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Friday, November 30, 2012

Westmore Excerpt 2 -- Meet The Braxtons

Nestled on fifty acres near a secluded forest, set the Braxton mansion, an epitome of celebrity houses. For over forty years, patriarch Clayton Braxton, a world-renowned publisher, whose company had a vast fortune of over one billion, called the place home. A man of elegant taste, Clayton's home had all the necessities; ten bedrooms, five baths, a guesthouse, library, plus the pool, and the tennis/basketball court; every person's dream. From the outside it seemed marvelous, but on the inside reaped a place filled with family tragedies including; many fights, the 'supposed' murder of matriarch Alexis, and the death of Clayton.
            Ten years ago after his death, Clayton's eldest son Andrew and his family moved into the mega mansion. The family loved living in the luxurious palace; Andrew's children enjoyed exploring the wonders of the estate, having no idea of its history and the foreboding events that were to come.
Elizabeth sat in the dining room, enjoying her breakfast of eggs, toast, and tea, while catching up on the current events in The Westmore Gazette. Her attention switched from the paper to her husband who entered the room, sharply dressed in a navy suit and his silver hair slicked back, the way he fixed it every morning. As each day passed, he started to resemble his father; Clayton always had his hair slicked back and wore finely tailored suits. He said "in order to run a successful company, you've got to dress successfully and be powerful," something Andrew took to heart.
Noticing her husband's stiff posture, she knew he was in a bad mood and the reason why.
"Where's Wayne?" Andrew asked.
"He's still asleep," her eyes shifted back to an article in the paper.
"Why is he still sleeping?" he poured a cup of coffee.
"He came in late last night."
"Let me guess. He stayed out partying with his friends," he joined his beautiful wife at the table; and could tell by her expression she wasn’t in a pleasant mood either.
"They celebrated Wayne getting his diploma;" she sipped on her honey spiked tea, "besides you shouldn't chastise Wayne. I’ve heard stories about your younger days." She smirked as she stared at Andrew, who fidgeted, she was proud of herself, making her husband uncomfortable. He knew better than to criticize their son, if there was one thing she didn't tolerate; Andrew messing with one of their kids. He was always the criticizing and controlling type, just like his father. Elizabeth didn't like his style of parenting and the kids didn't like it either. But luckily for them and unfortunately for Andrew, she wasn't the type of woman who let someone walk all over her; she stood up for herself and her kids.
She waited for him to make a snappy comeback, nothing. He didn't say anything and didn't even look at her; he hanged his head down low and concentrated on the breakfast plate in front of him. Often she wondered how they survived twenty-five years of marriage; they had a tumultuous relationship, knowing how to push each others' buttons. They both didn't know what they were getting into when they said their vows that summer afternoon. Andrew thought he was getting a wife who would bore him children and just sit idly while he ruled the roost. Little did he know Elizabeth wasn't that type of gal.
"That boy should concentrate on starting a career, not bar-hopping."
"Andrew!" Elizabeth slammed her hands on the table. "We've talked about this, remember?" she gently cradled her sore hands in her lap, "Wayne said he wanted to take some time off, so we should obey his wishes."
"How much time does he need?"
"I'd say a month or two."
"That's great," he threw his cloth napkin on the table, "by the time he's finished discovering himself or—whatever it is he's going to do during his little break there won't be any positions left for him." Andrew rose from his chair and walked to a round mahogany table in the hallway. "Why does he need a break?"
"He's burnt out from school," she stared at her husband, "four years is a long time."
"I don't want to see him waste his life,” Andrew sifted through some papers in his briefcase. "He should come work..."
"Don't even start,” she raised her voice.
"Come on, it'd be wonderful having Wayne work at the family company."
"Yes, it would be wonderful." Elizabeth stood and made her way to the breakfast cart, to pour herself another cup of tea. "But if Wayne's going to work for you, it will be of his own choosing. I don't want him to be forced into something he doesn't want to do."
Andrew walked to his wife and whispered in her ear, "at least I'm looking after our son, unlike you I care about his future."
She bit her bottom lip and felt like slapping him across the face. How dare he insult my parenting skills? Angrily she glared at her husband, then her gaze shifted towards the dining room entrance. Wayne stood there in a pair of gray sweatpants and a navy shirt, his dark brown hair messy from a restless night.
He knew his parents were having an argument about him. "Am I interrupting?" He asked in a hoarse voice.
"No, come on in,"
Wayne took a seat at the head of the table, while his mom poured him some coffee.
Andrew stood beside his son. "Did you have a fun night?"
"Yeah, Gary Thomas had a party at his house." He didn’t say anything else; he knew
if he went into any further details his father would throw a fit, especially if he mentioned how the guys did tequila shots, and then jumped into the pool.
"Well, isn't that lovely," Andrew put his hand on his son’s shoulder. "So how long do you plan on being a party animal?"
"Andrew,” Elizabeth exclaimed, “you're going to be late," she pointed to the diamond and platinum watch on her wrist.
He looked at his Rolex watch, "you're right. I should be going," he grabbed his briefcase. "Unlike some people, I have a job to go to."

Meanwhile, across town, Jeff Braxton was having a more calming and relaxing morning than his older brother. Sharply dressed in a pair of tan pants and white buttoned down shirt, he sat in the living room of his brick Colonial. While not as big as Andrew's mansion, it was just as elegant, thanks to his wife’s interior decorating skills. Sure he could afford a mansion if he wanted to, but Jeff and Marie were happy in their cozy, little home. Since their daughter Vanessa left, and only the two of them at home, they didn't need all the extra necessities and rooms that came with one of those mega mansions.
            Jeff read the business section of the newspaper when Marie entered the room, talking on the phone.
"Take care, honey. I'll talk to you later." She hung up the phone.
"Were you talking to Vanessa again?"
"Yes," she took a seat on the couch next to her husband; "I miss her so much."
"I do too," Jeff put his arm around his wife and caressed her shoulder. "But you've got to realize she's a grown woman, who's married..."
"And lives far away," she pulled her brown highlighted hair behind her ears. "Why did she have to move?"
"Will had a great job offer. What did you want him to do? Turn it down?"
"He should have."
Jeff stood and put on his matching suit jacket, "You've got to let this go, Marie."
"I can't help it, she's our only child," Marie sighed.
He ran his fingers through his dark hair, streaked with gray at the temples. It upset him when Marie constantly mentioned the fact Vanessa was their only child; she never got over the reality they didn't have more children, neither did he. He always blamed himself for costing his wife a second child and he still felt the remorse every time she bought up the subject.
He picked up his briefcase and headed towards the foyer; he turned to Marie before he left. "I'll see you tonight," then he made a dash for the front door.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Westmore Excerpt 1--Meet The Greens

Charlotte Greet sat in the living room of her spacious Cape Cod Styled home, holding a long-stemmed red rose in her hand, she glanced at the calendar, a big red circle marked the date, January 14, her anniversary. She dreaded the moment every year, but she forced herself to go through the process. She looked at a framed picture on an end table, then stared down at her diamond ring and wedding band she still wore. Today would've marked her 30th wedding anniversary.
She wasn't looking for love, when she walked across the college campus that autumn day. Late for her drama class, she took a detour across the lawn, as she ran to the theater her eyes shifted to an oak tree, where a guy sat underneath playing his guitar. At the time, she didn't think much about him, but as the days turned into weeks, she found herself walking the same path, so she could catch a glimpse of the handsome student. There was something about him that awakened feelings inside of her, whether it was his long brown hair or the way he played his guitar, she couldn’t shake her feelings for him.
Not having the nerve to go up to him, she continued her usual routine of sneaking a peek as she hurried by. One day, as she left class, she turned to stare at him, and at that same moment, he glanced up from his guitar flashing a smile her way. Perpetuated by him, she fell to the ground and dropped her books. The handsome man she spent weeks looking at came over and offered her a hand. After helping her to her feet, picking up the books, and brushing dirt of her jacket, he introduced himself as Michael Green, a teaching major and avid music lover.
With nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, Charlotte took up his invitation of having lunch at a nearby diner. Over coffee and pie, they got to know each other and found they shared common interests, both were Carolina natives and lovers of the arts, for her drama, for him music. They sat there the whole day talking right up until closing time, when the waitress informed them they had to leave.
In a matter of a week, they began dating, then within a few months, she moved into his off-campus apartment. Their days were spent attending classes, which Michael escorted Charlotte to. During the nights, when they had no studying they settled down to watch a movie or occasionally go to a bar where Michael and his band performed. Nearly a year after they first met, Michael got down on bended knee and proposed, which Charlotte happily accepted. Their parents wanted them to wait until they finished college before they married, but neither Michael nor Charlotte were a fan of long engagements, so one weekend, they ran off and eloped. Afterwards they had a small celebration with their family and friends in their apartment; pizza, chips, and beer served as part of their reception dinner.
Charlotte stared at her wedding picture, she in a white flowing gown and Michael in a plaid suit with his hair tied back into a ponytail. Then she stared at another picture of her and Michael, this one taken six years ago. He looked as handsome as ever, although his long hair cut to a more suitable short style, but he still flashed that dazzling smile she fell in love with.
As she stared at his picture, she ran her fingers through her long dark hair; the last few years haven't been kind to her. She used to have a wonderful life, she and Michael were the picture perfect couple raising their four kids; Jack, Scott, Alicia, and Peter; in Westmore. They had dreams of one day seeing their children get married and have children of their own. Sadly that dream ended four years ago, when her husband was killed in a car crash on his way home from work, in an instant their perfect life was shattered.
The first year after his death, Charlotte was a zombie; spending most of her time in her bedroom, cut off from her family and the rest of the world. All day and night she would cry her heart out, causing stress to her body. Finally, her children stepped up to the plate and got her out of her trance like state. They convinced her, this isn't what daddy would've wanted. He wouldn't want her to mope around all day, he'd want her to go out and enjoy life. Although she didn't want to admit it, she knew they were right, knowing Michael he'd be fussing at her behavior. Instead of staying home, wallowing in self-pity day-after-day, she finally got out and did something with her life. She owned a successful business with her best friend, and her kids, although all grown and had lives of their own, still made time for their dear old mom.
Although she was doing better and had moved on with her life, deep down she still missed Michael.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The End of Stephanie Forrester

As I stated in my earlier posts, I'm a soap opera fan and the shows are a major inspiration for my books. The first soap opera I ever watched is The Bold and the Beautiful, and I'm still a fan til this day. One of my favorite characters is Stephanie Forrester, who in my opinion made the show popular. From her ongoing feud with Brooke Logan to her crazy antics with Sally Spectra, there was never a dull moment when it came to Stephanie.

However, come Monday, Stephanie Forrester will take her last breath. I, like many longtime B&B fans will be saddened by the loss of one daytime’s most memorable characters. Stephanie was one of the few characters on the show who had personality, whether you loved or hated her you have to admit Stephanie kept viewers entertained and tuning in to see what she’d do next. Now viewers will have to tune in each day to watch the never-ending love triangle between Hope/Liam/Steffy (yawn; wake me when it’s over with).

I’ll probably still tune in to the show, although not quite as much, and I think express the same sentiments as every soap fan out there when I say “The Bold and the Beautiful will never be the same again.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Soap operas are one of the biggest influences for my books, especially the Westmore series. Whenever someone asks me to describe Westmore, I always say it's a romance novel meets soap opera.

The book revolves around three families and in all there are seventeen characters, with a few more to be added later. I won't go into much detail about all the characters, but for anyone who’s curious feel free to check out the Westmore page.

What I love most about the series is the different personalities and backgrounds of the characters and the history they have with each other. Like a soap opera there are individual storylines for the characters, including love triangles, family fighting, and of course backstabbing in the boardroom.

Some readers may think the series is an awesome idea, while others probably think it’s confusing. But I wanted to write a book that was unique and as a writer I think you need to think outside the box. I knew when writing Westmore there would be criticism, yet that was a risk I was willing to take and even if the books never become a success, I’m still proud of them and happy I made the decision to write the series.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Going Home Again

Going Home Again is the first book I wrote and it helped establish my career as an author.  In February 2010, after nearly a year of writing and sending out query letters, Going Home Again was finally published by Romance Divine.

The book revolves around Rachel Mitchell, who’s a fashion photographer living life in New York along with her handsome, successful boyfriend Jeremy David. However, Rachel’s perfect life is shattered by news of her mother’s death. She returns to her home in Virginia to comfort her sisters and her grandmother. While she’s in town, she meets her ex-boyfriend Cole Ashton, whose heart she broke years earlier.

Upon her return to New York, Rachel’s life continues to be turned upside down due to trouble at work and cheating allegations against her boyfriend. To take her mind off of things, Rachel begins making frequent trips home to Virginia and reconnects with her family. She also starts spending time with Cole and feelings reignite between the two.

Rachel is soon questioning what she wants out of life and wonders if a move back home would bring her happiness.