Meet Jacinta Howard #WineWithWritersATL

Hello and Happy Friday!

This Friday we’re continuing our introduction to the authors who will be participating in Wine With Writers in ATL. Today I’m sharing an interview and an excerpt from Jacinta Howard!

1- Would you like to see into the future? Why?

Nope. It’s hard enough just dealing with the past and the present.

2- What’s in your purse?

I’ve reverted back to my old self and have only been carrying a purse occasionally lately. But receipts from Chick-Fil-a and Marshalls, pens, and probably hair ties for my daughter.

3- What show on Netflix did you binge watch embarrassingly fast?

The last show I “binged” sorta-kinda was Black Mirror season 4. Letitia Wright’s episode was pretty dumb but she’s awesome as Princess Shuri in Black Panther, so there’s that at least.

4-If you could level up humans as a species, what stat or ability would you increase?

Our ability to think independently- without the constant yearning for a “leader,” our discernment, and our empathy. Gosh, our empathy. Humans can be so judge-y and gross. I’d also increase our ability to hold our breath. I dunno why but that feels significant.

5- What do a lot of parents do that screws up their kid?

Give them too much sugar and then wonder how come they won’t sit down somewhere.

6- What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

The “very special” drug episode. Don’t nobody care if you smoke weed, dude. Cool out, Brenda.

7- What’s the most crucial thing for a healthy relationship?

For married relationships? Regular sex. Obviously, what “regular” means for you is very specific to your marriage/circumstances, and shouldn’t be defined by outside folks. But “non-existent sex” is definitely indicative of a larger, significant problem, right? The truth is in the sex, man.

8- Why is it so hard for people to make real connections when almost everyone wants to make real connections?

Because most people don’t actually want real connections, only connections that specifically suit them and their needs at the time. I sound cynical.

9- What are the most common roadblocks that stop people from achieving their dreams?

Systemic oppression. Lack of discipline. An idea of success that’s linked to the principles of capitalism. An unrealistic expectation for what “dreams” are and how long it often takes to achieve them. Overnight success stories are not an actual thing. Also, everyone can’t be rich and famous, or be like, looked at all the time—and that’s okay. Somebody gotta be a plumber. Nothing is wrong with being the plumber—especially if you own your own small business. College isn’t for everyone either, and that’s also okay. Get a trade.

10- If you suddenly found out that your internal monologue for the last week was actually audible, how screwed would you be?

Thing is, I have to be on social media a lot for work. If y’all could read my thoughts while I’m on Twitter, FB or IG… sheesh. I never think anything hurtful or like, mean. But I am like: Why do people need so much attention? No, for real. Why do you think you need to be looked at by everyone? And like, so often? Why do people think they’re so smart when they clearly are not? Why do people think they’re so original? Your so-called individualism is cloaked in sameness. No, super judgemental, Christian. That actually is not at all Christlike. Why are people so condescending and judge-y? Does it make them feel smart? Don’t people get tired of being snarky all the time? Why do you think anyone cares about you lip-syncing your favorite song in the car? You are not in a music video… for a reason. Was that snarky and judge-y? Probably.

Excerpt from Blind Expectations:

This time, he knocked on her door. And when she opened it, he saw dried tears on her cheeks.

“What do you want?”

She wasn’t surprised to see him there. Her voice was barely audible, dry and hoarse. He stepped inside, shutting and locking the door behind him, as he yanked on the hem of her t-shirt, his t-shirt, jerking her close. His mouth was on hers and she yielded instantly, kissing him so hard, their teeth clacked together, clawing at his biceps as he lifted her before lowering them to the ground. She tasted so good on his lips—sweet and rich like the merlot she’d probably drinking. He didn’t bother with her panties, simply pushed them to the side as he freed himself from his sweats and all but slammed into her with a low, animalistic grunt. She was digging her short nails into his back but still managed to lift her head enough to get at his mouth, pushing her tongue between his lips, her taste filling every part of his being. She was moaning on every breath, her cries almost primal, and he pulled at her hair, burying his head in the space between her collarbone and her neck, grunting as he drove himself into her warmth, hunting for his contentment and peace, trying to find it in her, in spite of all that was between them.

Blind Expectations, Available Now on Amazon- http://amzn.to/2hSntCf

Website Link: jacintahoward.net

Meet the author at Wine With Writers winewithwriters.splashthat

#WineWithWriters is coming to ATL!

Hello, dear readers and Happy Saturday!

Just popping in to tell you about an event that I will be participating in this March called #WinewithWriters!

Hosted by Jacinta Howard and Nia Forrester, this event will be a lively discussion around Identity & Individuality: The Movement Toward Issue-Based Black Women’s Fiction. I really excited for this event and can’t wait to be in the room with these intelligent and well-read authors!

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From now until March 10th, we’re going to be sharing interviews and excerpts from the attending authors. Today it’s Nia Forrester!

Here’s a little bit about Nia:

What’s in your purse?There’s one constant when it comes to my purses (although I prefer to say ‘pocketbook’ even though it’s old-fashioned because purse sounds so … girly) … they’re messy. But right now, here’s what I’ve got; and I’m going to be as author-ly in my descriptions as I can. I have: the smallest and lightest of my four (yes, I know, it’s ridiculous) e-readers which is in a somewhat flowery, colorful case; a little pencil case thingie with my fountain pens and spare cartridges; a small pocket-sized notebook with a blue-and-white paisley print cover for the unexpected stroke of creative genius; a much larger 2018 brown leather daybook/calendar; Trident Purely spearmint chewing gum, a small brush, several travel-size lotion tubes ranging from fragrance-free to coconut & lime; black leather gloves; my fancy sunglasses that I have had for a record TWO years (that’s why I got the fancy ones, because then I would know I had to take care of them); napkins from Starbucks (where I no longer buy coffee but over-pay for tea), receipts, Excedrin migraine; clear mascara; Palmer’s cocoa butter lip balm; black ponytail holders; and about a half-dozen pens.

Favorite book you’ve written? That’s like asking a parent which is their favorite child. I especially love ‘The Fall’ because it’s women’s fiction and romance and issue-oriented, and features a strong woman. All of the things I most like to read, and enjoyed writing as well. And then there’s ‘Lifted’ which featured unlikely lovers, with unconventional lives — they are wonderfully imperfect, which I think makes for good characters and good fiction. It certainly made for a good time writing it. Those books are closest to what I want to be writing. I also love the short ‘Still’, because it was moody and quiet and I was able to make myself say a lot, with relatively few words. It was a challenge, but I liked the product. And of course, my first-born, ‘Commitment’ because it is evidence of how … optimistic I was when I first started self-publishing. I was unselfconscious and didn’t think at all about the eventual reader of the book. I still can’t believe I wrote 500+ pages without considering whether people might actually want to read it. It’s even more incredible that people did read it, and that some liked it a lot.

Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter? Please share why. Definitely fall. It’s my favorite time of year. I like the colors, the smells, the wind that can whip up unexpectedly, the bursts of hot and cold, which is kind of like my personality. I think it illustrates my changeable nature, my moodiness.

If you were a city, which city would you choose to be and why? I would be New York. It is a maddening, confounding, contradictory mess of a place. Sometimes amazing and surprising, sometimes harsh and forbidding. Always complicated, with an arrogant sense of its own importance, coupled with constant self-criticism.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?After law school, before I began earnestly adulting, I decided I would temp for a while, and rest my weary brain cells. All through law school I hadn’t written a word of fiction, which was AWFUL. I just didn’t have the time! So, before I went off to earn some real money as a lawyer, I decided to temp. One of my assignments was working for the U.S. Marshals Service. They apprehend fugitives from the federal criminal justice system among other things. I was responsible for admitting the marshals to the facility in Washington DC when they returned with fugitives in custody. It was upsetting to me to see people in chains. I was glad that assignment was a short one.

What technology from science fiction do you wish existed? Teleportation. I’m generally pretty mellow but traffic, airline delays (or even a completely trouble-free trip that involves flying, because of all the doggone hoops you jump through before getting on the plane) turn me into a joyless shrew. I would love to be able to just ‘will’ myself from one place to another. Also, there are all these cool places where I want to visit, where I have friends, and only the thought of “getting there” holds me back. 12-hour travel time? No thank you very much. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to those places, but not without a lot of complaining.

What’s the most crucial thing for a healthy relationship?I don’t think it’s one thing, but if I had to pick, I would say healthy communication. With emphasis on the ‘healthy’. Which for me doesn’t mean talking for talking’s sake, or spilling your every thought. Rather, it would mean, for me, considering when, how and what to communicate. And doing it consistently, and with compassion for your partner.

Why is it so hard for people to make real connections when almost everyone wants to make real connections? I think fear. Fear of disappointment; fear of rejection; and ultimately fear of being hurt. I think that’s universal.

What are the most common road blocks that stop people from achieving their dreams? 1) fear 2) complacency; and 3) what they call in the recovery community “negative self-talk”.
If you suddenly found out that your internal monologue for the last week was actually audible, how screwed would you be? Pretty screwed. I set high expectations for myself which I guess is fine. But I also have a horrible tendency of setting high, unvoiced, unwarranted and oftentimes unfair expectations of other people. I expect things of them they are completely unaware of, and then I blame them for not living up to those expectations. That blame seldom results in outright cruel behavior, but it definitely results in me having very scathing thoughts.


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Excerpt:

From ‘The Takedown’:

Watching Kayla get up from her place on the floor and say something to the kids as she left, Jamal’s eyes followed her. As was always the case for occasions like this, she had done something special to her hair. It fell in wavy coils to the center of her back and was pulled up and away from her face on the sides and top, peaking in the middle. Until her, he never knew—nor had reason to think about—the beauty of locs. He loved hers—the rough texture, the sturdiness, and the symbolism of them; and the way she held her back and neck regal and erect when they were piled high atop her head. And he loved the attention she got; and that he got just from being with her.

In his business, locs were still almost subversive unless you were part of the neo-soul, or world music scene. Or if not subversive exactly, they were very much the exception rather than the norm. Except for niche music, almost everyone went for the long, sleek mane of lighter-side-of-brown hair, and the almost airbrush-perfect makeup.

Jamal dug it that his woman stood out from all that, because he wasn’t opposed to standing out himself. Kayla was into darker makeup shades when she wore any at all—wine-colored lips, smoky eyes, and her naturally clay-brown complexion only enhanced, never lightened or altered with heavy foundation.

And the way she dressed was different too. Now that she had the resources to indulge her taste in fashion, she went for the yin-and-yang look. Boyishly baggy palazzo pants or billowy skirts in silk, linen and other natural fabrics, coupled with brief, lightweight but close-fitting tops with spaghetti straps; halter or tube tops, her neck and shoulders, and sometimes her back on display … sexy as fuck.

Without pausing to think how it might look, Jamal followed her, tired of the persistent distance between them—physical and otherwise.

He found her in the powder room, as expected. She was just leaving, but he crowded her back inside and leaned against the door, looking her over. Her nostrils flared a little, as though she could smell how much he wanted her.

“What was that, a job interview or something?”

Makayla’s eyes narrowed. “What’re you …?”

“You, and Robyn’s brother.”

She smirked, her eyes becoming lazy and exasperated. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously.”

That’s why you backed me up in here? To ask what I was talking about with Robyn’s brother?”

“This is where I’m supposed to get all jealous and shit, and take you home early, right?”

Makayla said nothing, just sighed, her expression impassive.

“Because if that’s what you’re thinking …” he continued.

“I would never think that,” she interrupted. “I mean, you’re Jamal Turner. You don’t do jealousy.”

“That’s right,” he said moving closer. Kayla took two corresponding steps back, until she was pressed against the edge of the sink. “I don’t do jealousy.”

She stifled a smile and her head fell back a little so she could maintain eye contact. “Why would you? Because you have everything you want.”

“Everything I want,” he echoed, lowering his head and kissing her at the shell of her ear. “Is already mine, dammit. So, I don’t have to be jealous.”

“Exactly.” She sounded a little breathless. “You don’t.”

When they played little games like this, Jamal was never sure how much was true and how much was part of the dance they liked to do, teasing each other, driving each other crazy. She still drove him crazy that was for sure. And that feeling didn’t get better with time, it got worse.

Inhaling her skin, he allowed just the tip of his tongue to score across its surface, smiling when he felt Kayla’s shiver. Grabbing her chin, he kissed her hard, messing up that dark lipstick she was wearing, and had probably just reapplied.

Feeling himself grow harder, he pressed against her, so she could feel it too. Dropping his hand from her face to her shoulder, and then to her waist, he lifted the hem of her blouse—a wispy yellow thing—knowing that there was nothing underneath. Her nipples were already hard when his fingertips brushed lightly across them. Immediately, he wanted them in his mouth, on his tongue. With his free hand, he reached for the knot at her neck, unfastening it so the halter fell, exposing her to the waist.

Makayla stepped back in surprise and gathered the fabric in her hands, beginning to lift it to cover herself once again.

“Are you out of your mind?” she asked, laughter in her voice. “We’re in Chris Scaife’s bathroom.”

“When you gon’ stop calling him ‘Chris Scaife’, like he’s someone you never met before?” Jamal murmured, lowering his head further, trying to capture the tip of a breast between his lips.

“He’s larger than life, so it’s just weird that …”

“I don’t want to talk about Chris right now,” Jamal said, cutting her off.

He sucked in a nipple and felt Makayla lift onto the tips of her toes at the sensation. She tasted good, and it had been much too long since he’d had any. The longest they had ever gone since they’d lived together was three weeks, and that was when he was across the Atlantic. This time it had been almost two weeks, and when he came back it was to exhaustion, a post-midnight call from that pain-in-the-ass Devin Parks, a trip to a florist, and one of his biggest name artists having a freak-out in an exclusive hotel.

He needed her right now. It had been too long. If it wasn’t for this little party to celebrate the christening of Brendan and Tracy’s second baby girl, he would be home, buried inside Kayla, but only after tasting every part of her. Not just the parts easily exposed in someone else’s powder room on short notice.

“Jamal. Baby …”

Her hands were atop his head. He liked how they felt there. He liked when she called him ‘baby’. And he liked that even though she was about to ask him to stop she didn’t really want him to.

“… stop. We have to …” She was talking between short bursts of breath, and by now, she was soaking wet for him.

But maybe he ought to check. Just to make sure he hadn’t lost his mojo. He slid a hand down the front of her pants and that was it—she shut him down.

Pressing both her palms against his chest, Makayla shoved him away and used to the space to twist free. Grabbing the strings of her halter, she knotted it at her neck once again, eyes wide, as if to say, ‘look what you got me into!

Taking a deep breath, he collected himself, willing his erection to disappear. Watching Makayla reapply her lipstick didn’t really help with that so he shut his eyes and concentrated for a minute, making himself think about work. There was always at least one little problem brewing on the horizon that was guaranteed to take his mind off sex so he focused on that, and within moments felt the tightness in his groin dissipate.

When she restored her appearance to her satisfaction, Jamal took her hand and led Kayla out of the bathroom, pausing before they rejoined their friends. Leaning in, he whispered in her ear.

“Make whatever excuses you have to. Meet me at the car in five minutes.”

Book/Website Link:

Buy the book, and meet the author at Wine with Writers ATL, March 10, 2018.

COVER REVEAL!!

So, my newsletter subscribers got a peek at this yesterday as well as a pretty lengthy excerpt from #aguynamedLevi that I’m only sharing with them.

There’s perks to subscribing, you guys.

But anyway, without further ado! Here’s Levi!

“GOOD COPS DO EXIST…”

Camden Police Officer Levi Alistar Raaymond has a Superman complex. He is determined to serve and protect—even if that means, risking his career to support his girlfriend, Ava Marie in making sure the cop who murdered her friend is brought to justice. Good cops do exist but if good cops stand by and allow the bad cops to harass, abuse, and kill the very people they are meant to serve and protect, they are not good cops. They’re accomplices.

“I’M THE WIND IN YOUR CAPE…”

Falling in love with a cop was the last thing Ava wanted or needed in her life, but somehow, loving Levi came to her as naturally as breathing. Keeping their relationship intact while everything in the world seems to want to pull them apart feels impossible, but she is determined to be the wind in his cape, no matter what adversity they face. 

Add to your shelf on GOODREADS!


Also, DL White is hosting a holiday book giveaway and I’m giving away books one thru three of The Lust Diaries! Visit her site to get the details on the giveaway!

Have a happy Saturday!

bigXsloppyO,

Tasha