file5791287577951 (2)Now that the elections are over, we can go back to what we enjoy the most – reading. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and cooler, just right to snuggle up with a good book.

But before you reach for that book that’s been gathering dust on your nightstand, stop and think for a moment. What do you look for in a good book? What makes you pick up the book in the first place? I would guess the first thing would be the cover, but you don’t just want to admire the cover, you want to read what is between the covers.

So what tickles your fancy? Is it the plot, the characters, or the beautiful prose? For me, I would say all three, and if you can place all of that in a breathtaking setting, you have a fan for life.

Notice I didn’t mention genre, even though there are certain types I will not read. Horror, vampire and detective novels with lots of blood and gore turn me off. As does erotica.

There was a time when I would have included sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian novels in the list. Then one of my friends decided to venture into worlds unknown and wrote her first sci-fi novel, Story In The Stars, and I was hooked. Then along came Hunger Games and I was drawn in, hook, line, and sinker.

So what was it about these two books in particular that kept me turning the pages?
1. Plot – this has to be compelling enough to keep me reading. While I love descriptive passages, they shouldn’t be so long that they draw me out of the story. Also, even though it is fiction, the plot should be believable.
2. Characters – I must fall in love with them. I must understand their motive and be able to defend them even when they slip up, as real people sometimes do.
3. Prose – Think of it as the special ingredients you add to a meal to make it mouthwatering and appetizing. Every morsel you bite should stimulate your taste buds for more. So it is with your writing. If it is flat, with grammatical errors, typos, lacking flavor, then it will not appeal to your reader no matter how great the story line is.

What kinds of books do you like? What is on your bookshelf or in your kindle right now? If you are looking for a book with a compelling plot, lovable characters, and flavorful prose, pick up a copy of Coming Out of Egypt, now available for just .99c on kindle. Or you can download it for free on Kindle Unlimited.

ebookAJ It took me many years to craft my first novel Coming Out of Egypt, the first book of the Egypt trilogy. I wanted characters who were well developed, who would take on the persona of real people and to whom my readers can relate. By the time I’d completed the first draft, I knew those characters as well as, or maybe better than, my family and friends. After all, I created them. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when my characters expressed their feelings – in no uncertain terms – about the upcoming presidential elections and the media’s propensity to grab – pardon me – to feed on anything that smacks of sensationalism.

Here is a scene I walked in on recently where Marva, the protagonist, was close to a meltdown over something that was being shown on television.

Snatching the remote from her sister June: “We are not to watch this. This is so painful to me. Have you forgotten what Daddy used to do to us?” She bursts into tears and flings the remote into the corner.

June dives after it. “I want to see that poster …”

Marva goes after her and tries to take the remote. “Junie, women all over the world are weeping now. Whether they were abused or not. This election makes me want to …”

“To what, Sister?”

Marva holds her head and runs from the room.

Cicely, Marva’s former teacher enters. “Hi, girls.”

“Oh, hi, Miss Stewart.”  June doesn’t look up . She is busy trying to replace the batteries that fell out when Marva threw the remote.

“What are you doing? Where’s Marva?” Cicely asks.

June holds up the device, now intact. “She’s upset over what she’s seeing on TV. About the elections.”

“And she should be. As a woman who was abused by her father, I can’t stand to look at that filth either. It reeks of sexism, misogynism, and plain old male chauvinism. I am telling my class they are not to watch television – ever again. Women need to rise up in protest against this sort of thing.”

June stares open-mouthed. “What’s that word? I need my dictionary.” She drops the remote and runs from the room.

I try to sneak behind Cicely’s back to get the instrument, but David, Cicely’s husband and ace detective, enters. He kisses his wife then tilts her chin upward. “What’s the matter, sweetheart? Why so glum?”

She buries her face in his shirt. “It’s this election.  Look at what it’s doing to the girls, to women everywhere.”

He steps away from her, his face grim. “Don’t worry. I’ll catch the perpetrators. And throw them in jail.”

They leave the room, and I grab the remote. After all, I need to see what’s going on because tomorrow my characters will come and ask me to tell them what they missed.

To learn more about these characters go to:

Here’s a neat accessory for laptop users. The nice thing about this laptop stand is not only is it adjustable, but it’s ventilated to keep your laptop from overheating. This will make a nice gift for yourself or someone in your life. If you do get one by clicking this link, I will receive a small commission.

file5791287577951 (2)Just recently, I came across a post on one of my author Facebook pages where an author complained that she had paid a lot of money to have her book proofread before publishing, only to have a friend call her and tell her that she found typos in the book. How important is proofreading to the indie author? It is extremely important.

Traditionally published authors have the advantage of professional editing, but independently published authors are on their own, unless they hire reputable editors who can polish their books so they are good as traditional ones. But from what I mentioned above, not every editor or proofreader is worth the money they charge.

The thing is though, if we indie authors want to have our books taken seriously by the reading public, we should hold ourselves to the highest possible standards. Sadly, I see too many books by indie authors with errors that make me cringe. If this would make you feel better, I found two typos in a Dan Brown book. Maybe that’s excusable in a 400-page book and one by such a famous author.

I pride myself on being one of the best proofreaders there is. Maybe it’s from my years as a teacher, or maybe it’s just my penchant for thoroughness; whatever it is, I have proofread books for independent authors, and have received nothing but praise for my work. But what blew my socks off was when my critique group sent me Eagle Eyes. They are always complimenting me on finding those tiny little errors that seem invisible to other members of the group, and this was their way of showing their appreciation.

So, if you are looking for a proofreader/editor who will help you get your work ready for publication – traditional or independent – I would be happy to hear from you.


I am showcasing my book Coming Out of Egypt this month. This novel deals with the lives of characters who were sexually abused and are struggling to forge new lives for themselves. There is so much to be gained from this 256 – page book. Apart from showing the devastating effects of sexual abuse, the book deals with relationships, the value of forgiveness, and the power of redemption. Get your copy today by clicking the image below.


Shop Amazon Devices – All New Echo Dot

This is something I don’t usually do, but as a member of Amazon Prime, I am entitled to benefit from some of these great Amazon deals and therefore I thought I should share them with you. If you are already a member of Prime, you know that you can get free shipping on your Amazon orders, download music, movies and TV shows free of cost. With the kids home for the summer, you can keep them occupied with Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated program or Original Children’s series including Wishenproof, Annedroids and others.

If you are not already a Prime member you can sign up here or if you are not sure Prime is for you, you can sign up for a free trial. But now there is something even more exciting. Sign up now and take advantage of the deals going on right now and leading up to Prime Day just 5 days away. Just click on the banner below to learn more. And if you do sign up, as an Amazon associate, I will receive a commission.

0677845-R1-007-2_aTomorrow is the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Fourth of July is one of the most popular holidays here in the US, and many people have the day off from work. That means barbecues, trips to the beach or some other hangout venue, and of course, fireworks when the sun goes down. If you are like me, you would take advantage of the time off to catch up on some reading.

Let me recommend a book that is sure to become a summer reading favorite. It’s my first novel Coming Out Of Egypt which I’ve written about before. This is a clean, compelling read about two sisters trying to forge a new life for themselves while trying to put their abusive past behind them. It’s a story that combines romance, suspense and redemption in a way that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. There is no cussing or swearing and no sex, but trust me, you won’t want to put it down.

So today, I have a special reason for bringing this book to your attention. I’m running a special promo until Tuesday. You can get Coming Out Of Egypt on Amazon kindle during this special promotional period for just 99c. Or you can download it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Just click on the image below.

Happy reading and Happy Fourth!

ebookAJOver the past weeks, I have been giving you little tidbits about my new novel Coming Out Of Egypt, the first book in the Egypt series. Today I’m giving you the opening scene to the novel. Read, enjoy and please leave a comment below.

Thunder rumbled in the distance, and Marva Garcia looked through the window at the tall trees silhouetted against the sky. On a clear day, she could identify most of the trees by name, but with the growing darkness she couldn’t tell which was cedar or mango, breadfruit or samaan or any of the stately trees that flanked the estate. It was as if they had all banded together to disguise themselves against the threatening storm. Only the coconut and gru – gru palms were distinguishable by their long, slender trunks and fringed branches.
Nearer the house, the smaller fruit trees were still visible, but their leaves hung down as if bracing for what was to come. The door of the storage shed where they stored their produce – grapefruit, oranges and bananas – rattled as the wind blew through it. Marva had heard it multiple times, but tonight the sound grated on her nerves. She looked at her younger sister, June, sitting huddled on a stool, head buried in her arms like a sleeping chicken. Occasionally, a sob escaped from beneath the bush of hair. If only she didn’t have to experience any of this.
Marva cast another anxious glance at the heavy rain clouds hanging like wet sheets on a clothesline. Might as well do it now before the storm hit.
She tugged at June’s arms. “Come on. It’s time.”
The girl raised her head, showing eyes reddened and wide like those of a frightened deer. She opened her mouth as if to speak then closed it and stumbled to her feet.
Marva softened her tone. “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
June nodded, indicating she would go.
Marva closed the window. Steeling herself, she opened the bedroom door and crept forward, June following right behind her.
He lay on his stomach on the floor in the same position in which he’d fallen, head at a
rakish angle, arms flung out in front him, one knee slightly bent. June gasped, and Marva glanced over her shoulder. June’s lower lip trembled, her face pale, arms crossed over her bosom. Marva hesitated before turning back to the body on the floor.
Her heart pounded so hard, it sounded in her ears, and for one frightening moment she thought she would faint. But fainting was a luxury she couldn’t afford right now. She leaned against the wall for a second to quiet her heart then with a grimace, bent low and spread her arms. Something swelled in his back pocket. She pulled out the wallet, flung it on the bed, then straightened and looked back at June, peeking from behind her fingers. Lord, I can’t do it.

Now, if you would like to read more, why not click on the image below?

As every indie author knows, one of the best ways to move forward in our writing career is to support other indie authors. So today I’m happy to participate in this promotional blitz of Kimberley Nadine Knights’ debut novel The Cilantro In Apple Pie. In case you didn’t know it, cilantro is an herb commonly used in Trinidad and Tobago, Kimberley’s birth place. As you read the synopsis of the novel and the author’s bio, you’ll understand the relevance of this catchy title. You can further help spread the word about this fascinating new novel by participating in the giveaway, sharing with your social media friends, purchasing a copy and writing a review on Amazon.

Below you’ll find a synopsis of the novel, author bio and interview and other important links.

Book & Author Details:

The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights
Published by: Ravenswood Publishing
Publication date: May 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Kimberley 2



Fragnut. Confused? Well so is everyone else at Lumiere Hall Prep when sixteen-year-old Rubie Keane rolls in from Trinidad and Tobago talking her weird lingo. Not that she minds the culture confusion; she’s determined to leave the past behind her and be overlooked—but a certain stoic blue blood is equally as determined to foil her plans.

Gil Stromeyer’s offbeat personality initially makes Rubie second-guess his sanity, but she suspects his erratic outbursts of violence mask a deeper issue in his troubled, charmed life. Despite his disturbing behavior, a gradual bond forms between the two. However, on the night of the annual Stromeyer gala, events unfold that leave Rubie stripped of her dignity and kick Gil’s already fragile world off its axis.

Both their well-kept secrets are uncovered, but Gil’s revelation proves that sometimes the best remedy for a bad case of lost identity, is a dash of comradery from an ally packed with flavor.

B & N

Kimberley Nadine Knights knew when she kept willingly opting out of parties so she could stay home and write instead, that she was destined to be an author.

Born and raised in the tropical twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, when this Caribbean girl isn’t creating new plotlines for her ever growing lineup of fictional characters, she spends her time strumming her guitar to indie rock songs and snapping once in a lifetime photos halfway across the globe in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France.

She’s an avid fan of The Walking Dead series and firmly believes that The Food Network should consider her being a judge on the next Chopped challenge.
Visit her website and learn more about this up and coming author.


1. What inspires you? Definitely music – specifically original scores from films. My favorites are from The Village, Finding Neverland, Pride & Prejudice, Meet Joe Black and Life as a House.

2. What’s your advice to an aspiring author?
Write what your love not what you like. You have to be passionate about a topic to reach those magical words of ‘the’ and ‘end.’ Never write a book because that particular genre is popular – by the time you’re done it’ll be saturated. Also ignore the naysayers…you’ll be part of a very exclusive club when you finally finish your book 🙂

3. Do you ever experience writer’s block? I like to call it writer’s diversion lol. Suddenly my idea isn’t as exciting as I initially thought, so then I drift into another storyboard. But absence makes the heart grow fonder and I usually return to book 1 with full force after a few weeks. For normal writers block I force myself to write 1000 words a day even if it’s 1000 words of crap.

4. Who is your favorite character in The Cilantro in Apple Pie?
Believe it or not it’s the male protagonist Gil. His character was so much fun to develop because he’s such a drastic departure from anything I know firsthand. He’s flawed in so many ways but for the right reasons…so you can’t help but root for him.

5. Could you describe your definition of a perfect writing day?
I can’t write in the day…only at night. Guess that makes me some kind of literary vampire – but my ideal writing ‘time-period’ would be locked in a cold room with a desk and my laptop, burning the midnight oil till 6am with my score mp3’s and a cup of java.

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The first time I heard this expression I couldn’t help laughing. In case you don’t know what molasses is, it’s a thick,15 Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses dark liquid extracted during the refining of sugar cane to make table sugar. I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, a country that grew sugar cane and produced sugar for export, and maybe because of that, molasses was very popular with Trinidad housewives. My mother used it to make toloom, a dark, sticky, bitter-sweet candy, which was, and I believe still is, well liked by the kids. I found the recipe here. But that wasn’t all she made. She used molasses to make all kinds of medicinal drinks which, if they didn’t always cure the illness, certainly tasted like medicine.

So why am I writing all this? Because I was always fascinated with the slowness with which the molasses ran – no, it didn’t run – came out of the bottle, as if gravity was non-existent. So, could you imagine molasses having to work its way uphill against gravity? Well, these past weeks I have been feeling like molasses going uphill as far as publishing my book Coming Out Of Egypt goes. I had originally planned to have it released the middle of April, but I lost my battle with the Createspace template, and that’s when my horrors began.

After struggling to format headers, footers and everything else, I gave up and outsourced it to someone on Fiverr. She did a fine job. Every header and footer was where it was supposed to be and she even did a beautiful Drop Cap. I was about to do a happy dance when I realized that more than half the book was missing. Had I given her only half the file? It’s possible, since I started and stopped so many times and each time I carefully saved the darned thing. So back I went to Fiverr, told her what happened and what I needed. I even offered to pay her to do the rest. She said she would do it by Sunday (yesterday), but she didn’t give me a quote. I uploaded the file – the complete one this time – but haven’t received it yet. No reply from her.

But remember I said the toloom has a bitter-sweet taste? Well, I tasted something sweet today. The file I uploaded to Smashwords to place my book on preorder made it successfully into the premium catalog. And I did the formatting all by myself! You may be asking why didn’t I tackle the Createspace monster myself? Because Createspace needs headers and footers with page numbers. Digital files don’t need all that. That’s the beauty of technology. So now my book is still going to be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo etc.

Whether you are writing, querying agents and editors or self-publishing, you are going to have to climb the hill. Anything worth having has a cost factor. It may cost you your hair – one friend said she almost lost hers – or your sanity, but it will cost. Just be prepared for it, and keep on climbing.


Audiobooks have become very popular. You can listen to them almost anywhere, and so you get to “read” more books in less time. Now you can get even more books by signing up for Amazon’s Audible Membership program. In addition you get,

  • 2 free audiobooks after signing up for a 30-day free trial
  • 1 audiobook of your choice every month
  • 30% off every additional audiobook and much more.  Click on the link below to learn more.



ebookAJWhen I first started shopping around for an agent for Coming Out Of Egypt, I came up with rejection after rejection, one of the reasons the book took so long to get to the publishing stage. Since most of the people I queried did not give a reason for their rejection, I thought the reason was the subject I was writing about. I had polished and had the story critiqued by some of the best authors one can find anywhere, until I thought it dazzled like a new coin in the sun. I did receive a few requests for the full manuscript, but that was as far as it went.

One agent at a conference said that women who had been sexually abused would not want to read about sexual abuse. That may be true for some, but as I scan through social media and blogs with the limited time that I have, I am finding books on the subject. These books focus on encouraging those who have gone through this horrible experience rather than on the abuse itself. And this is my reason for writing the Egypt series. Coming Out Of Egypt is the first book in the series. The other two are already written and show the progression of two sisters from scared, desperate, beaten-down individuals who make bad choices to beautiful, well-rounded, productive members of society.

Of course, there are other reasons for writing the book. I want you to be entertained and remember the characters, places and events long after you reach The End. The plot is multi-dimensional. It explores themes such as romance, forgiveness, suspense and family relations, all of which I will deal with in future posts. The book is now on preorder at Smashwords. You can order it here and please tell your friends about it.

BTW, you may notice that I have a new cover. This is the final one.


With Mother’s Day right around the corner you may be looking for something to give that special woman in your life. As you know, if Amazon doesn’t have it, you won’t find it anywhere else, so click on the link below and make your selections.

Years ago I received the pleasant surprise of my short story winning an honorable mention in a Writer’s Digest contest. Since then I haven’t been able to find a suitable market for this story. Now with Easter upon us I thought what better time to publish a creative non-fiction piece that deals with the story behind Easter? So, after reading about authors who are publishing short stories on Amazon, I decided to give it a try, and here it is:

If you do purchase a copy of this story, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about it and leave a review on Amazon. Thank you!

Also at Easter time, you may decide to purchase cards and gifts for your loved ones and prepare your home to celebrate Easter. You can find all you need by clicking on the link below.

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