Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Your Novel Starring...

When asked what my favorite novel that I've written is, I say Masqueradebecause my bad girl protagonist was so much fun to write! Masquerade was published a while back in 2013 as the second book of my Unchained Trilogy. I certainly enjoyed writing all three books, but I loved writing Masquerade the most! 

A friend of mine asked if the story were ever made into a movie, who would I want to star in it? Well, we can all dream, so keep reading to see who I envisioned acting my story!

Lavinia Taylor Hargraves, my bad girl protagonist, is originally introduced in the first part of the trilogy, Escape.  She passes as white, despises her sister who is kind and good, and hates her mother for being a former slave. At seventeen, Lavinia runs off with fifty-four-year-old theater magnate Vernon Hargraves, only because he can make her a Broadway sensation. Although Vernon truly loves Lavinia, the feeling isn't mutual on her part.

If Lavinia had lived today, she'd probably be diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder.  According to Wikipedia, this "is a personality disorder  in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects one percent of the population. First formulated in 1968, it was historically called megalomania, and is severe egocentrism."

In addition to her megalomania, Lavinia suffers from severe sibling rivalry issues. This is seen in Escape when we meet good sister Olivia.

Although Masquerade is Lavinia's story, Olivia, to Lavinia's dismay, also makes an appearance.  As I wrote the characters, two beautiful sisters of mixed race ancestry, I envisioned beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones as Lavinia and gorgeous Halle Berry as Olivia. 

Who do you imagine as some of your favorite characters in novels you've read or written?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Revelation Audio Edition 50% Off

If you enjoy listening to books, here's a deal for you! My audio edition of Revelation: Book Three of the Unchained Trilogy is now available at 50% off through April 7. Audio books can be a little pricey, and this one usually sells for $17.99, but for a limited time it's available for only $9.00. Click here for your discounted audio book and check out the summary below:

Light-skinned Selina Standish lives a life of emotional pain and torment. In 1906, at the age of eight, she is convinced by her mother, actress Lavinia Standish, the daughter of a slave, to pass as white. Although Selina yields to her mother's insistence to pass, she refuses to cut ties completely with her 'Negro' relatives, including her twin brother, a child her mother deems too dark.

However, at age seventeen, in the year 1915, Selina meets wealthy southerner Jack Cosgrove, the man of her dreams. Keeping her ancestry a secret, Selina is conflicted by Jack's negative attitude toward her race. She must determine if happiness with him could ever be a possibility, especially if she were to reveal her bloodline.

Later, a chance encounter with Pastor Tony Manning opens Selina's eyes to real love. Although he is a progressive thinker regarding race relations, Tony appears to draw the line at interracial marriage. In order to live as his wife, Selina decides she must completely disassociate herself from all her 'colored' relatives. While bound to a chain of secrecy, Selina struggles to live in honesty. How true can she be to her husband, if she can never reveal the truth about herself?

Discount available here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Love Across the Color and the Money Lines

My latest novel, One Family Now, deals with love across the color line, as well as the socioeconomic line. 

Unsuspecting Jessica Leigh, a poor black girl from a disadvantaged family, believes wealthy college student Geoff Worth to be her knight in shining armor. Yet with no explanation, he ends their relationship, leaving her shattered and pregnant.

Twenty-six years later, Jessica and Geoff rediscover each other because their sons become friends by chance. Eager to mend their relationship and start afresh, Geoff reveals the ugly truth surrounding their past. Because she was deemed an unsuitable match by his powerful political WASP family, Geoff was forced to end his relationship with Jessica to prevent her from falling victim to a deadly “accident.”

Though their passion reignites, Geoff’s explanation of what transpired over two decades earlier is ignored by Jessica’s over-protective sister. She suspects Geoff’s family of being responsible for their father’s murder. Geoff’s mother refuses to accept Jessica because of a past scandal. And the two sons, once friends, find themselves pitted against each other as enemies once their relationship as half-brothers is divulged. As Jessica and Geoff examine the intersections of their parents’ lives, they uncover a history checkered with adultery, bribery and rumors of murder. How can Geoff and Jessica be together without losing their families?

Please consider giving it a read here.

With that bit of shameless self-promotion out of the way, I'll move on to today's post, which also deals with love across the color and socioeconomic lines. 

I'm a big fan of interracial love stories. But as with all love stories, sometimes things go wrong, as in the case of Alice Jones, a domestic whose father was a "colored man" and Kip Rhinelander, a rich white man. 

Here's a brief overview of the story, courtesy of Wikipedia:

In 1921, Leonard Kip Rhinelander, a member of a socially prominent wealthy New York family, began a romance with Alice Beatrice Jones, a domestic. The two met during Rhinelander's stay at the Orchard School in Stamford, Connecticut, an inpatient clinic where he was seeking treatment for extreme shyness and stuttering. 

They had a three-year romance before marrying at the New Rochelle, New York courthouse in October of 1924, not long after Rhinelander turned 21. The couple moved in with Jones' parents in Pelham Manor. Although Rhinelander didn't tell his family about the marriage, he continued to work at Rhinelander Real Estate Company.

The couple tried to keep their marriage secret, but news of it was soon announced by the press. Because of the Rhinelanders' wealth and social position, New Rochelle reporters wanted to learn about Jones' background. After they began investigating, reporters discovered that Jones was the daughter of English immigrants and her father, George, was a "colored man". 

At first, Rhinelander stood by his wife during the scathing national coverage of their marriage. But after two weeks, he gave in to his family's demands to leave Jones.  He signed an annulment complaint that his father's lawyers had prepared. The document claimed that Jones had deceived Rhinelander by hiding her true race and passing herself off as a white woman. Jones denied this stating that her race was obvious. Rhinelander later said that Jones hadn't deceived him outright but did so by letting him believe she was white.

Sad story, and it only gets worse.  To see how it ends, check out the article by Theodore Johnson III,
When One Of New York's Glitterati Married A 'Quadroon'.

I'd read about this case before, had you ever heard about it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 27, 2023

A Fake Alien Invasion?

 There's been talk of an alien invasion lately, a fake alien invasion, perhaps to distract from much more important issues in the news. Just what will we, the unsuspecting masses, fall for? This fake alien scenario reminds me of Orson Welles' radio production of The War of the Worlds. If you're not familiar with that broadcast, here's the lowdown from Wikipedia:

The War of the Worlds was a Halloween episode of the radio series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. This production was directed and narrated by Orson Welles as an adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds (1898). It was performed and broadcast live at 8 pm ET on October 30, 1938 over the CBS Radio Network. The episode is famous for inciting a panic by convincing some members of the listening audience that a Martian invasion was taking place. 

The episode begins with an introductory monologue based closely on the opening of the original novel, after which the program takes on the format of an evening of typical radio programming being periodically interrupted by news bulletins. The first few bulletins interrupt a program of live music and are relatively calm reports of unusual explosions on Mars followed by a seemingly unrelated report of an unknown object falling on a farm in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. 

The crisis escalates dramatically when a correspondent reporting live from Grovers Mill describes creatures emerging from what is evidently an alien spacecraft. When local officials approach the aliens waving a flag of truce, the "monsters" respond by incinerating them and others nearby with a heat ray which the on-scene reporter describes in a panic until the audio feed abruptly goes dead. This is followed by a rapid series of news updates detailing the beginning of a devastating alien invasion and the military's futile efforts to stop it. The first portion of the episode climaxes with another live report from the rooftop of a Manhattan radio station. 

The correspondent describes crowds fleeing clouds of poison smoke released by giant Martian "war machines" and "dropping like flies" as the gas approaches his location. Eventually he coughs and falls silent, and a lone ham radio operator asks, "Is there anyone on the air? Isn't there... anyone?" with no response. The program takes its first break thirty minutes after Welles's introduction.

The second portion of the show shifts to a conventional radio drama format that follows a survivor (played by Welles) dealing with the aftermath of the invasion and the ongoing Martian occupation of Earth. The final segment lasts for about sixteen minutes, and like the original novel, concludes with the revelation that the Martians have been defeated by microbes rather than by humans. The broadcast ends with a brief "out of character" announcement by Welles in which he compares the show to "dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying 'boo!'"

If you want to hear the broadcast, here's the link. And if you're interested in a more up to date version, check out War of the Worlds on Amazon Prime, an excellent adaptation that will keep you on the edge of your seat, complete with those awful robot dogs.

Have you ever read War of the Worlds or seen the series on Amazon? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, February 20, 2023

William Howard: He Didn't Get Stuck in a Tub!

William Howard Taft was a president from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio and was a man of rather large proportion. A story has been around for decades that because of his girth, he got stuck in a bathtub while serving as president. I thought that might be an amusing post for Presidents Day, but I just learned that story wasn't even true! Check out an article below from History.com:  

Topping the scales at over 350 pounds, William Howard Taft was a true political heavyweight. Although “Big Bill” was the only man to serve as both U.S. president and Supreme Court chief justice, what most remember about Taft is that he supposedly became stuck in the White House bathtub. The story, however, apparently doesn’t hold water. No documentary evidence backs it up, and according to Brady Carlson, author of the book “Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation’s Leaders,” the story didn’t arise until two decades after Taft left the presidency. Carlson says the sudsy tale first surfaced along with other presidential dirt in longtime White House usher Ike Hoover’s 1934 memoir, “42 Years in the White House.”

“The funny part is that while Taft was president, the White House got a tub that was so big a president couldn’t possibly get stuck in it,” Carlson says. Indeed, just weeks after Taft’s 1908 election, the captain of a warship carrying the president-elect to inspect the Panama Canal re-quested a super-sized bathtub capable of holding the heftiest man ever to occupy the Oval Office. Since no “Taft-size” basin could be found, a Manhattan company specially crafted the largest solid porcelain tub ever made for an individual. It was more than seven feet long, 41 inches wide and weighed a ton—literally. A photograph in the February 1909 issue of the journal Engineering Review showed the pond-like presidential bathtub with four men sitting comfortably in-side.

Newspapers reported that similarly spacious tubs were installed in the White House, on Taft’s presidential yacht and inside his brother’s summer home in Texas. After leaving the White House in 1913, Taft moved into a suite in a New Haven, Connecticut, hotel with an immense bathtub that the Philadelphia Inquirer reported was “deep enough to allow an ordinary sized man to float when it is filled.” Two years later, the ex-president’s bathing habits again made news when at a Cape May, New Jersey, hotel he “failed properly to consider the size of the average seashore hotel bathtub.” The water displaced by his tremendous girth flooded the floor and trickled onto the heads of guests in the downstairs dining room. As a wistful Taft gazed out at the Atlantic Ocean the next morning, he said, “I’ll get a piece of that fenced in some day, and then when I venture in, there won’t be any overflow.”

Had you ever heard this story?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!