be her doing it. Where would you rather be in six months? Waiting to see her or going home to a woman who loves and gives you what you really want?”

Damn. He was right. I sighed and ran my hand over my head. My boy, the player, had hit the nail on the head.

There was no one else I wanted in my life besides Yasmine. I didn’t want to lose what we had. Not to another man, and not because she didn’t want the same thing as me.

####

Jaded

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY for $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     Smashwords     iTunes      Paperback 

 First chapter, Character Bios

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book 1 of The Butterfly Memoirs)

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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

A Heart Not Easily Broken(Butterfly Memories) by M.J.Kane

Check out the latest review of A Heart Not Easily Broken(Butterfly Memories) by M.J.Kane! Thank you, Kim! 🙂

A Heart Not Easily Broken(Butterfly Memories) by M.J.Kane

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge. 

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust. 

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY  for $3.99! 

#8Sunday- First Impressions

The fun part of writing a book is describing how characters see each other, especially if it’s for the first time. In A Heart Not Easily Broken, Ebony and Brian’s first encounter was in a night club beneath strobe lights, the ‘masks’ were on, and first impressions hard to see. A few days later they meet again and she gets to see the real him, no night lights, no masks….all real….And man, is she impressed!

Excerpt: 

His long torso, free of body fat, sported a light sprinkling of blond hair between his pecs.  His abdomen showed every cut of muscle I’d seen in high school biology textbooks. His abs were tight, his belly button nearly nonexistent.

Brian’s bronzed skin reminded me of a Greek statue, a testament of many hours spent working outside. His backward baseball cap hid the thick blond curls I’d seen at the club. The damp ringlets hung below its rim, accentuating his square facial structure and the shape of his nose. His blue eyes seemed to glow from deep within his skin.

Brian was unbelievably sexy.

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If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

 A Heart Not Easily Broken Release Party!!!

M.J.Kane- Women’s Fiction/Interracial Romance/Contemporary Romance

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jaded, visit this link! 

Looking for more #8Sunday Samples? Visit this link! 

#####

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

Related articles

Music to Fuel the Muse…

Nearly every author uses music when they write. Some use it to drown out the noise of life around them, while others use certain songs to inspire emotion and action in a scene. Numerous songs have found their way into book titles and inspired  entire novels.

Music is a part of my family, a part of my life, and has defiantly found its way into my writing.

Both of my sons have had a love of music since the day they were born. My oldest, who graduates high school next week, (and I am proud to say he will be starting college in the fall to get his Bachelors in Music), has played in the Orchestra since he was in sixth grade. Over the years he’s learned to play, and mastered,  the Bass, and the bass guitar. He also plays the acoustic guitar and keyboard. My youngest son, who is completing his first year in middle school, has taken the path of percussion. Part of me is dreading the day we buy a full set of drums! But like watching my oldest son mature as a musician, watching his younger brother do the same will be a joy!

My husband is a recording engineer and music producer. His studio is in our home and located across the house from my office. Over the years I’ve watched numerous talented artist – from rappers, singers, poets, lyricist, and musicians – cross my doorway. They have eaten with my family, and crashed on my couch.  (Visit this link to hear some of the music he’s produced and artist he’s worked with.) One of my favorite songs he has produced is Off The Chain performed by Immo Stax. If you love Rap/Hip Hop, you have to check this one out!

Now, with each new artist comes a story and inspiration for some of my characters.  Brian Young of A Heart Not Easily Broken, is one to be exact.

In my latest novel, Jaded, neither character is a musician, yet the entire story was inspired by one song. Love Calls by Kem.

While the story has the premise of friends who choose to sleep together and a relationship that leads to more, Jaded is NOT your typical friends-turned-lovers story. The story doesn’t end with the moment they decide to sleep together….that is the moment the story truly begins.

Love Calls found it’s way into my writing not only as the  theme song, but as the defining moment, catalyst if you will, of two people letting their guard down long enough to realize there could indeed be more to their relationship. Watch the video and read this excerpt….and let yourself get lost in the song and dance….

Excerpt:

Our slow circuit brought us near the open doors leading inside where the reception was in full swing.  We watched the party goers enjoy the music. A popular song involving a complicated two-step routine had the older couples on the dance floor while younger ones moved aside to clap and cheer.

“I never have been able to do that dance,” I commented.

“It’s not difficult. I can teach you if you want.”

I smirked.

“What? My mom taught me.”

This time I laughed. “Why does that not surprise me?”

He extended a hand. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

I studied his palm, then his eyes. “Why the hell not?” I shrugged out of his jacket, setting it neatly on an empty patio chair.

Zack wasted no time walking me through the steps. Within minutes, he had me twirling and laughing. I was impressed. Not only was the man a good teacher, he had some good moves. Two songs later, we were laughing like children.

What would I have done if he hadn’t come tonight?

As promised, he’d done his part in distracting me from dwelling on the depressing aspects of my life.

All too soon, a slow song played, giving the couples a break. Both of my hands were in his when I released my hold.

Zack didn’t. I looked at our hands, then up into his eyes. The deep hazel irises darkened as his gaze went from fun to something else.

“We should sit down,” I managed, trying to convince myself the increased heartbeat was a result of dancing.

“I disagree.” He released one of my hands and slipped a hand around my waist instead.

It was impossible to escape the sensual smell of his cologne up close and personal mixed with the musk of flesh damp from dancing. A rush of desire covered me from head to toe.

“What are you afraid of?” he challenged.

Um, being this close? Wanting him? Falling for him?

“Nothing.” I put as much steel in my voice as I could muster. Liar, liar…

Zack pulled me close, taking control, moving our bodies as one. His gaze never left mine. It was as if we were the only two people listening to the music. The clinks of glasses, short bursts of laughter, the sound of children running around the room, were inconsequential.

I became a slave to the sultry sound of a bass guitar, the hypnotic rhythm of drums, and melodic voice of the singer. Zack assumed full control of my body as he guided us in a seductive sway.

Okay, I was used to the strength of a man’s arms and feel of firm muscles pressed against me. I could handle the ripples of desire running through me, making my knees weak.

What I could not ignore was the heat from his gaze as it explored my mouth, the warmth of his breath against my cheek, or the gentle slide of fingers along my waist as he enveloped me in his arms.

To make matters worse, the lyrics of the song hit every nerve. They spoke of ignoring the pain of past relationships and accepting love again.

I closed my eyes in an attempt to find pieces of the wall I had built around my heart. It was impossible; Zack had chiseled them away in the short time we’d known each other. The pain plaguing me from past relationships was easily forgotten while in his arms.

“Yasmine…” His whisper was husky, the laughter from earlier gone. “Look at me.”

I did.

Never had a man’s gaze pulled me in this hard. Desire replaced reasoning, a feeling so strong it could not be ignored. How did this happen? Was it the theme of the day, the alcohol consumed, or the fact this man seemed to have eyes only for me?

Zack gazed hungrily at my mouth and licked his lips.

Panic built inside. This could not be happening. I couldn’t ignore the fact I wanted it, maybe even needed it to happen.

“Yasmine…”

My lips parted of their own volition as Zack lowered his mouth to mine.

The moment our lips connected, the world stood still. Breathing ceased as desire exploded inside of me, drawing me deep into forbidden territory.

####

Buy a copy of the  5 Star Reviewed JADED today to find out!

Autumn landscape

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.

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

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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

#TeaserTuesday- Getting Ready for the First Date

I was watching TV, a pastime that has gone from pure entertainment to a study of television writers style of story telling. The episode of the show I was watching was entitled First Date. During the episode, the main character talked to her best friend about the nervous jitters she had in anticipation for the evening. It made me think back to a conversation held by Ebony Campbell and her best friend, Yasmine Phillips in A Heart Not Easily Broken.

Since when has it been simple for a woman to pick out clothing for a first date?

Excerpt:

“What does he like? You know, what has he commented on? What has his roving eye looked at when he’s not staring at you?”

“Um, his attention is always on me. Plus, he says I look good in anything, even my work clothes.”

“What the hell?” She rubbed her eyes. “Okay, he’s one of those.”

“One of what?”

“A man who’s always giving compliments to suck up.”

I loved Brian’s compliments. He never gave the impression of trying to get something in return. His facial expressions made it obvious that what he said came from the heart.

“Alright, what has he seen you in?” She eyed the clothes pile. “Jeans?”

“Not exactly, Capri’s, yes.”

“Dress?”

“That skin tight number the night we met.”

“Told you it would work.” She gave me a smug smile. “Shorts?”

“Yes, on Sunday, the day we kissed.”

“Hmm, how about this?”

I turned to see what she held. “Perfect.”

“Now for hair and make-up.”

At exactly two o’clock, the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it,” Yasmine yelled from downstairs.

I finished tying the strings of my wedge heels around my legs and made sure I sprayed perfume in all the right places. I took a deep breath and stood in front of the mirror. Yasmine had a hidden talent for dressing people.

“Well hello, Brian, right? I’m Yasmine It’s nice to meet you.”

I could hear Yasmine’s voice floating up the steps.

“Hi, Yasmine. I’m here to pick up Ebony,” he replied.

God, I loved to hear him say my name.

“Sure, come in. She’ll be down in a minute.” The door closed. “Take care of my girl.”

“I will.”

When I heard her coming up the steps, I counted to ten and composed myself.

She stopped at my doorway and winked. “He’s a keeper. Nice lips.” She laughed and disappeared into her room.

Brian’s back was to me when I walked down the stairs. He appeared relaxed with his thumbs hooked in the pockets of his jeans. He had the same black sneakers and a deep blue shirt that was the same shade as his eyes. Blue was fast becoming my favorite color. His blond curls with dark undertones were shorter than when I last saw him.

“Hi,” I said upon reaching the bottom step.

He turned around and his eyes traveled over my outfit. “Damn.”

I wore a floral print halter-top accented with red lace trim that molded to my waist and breasts perfectly. The tan background complimented my skin and the floor-length skirt fit like a glove. A long, sexy slit ran from the hem to the middle of my thigh and gave him an eyeful every time I moved my leg.

“You look,” he cleared his throat, “amazing.”

####

Buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

M.J.Kane- Women's Fiction/Interracial Romance/Contemporary Romance

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jaded, visit this link! 

 

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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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The Butterfly Memoirs: Life, Love, Tragedy, and Triumph…The Realities of Real Romance

Those are the type of stories I write.

When I decided to become an author, the first thing I did was read…a lot. I read books by authors I idolized. I read books by authors I’d never heard of. I read books that were bestsellers, and books that weren’t getting the best reviews. Contemporary Romances, Erotic Romances, Military Romance, and Romantic Comedies…anything that got my attention, I read it.

Then, I decided to write my story.

I wanted to do something different from what I read and focus on the unique voices of each character. I wanted each character  to tell the story in their voice, share their private thoughts, their diaries. If you like emotional reads that grip you and have you rooting for the hero and heroine and want to truly get to know these individuals…this series is for you.

The Butterfly Memoirs are stories that follow a group of characters as they deal with the trials of real life. Each book follows a different character who’s life has it’s own path to travel. The characters are everyday people struggling to reach their dreams. They could be you, me, or the neighbor next door. They are imperfect, make mistakes, struggle with family and friendships. They argue, they disagree, they hurt the one they love, then fight to get them back. Somewhere in-between it all, they fall in love and discover happiness.

And at the end of their journey, like a butterfly who goes into a cocoon and emerges changed, so do my characters.

Life. Love. Tragedy. Triumph.

Try a sample of these bestsellers today! 

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

Autumn landscape

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.

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY! 

  Prologue and Chapter One     Character Bio’s   Yasmine’s Diary      From the Desktop of Zachariah Givens    Book Reviews

#8Sunday- Jaded (Book 2 of The Butterfly Memoirs)- What would you do?

Sometimes the decisions we make in our lives can lead to awkward situations. Yasmine’s decision to quit working at her families business leave her without a roof over her head. While waiting for an apartment, an offer comes from the place she least expects it….

Excerpt:

“Stay here.”

Yasmine and I both stared at my mom. She rolled her eyes.

“Am I speaking a foreign language? I have plenty of room and could use the company. I’ve been thinking of renting a room for a while now.”

My eyebrows shot up as I met my mother’s gaze. She always said she liked living alone.

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So…what would you do if the mother of the man your sleeping with offered to let you live with her? What does Yasmine do? Are the results good or bad?

Buy a copy of the  5 Star Reviewed JADED today to find out!

Autumn landscape

Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Interracial Romance

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.

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

Visit this link for more Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday posts! 

 

Let’s Talk About It: What Does Friendship Mean To You?

What is the meaning of the word friend? According to Dictionary.com, a friend is: a person attached to another by affection or regard.

During the course of our lives, we have friends on many different levels. There are acquaintances, people we are friendly with at work or socially. There are also people we do not view as being hostile – yet is considered a friend or friendly. People who donate to charity are considered friends of that organization.

What about the act of being a friend, or to be more exact, friendship?

The definition of friendship is:

1.) The state of being a friend, association as friends

2.) friendly relation or intimacy

3.) friendly feeling or disposition.

(Dictionary.com)

As children, there were people we hung out with, got in trouble with, and made lasting memories with. Many of them may have navigated their way in and out of our lives over time. Yet, there is always that one – if we’re lucky, two – people who managed to dig their way in and mean something. Those are the friends we would stand up for, help in times of trouble, and if the situation called for it, give our lives. And they would do the same.

This type of friendship is addressed in, A Heart Not Easily Broken. Ebony Campbell, the heroine, shares a home with her two best friends, Yasmine Phillips, and Kaitlyn Rodgers, whom she met while in college. The three women have gone through the difficulties of maturing for the past six years. They know each other’s secrets, motivations, and fears.

When Ebony must deal with a situation that, even though it has damaged her, has the potential to devastate one of her friends, she has a decision to make. Does she tell her friend and begin healing emotionally from the damage done, yet knowingly destroy her best friend’s already damaged heart? Or, does she keep it bottled up, putting her friends feelings first, and protect the friendship that means so much to her?

Now, here’s a question: Would you be willing to keep a deep, dark secret from your best friend if you knew it could devastate them in the end, no matter what it would do to you?

MJ

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

**On sale for the month of JULY only! Buy your Copy today!**

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Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

Explore these links for more!