Thanks to I Dare Me author Lu Ann Cahn for answering some of my questions today! And be sure to check out her book – on sale now!
Why was I Dare Me a book you wanted to write?
I hoped to write something that would inspire other women to grab on to life again; to live full out. I knew that what I experienced wasn’t just anecdotal. Incorporating first time experiences in your life can be a prescription for “stuck.” I would be thrilled if groups of women start doing First time experiences together.
I’m also a long time survivor of breast cancer, kidney cancer and having my colon removed because of ulcerative colitis. I know how important it was for me when I was diagnosed each time to see long term survivors living active lives. I hope others in the midst of “battle” will find this book.
What would you think some common fears are?
Fear of change in general. Fear of technology we don’t understand. Fear of social media that makes no sense to us. We fear becoming irrelevant, getting old and out of touch but that’s exactly what happens when we insist on sticking to our old ways and habits. We fear veering outside the day to day path we are on even if we know we are unhappy.
We fear the very things that could open up our world. Instead of being curious, we dismiss. We don’t want to ask for help. We forget our brains love to things, new information, new experiences. Firsts remind us how to be courageous and take risks again.
What was the dare you were most excited about completing?
I was really looking forward to eating dessert all day long for a first. Couldn’t wait. That was horrible. Don’t do it.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
For me, it’s being disciplined and blocking out time. I work full time as a tv news reporter. I wrote most of this book in the early morning hours. Weekends I’d start at 6 am and go to 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I have to write first thing in the morning when I wake up. Of course if I don’t like what I’m writing, it doesn’t matter how many hours I sit at my lap top, it’s just not going to work. When that happens, I go to the gym and work out. The best ideas come to me when I’m not trying so hard. Sometimes, I leave in the middle of a class when I think of something so I can go write it down.
What are your favorite genres to read?
I guess you wouldn’t be too surprised that I like lots of variety. I love fast paced mystery thrillers. I have a stack of self help books. I like short stories and science fiction. I like beautifully written novels and cookbooks. Sometimes I have two or three things going at the same time.
What do you want readers to take away from your story?
You are never done. The best stuff really is outside of your comfort zone. When you stop doing things for the first time your life becomes a “flat line”….and you know what that means. If you are stuck and life seems like “Groundhog Day”, just doing one new thing can be the start of changing everything.
How important do you think social media is for authors these days?
Social media is critical. Am I a pro at it? Nope. I’m on a big learning curve. But what I love about social media is I get to immediately connect with readers from anywhere. I enjoy the interaction far more than marketing online, but I work with some good friends who are constantly helping me tweak my social media skills.
I think it is harder to launch a book these days without establishing a platform and an audience online first. My daughter, who is a social media guru, is constantly chiding me that I’m not doing enough. She’s probably right.
What would be your advice to aspiring writers?
This is tough. I think Elizabeth Gilbert said this in an interview and I think it’s true; working on deadline as a journalist helps tremendously. As a tv news reporter, I write every day. I have to write quickly with little time to edit. There’s no time to look at a blank page…the clock is ticking.
I think the training you get as a journalist, regardless of whether it’s print, online or broadcast, teaches you discipline as a writer. When you finally sit down to write what you want, it feels like a delicious luxury.
About the Author:
Lu Ann Cahn is a reporter for Philadelphia’s WCAU-TV. She covers breaking news and investigative stories for NBC10 News. Cahn is an honorary board member of the Philadelphia chapter Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and serves as the annual emcee of the foundation’s main fundraising event, the Renaissance Ball. She also works extensively with Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Chineka will be on tour in March/April with her women’s fiction novel Love Illusion. I am looking for book bloggers to post reviews, guest posts, interviews and excerpts for this tour. Kindle or ePub copies will be available to those who would like to review the book. Please use the form below to join the tour. Thank you!
Lucy is a confident PR professional, who is fearful of her troubled ex-boyfriend Charles. He is in denial about their breakup. With issues of alcoholism and abandonment, he spirals out of control.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s best friend Jade has found love and is about to get married. She is a loyal friend who is there for Lucy every step of the way.
Feeling trapped, Lucy is determined to fight back against Charles, but it won’t be without complication. After great debate, she optimistically accepts a new job offer miles away. Lucy soon embarks on an uncertain journey all connected to love.
The self-made and affluent Pierce family is hurled into a seamy kidnapping plot when they receive a text message from Janine–the most troubled of all the Pierce children.
“Cartel got me, tell mom”
The siblings, drowning in their own problems, are forced to focus on the task at hand: a half-cocked rescue mission that involves a borrowed yacht, a favor from a notorious drug kingpin, and a shocking reunion none of them expected.
When the family decides to sneak into Mexico, mother Cybil is forced to deal with a rival CEO whom she’s developed feelings for in secret. Her only son, Tom, is willing to risk bodily harm to save Janine while his other sisters, Carlyle and Valerie, suspect that the kidnapping is less than legitimate.
The long sea voyage tests the limits of the family’s already frail bonds. Dark secrets of infertility, drugs, gambling and extreme taxidermy begin to float to the surface. But nothing compares to what they begin to learn about their missing sister.
If they’re going to make it out alive, they have to recognize they’re fighting the same battles and facing life’s greatest challenges: love, loneliness, and the struggle to find a place in the world.
Amidst all the chaos, the Pierce family is brought face-to-face with the ugliness of Janine’s addictions, the truth about their mother’s fortune and the most terrifying question of all: Can you really save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for the full tour schedule!
A MADARIS BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS by Brenda Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin Kimani Arabesque
Publication date: October 29, 2013
Page Count: 320
ISBN: 9780373091430 (market paperback)
IN HER 100TH BOOK, NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR blends heated sensuality and drama into a dazzling new novel featuring one of her most unforgettable Madaris heroes yet…
One by one, Madaris men have surrendered to the matchmaking schemes of Felicia Laverne Madaris, matriarch of the family. But Lee Madaris isn’t letting anyone else control his destiny. He’ll bring a bride of his own choosing to the family’s holiday gathering—if his hotel’s gorgeous new chef will agree to a marriage of convenience.
It’s not just the chance to work at the Strip’s hottest hotel that brought Carly Briggs to Vegas. Witnessing a crime in Miami may have made her a mob target. Though she’s reluctant to complicate their working relationship, Lee’s tempting offer is so hard to resist. And soon, desire is clouding their no-strings arrangement.
The danger that made Carly flee Miami is about to land at their door. So Carly and Lee must decide who to trust, when to let go—and whether a love they never anticipated is strong enough to pass the ultimate test.
A New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling and award-winning author of more than seventy-five romance titles, Brenda is a recent retiree who divides her time between family, writing and traveling with her husband.
Lee Madaris glanced at the clock on his wall before rubbing away the tension forming in the back of his neck. Although it was nearing midnight, he was still in his office working. It was imperative that he do so.
Five potential investors would be arriving tomorrow and spending four days at the Grand MD Vegas hotel. He would be catering to them at a level that was unprecedented. The five men had enough cumulative capital to balance the national budget, if they’d chosen to do so. However, balancing the national budget wasn’t Lee’s goal. His objective was to get them to invest in his next hotel—the Grand MD Paris.
After the success of the Grand MD Dubai, as well as all the attention the hotel in Vegas had received since opening its doors four months ago, a number of investors were ready to provide funds for his next venture. But he didn’t want just anyone; he wanted men willing to take a chance on a hotel that would be astonishingly different from its two predecessors. It would be a hotel of the future.
Both Grand MD hotels had been Madaris-Di Meglio joint ventures—highly successful and breaking sales records. But the third hotel, the one planned for Paris, France, would use state-of-the-art technology while maintaining the rich architectural design Paris was known for.
Lee’s cousin and the architect in the family, Slade Madaris, had designed the first two Grand MDs and would likewise design the one proposed for Paris. Slade’s design was nothing short of a masterpiece and would be unveiled at one of the meetings this week. Slade’s twin brother, Blade, would be the structural engineer. No two Grand MD hotels would look the same. Each would have its own unique architecture and appeal.
Pulling in a deep breath, Lee returned his attention to the documents in front of him—bios on the five men. The name that topped the list was that of his grand-uncle Jake Madaris. Lee didn’t need to read his uncle’s bio.
The man was a walking genius when it came to playing the stock market, and as far back as Lee could remember, Jake had been financial adviser to the entire Madaris family. If it hadn’t been for his uncle’s smart move of establishing a trust fund for all his nieces and nephews when they were still in high school, Lee would not have had the money to partner with his good friend DeAngelo Di Meglio to build their first two hotels.
Jake and another family friend, Mitch Farrell, had been the hotels’ financial backers. Mitch—the second man on the list—and Jake had already confirmed they were on board for the Paris hotel since the last two hotels had been a successful venture for them.
However, the price tag for a Paris hotel was higher than the price of the other two combined, and Jake had suggested bringing in other investors. All were good friends of Jake’s, but his uncle had warned Lee that convincing them to invest would be Lee’s responsibility.
He was ready.
The third person on the list was Kyle Garwood, a multimillionaire who made his primary home in Atlanta. Kyle was married, the father of six. Lee liked Kyle and highly respected him.
The last two men were sheikhs from the Middle East. Sheikh Rasheed Valdemon of Mowaiti had such a close relationship with the Madaris family that he had been named an honorary family member and occasionally went by the name of Monty Madaris when he did business in the United States.
Finally, there was Rasheed’s brother-in-law, Sheikh Jamal Ari Yasir of Tahran. Lee had never met Sheikh Yasir but had heard he was a shrewd businessman, always looking for a good investment. He was married to an American woman, the former Delaney Westmoreland.
Lee would be wining and dining the five men in the Grand MD style. Everything was in place and would be set in motion as soon as they arrived tomorrow morning.
Their visit had been strategically planned down to the last detail. They would be given a tour of the hotel before they were served lunch. Since tomorrow was a traveling day, no meetings had been planned. However, early the following day, Lee’s skilled marketing team would kick things off with several video presentations and meetings. Around three, the men and their wives would be given the chance to rest and relax before a dinner fit for royalty.
Afterward, they would enjoy the nightlife Vegas was famous for—from right inside the Grand MD. The casinos, live shows, state-of-the-art IMAX theater and the exquisite mall on the fifth floor that offered twenty-four-hour shopping all guaranteed that the Grand MD would gain a reputation as the hotel that never closed.
A winning hotel had to have a winning staff. He and Angelo had handpicked all of his executives and managers. Each had hotel experience and had come with sterling resumes and excellent recommendations. He and Angelo were pleased with every staff member, and those who didn’t deliver were quickly replaced. Second-best was not an option at the Grand MD.
Lee moved away from his desk, intending to walk around and get his blood flowing, but the moment he stepped into the executive suite’s lobby he stopped to stare at the huge picture hanging on the wall. It was a portrait of his great-grandmother Felicia Laverne Madaris the First, whom they fondly called Mama Laverne.
She was the matriarch of the Madaris family. Having borne seven sons, his grandfather Lee being one of them, Mama Laverne had raised her sons by herself after her husband, Milton, had died. All her sons were still alive except for Robert, who had been killed in the Vietnam War. Lee’s grand-uncle Jake was Laverne’s baby boy.
Mama Laverne had insisted that Lee hang this particular picture of her right there on that wall. She’d given the same directive to his other cousins. They all had the same framed photograph hanging in the offices of their various businesses. She was dressed in her Sunday best, with a huge dressy hat on her head, and she appeared to be looking directly at the viewer with those shrewd eyes and an all-knowing smile. At least she was smiling. A Mama Laverne frown could make him quake in his boots. She definitely liked giving orders, and she expected them to be carried out.
Lee chuckled. He wished he could say she was getting bossy in her old age, but as far back as he could remember, she’d always been bossy. Besides that, she was a notorious busybody when it came to meddling in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even at ninetysomething, he figured she would still be around to meddle with the great-great-grands’ lives as well.
He didn’t want to think of a time when she would no longer be in their midst. Their love for her was the main reason why he and his still-single brothers and cousins overlooked a lot of her shenanigans, especially her determination to marry off each of them.
Closing the door behind him, he walked along the spacious lobby hallway, noting the elegance, style and sophistication that were such integral parts of his Vegas hotel. Besides being the tallest building on the Strip, with seventy-five floors, it had an amusement park on one of its lower levels, making it an ideal place to stay for both adults and families. From the carpeting on the floor to the paintings on the wall, from the furnishings to the hotel’s special amenities, anyone would agree that the hotel deserved the seven-star rating reviewers were giving it.
Sliding back huge glass doors, he stepped out onto the terrace of the executive suite. Normally, he wasn’t one who took the time to appreciate a lot of greenery, but with the quality of the hotel on his mind, he couldn’t help doing so. Various plants had been flown in just for this terrace.
Lee inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of the plants mixed with the September air. He looked beyond the Vegas view to study the looming desert. The rain had lessened the heat and now a sultry breeze stirred the air. The sky overhead looked dark and dreary. There didn’t seem to be a single star. A part of him longed to be back in Houston, gazing up into a Texas night.
Lee shook off the longing. He had too much work to do to be melancholy. He hadn’t been home since last Christmas and another one would be coming up soon, but opening the two Grand MDs had taken up all his time, personally and professionally. Now luring investors for a third hotel would make him even busier.
Just as he turned to go back inside, his gaze landed on a woman standing on the balcony a couple of levels below. His breath was snatched from his lungs. A low groan passed from his lips as a jolt of sexual energy rocked him to the bone.
She was beautiful. Sensually stunning. Picture-perfect.
She stood leaning against the balcony rail, wearing a sexy green dress and chocolate-colored stilettos, her hair blowing in the breeze. From her expression, as she stared down below, he could tell she was fascinated by the bright lights of the Strip.
Was she a guest at the hotel? He scanned the balcony connected to a tri-level observation deck. It appeared she was alone. Something about her pulled at him. She looked happy, peaceful, but lonely.
Lee didn’t know the woman yet he felt as if he could read her perfectly. He stood and watched her, totally mesmerized. A slow heat flowed through him and pooled in his groin—she was arousing him in a way no other woman had. What was there about her that made every muscle in his stomach tie into knots? Made full awareness of her fill his every pore?
Granted, he hadn’t dated in a while because of his stringent work schedule, but still, there was something about this particular woman that had lust rushing through his veins.
Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. He checked his watch. It was getting late, but he had to meet that woman and find out why he found her so captivating.
Anticipation filled him as he made his way off the terrace and toward the elevator bank.
She simply loved it here, Carly thought. Bright lights lit the Strip and each hotel seemed to compete to shine the brightest.
It was hard to believe she had gotten the job of pastry chef at the Grand MD’s Peyton’s Place restaurant a little more than a month ago. The hotel had been gracious enough to give her time to resign from her job in Miami and remain in Florida long enough to pack up her things and attend Heather’s wedding.
Initially, she had missed South Beach and wondered if she would ever get acclimated to Vegas’s dry summer heat. But she had discovered that in addition to being a fun city with its infamous Strip, Vegas was also a nice place to live.
Her house was in a residential area of town not far from shopping. Because she had everything she needed right at her fingertips she rarely came into town on her days off.
Except for today.
Today was her twenty-eighth birthday, and she had decided to celebrate with a night on the town. She had even treated herself to a night at the Grand MD. It had to be the most beautiful hotel she had ever seen. Her room on the fiftieth floor was to die for and the service was excellent.
Carly had stumbled across this particular balcony a few weeks ago while on break. She loved the view, and it had become her favorite. There had been several other couples here earlier, enjoying the view as well, but they had departed, leaving her alone. She didn’t mind. It was the story of her life.
Carly forced the depressing thought from her mind.
After all, it was her birthday and she intended to have fun. So far it had been a beautiful day. Before leaving home this morning she’d gotten calls from Aunt Ruthie and Heather. They had remembered, and they were the only two people in her life that counted.
There was a party going on in one of the ballrooms upstairs. She could hear the music playing, a Marvin Gaye classic. She felt like dancing. What the heck. It was her birthday and she had every right to be silly if she wanted to.
Turning from the rail, she waltzed across the floor. She closed her eyes and pretended she was at a party, celebrating her birthday in style, dancing around a ballroom filled with tall, dark, handsome men. One would come forward, claim her hand and ask—
“May I have this dance?”
At the sound of the deep, husky voice, Carly’s eyes flew open and she stared into the most gorgeous pair of dark eyes she’d ever seen. And there was a very handsome face to go along with those eyes. Where on earth had he come from? She blinked, wondering if she was still clutched in the throes of her fantasy. She had to be.
“Are you real?” she asked, making sure she hadn’t conjured him up in her mind.
He smiled and the sight of the dimple in his chin nearly brought her to her knees. It definitely caused every hormone in her body to sizzle.
“Yes, I’m real. Now, how about that dance,” he said, taking her hand in his. A different song was playing now, this one by Luther Vandross.
Carly nodded her consent and he pulled her into his arms. The man was a total stranger. Had it not been her birthday, she would not have allowed him to hold her. But she had already decided that it was okay for her to act silly today. And it wasn’t every day that such a good-looking man asked her to dance. Not only was he handsome, but he smelled good too. And to top it off, they danced well together. The way their bodies swayed and moved against each other had her fighting a desire she hadn’t felt in close to four years.
A desire that had never been this strong.
She was reminded how it felt to be held by a man, in powerful arms. Every part of her body tuned in to the solid hardness of his. It was staggering; she was mindful of his every movement, the steady sound of his breathing, the way his arms encircled her waist.
Carly looked up at him to find him staring down at her. His predatory look made her insides simmer. Swallowing deeply, she said softly, “Where did you come from?”
He smiled again and she felt a tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach. “From my terrace.”
She nodded. He was a guest at the hotel.
“What about you? Are you a guest here?” he asked.
“Yes.” She wasn’t lying. She had checked into the hotel that day. There was no need to tell him she also worked here. “It’s a beautiful hotel.”
“I think so too. I’m Lee, by the way.”
His smile widened. “Nice meeting you, Carly. Is there a reason you were dancing alone?”
Her face warmed as she wondered if he thought she’d looked ridiculous. “It’s my birthday and—”
“Happy birthday,” he said.
She smiled up at him. “Thanks. I was having my own private party of one.”
He tilted his head. “That’s no fun. A beautiful woman should never party alone.”
He was smooth, she thought. As smooth as he was handsome. And she’d noticed he wasn’t wearing a ring. She knew some men didn’t cherish the sanctity of marriage vows, but she did.
“For me that’s no problem. I’m a loner anyway,” she said.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
CLP is happy to share this excerpt from Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson today for CLP Blog Tours! Please stop by the tour page for more information and a giveaway!
“Don’t be so melodramatic, my dear.” Santa smiled at his daughter. He hopped down from the driver’s seat and motioned for Carol to join him. When she did, he put his arm around her shoulders and gave her an affectionate hug. He gestured across the moonlit neighborhood of Indian Village. “This is a beautiful place for you to spend your first Christmas away from home.”
Carol looked down on the snow covered street. Each two story home in the cul-de-sac was bedecked with strings of colored lights, nativity scenes, plastic gift wrapped lawn ornaments, and pine wreaths on the front doors. The seventh home just under their feet was the exception to the neighborhood’s festive spirit. A white clapboard colonial with black shutters, it gave no indication that its owners knew Christmas was only three days away.
She fixed a pleading expression on her father but, while his blue eyes sparkled with his love for her, he showed no sign of going back on his decision that she spend her first Christmas with a family of his choosing. It was a Claus family tradition, and Carol, as the youngest child, was over-due for her turn. Still, she made one last ditch effort to change his mind. “You’ve said yourself that no one excels at elf management like I do.”
“True, I said it and I meant it. But your absence will give your brother Nicholas a chance to work more closely with the elves. Besides, you deserve some fun this year. You work too hard.”
“I love every moment of it.” Carol tucked a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. She shared her father’s blue eyes and his love of Christmas. “I’ll miss you, Daddy.”
“I’ll miss you too, my girl. I know this won’t be easy, Carol, but it’s necessary.” He dug into the pocket of his red down jacket and pulled out a sheet of folded paper. “Read this.”
She reached out for the paper. “What is it?”
“Just read it. It’s the reason you’re here.”
Carol unfolded the slightly crumpled sheet of lined paper and instantly recognized that it had been written by a child. Fortunately the moon was bright enough to allow her to easily read the words that had been neatly printed in crayon.
My Daddy doesn’t know I’m writing to you. He would say I can’t write a letter to someone who doesn’t even exist but I know you are real. My Mom told me so before she died. My little brother Patrick doesn’t remember her saying that but that’s only because she was gone before he was even in preschool. I’m not writing to ask for anything for Patrick or me. But Santa, can you please bring my Daddy some happiness? I know the elves can’t wrap it, and it’s nothing you can bring down the chimney but he needs help. I don’t know who else to ask. I know you’ll think of something Santa.
from Hillary (age 8)
p.s. Patrick likes to play with cars and my favorite color is pink
Carol finished reading the letter, refolded it and handed it back to her father. “I take it we’re at Hillary and Patrick’s house?”
Caroline Mickelson loves her family and loves to write. She also loves a good adventure, among her favorites thus far were attending graduate school in a Scottish castle, riding a camel around the Pyramids in Giza, and taking a best-in-a-lifetime road trip to Graceland. Caroline lives in the American southwest with her husband and their four children, affectionately known as The Miracles.
Connect with Caroline!
We live. We die. Is there anything more? Jenna Barton is about to find out. After moving to the coastal North Carolina town of Parson’s Cove, Jenna has unwittingly stepped into the middle of a mystery involving a missing child. Unfortunately, the predator is still on the loose and Jenna has become his new obsession. With a little luck and a bit of paranormal help, Jenna might survive.
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for the full tour schedule!
When Rebekkah Gelles suspects her husband, Avram of not only lying to her, but also contriving not to have the children she so desperately wants and embezzling money from his business, she wants out of their marriage.
Her life gets complicated when she falls in love with detective Nick Rossi. Convinced Nick’s wrong for her—he’s not Jewish for one thing—she walks away after they share a night of passion. Nick warns her even though he loves her, he won’t beg. Their budding relationship seems to have ended.
When Rebekkah finds herself staring at a positive pregnancy test, she wavers between joy and sadness. Motherhood wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops!
Susan will be on tour in February/March with her women’s fiction novel I Know You’re There. I am looking for book bloggers to post reviews, guest posts, interviews, and excerpts for this tour. Print copies will be available for US/Canada residents, or eBooks copies will be available worldwide if you would like to review the book. Please use the form below to join the tour. Thank you!
Jill Bradley is a dedicated nurse living near New York City and seems to have it all: handsome and hardworking boyfriend, a fulfilling career and great friends. But it all changes one night when Jill has to work a double shift at the hospital. She falls asleep at the wheel and accidentally hits a car on its way to the hospital: with a mother, father, and unborn baby in it. After Jill wakes up from her coma, she learns the parents died, but the baby lived. If this wasn’t enough, during her recovery at her parents’ home she finds out they have been keeping secrets-some for a long time. Not wanting to stay one more moment in New York over New Year’s, Jill hops on a plane to a tiny Caribbean island, hoping to escape. She does and finds a new love. But she finds her problems have also packed a suitcase.
A Lexi Carmichael Mystery: Italy might seem like a long way to go to hide after a disastrous date. But when sexy uberhacker Slash (no, that’s not his real name) asks me to go with him to Rome on an investigation, the timing is sort of perfect. My messed up love life becomes the least of my worries though, after the dead body, the near-kidnapping, and the discovery of a top-secret encrypted file that even I can’t hack. With time running out, there’s only one thing to do: call in the legendary Zimmerman twins and my best fluent-in-Italian friend, Basia, to crack the code. Now if only someone could help me solve the mystery of whether Slash is flirting, or if all the kissing is just one of those “when in Rome” things… But when we finally uncover the secret someone would kill to keep, it’s up to me to solve the case and save the lives of my best friends. Just another week in the life of geek-girl Lexi Carmichael. Read about Lexi’s previous adventures in No One Lives Twice, No One To Trust and No Money Down.
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops!
Connect with Julie!
A magna cum laude graduate of UCLA, Cassandra Harte never took a test she couldn’t ace. So when her home pregnancy test comes back negative, she’s certain the kit’s defective. Failure has never been an option for Cassandra. She has a well-established career, a handsome husband (Nick), and a lovely home. But there’s one thing Cassandra desperately wants that she doesn’t have: A baby. After trying for months to get pregnant without success, she starts to wonder if she’s finally met a challenge she cannot conquer. Determined to conceive, she creates an ovulation calendar so she can seize that perfect 24-hour window. When that fails, she sends up fervent prayers. But it soon becomes apparent that her inability to become pregnant has nothing to do with timing or faith, and everything to do with Renee, her diabolical, thirteen-year-old stepdaughter.
MARRIED IN THE NICK OF NINE (available on Amazon—Kindle and Paperback)
Cassandra Whitmore is facing yet another Valentine’s Day alone. Her love life is as dry as the Sharpie pen she uses to mark an even more dreadful day on her calendar—her upcoming 30th birthday. Driven by the maddening ticking of her biological clock, Cassandra is determined to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months. When Cassandra accompanies her cousin to a night club, her Type-A quest to meet a man is quickly rewarded by a stranger’s velvety, baritone voice asking if he might occupy the seat next to her. He’s Nicolas Harte, whose good looks leave Cassandra speechless, but not for long. After mustering enough courage to strike up a conversation, she learns Nicolas is everything she wants in a man—smart, successful, and available. There’s only one catch: He’s “GU” (geographically undesirable). Nonetheless, Cassandra falls in love with Nicolas and makes the uncharacteristic decision to move from Los Angeles to New York to be with him. But Cassandra gets a rude awakening when she discovers there’s something rotten in the Big Apple.
Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming.
This led to plays outside of the church, including Alretha’s “One, Woman Two Lives,” starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient, Denise Dowse. The production garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.
In between plays, Alretha’s first novel “Daughter Denied” was launched in 2008 and in 2011, Alretha launched “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Her third novel, “Married in the Nick of Nine” was launched in 2012 and is taking readers and reviewers across the country by storm. “The Baby in the Window,” the standalone sequel to “Married in the Nick of Nine,” is Alretha’s fourth novel.