Q & A Kim? … Well, What Do Ya Wanna Know? #author # interview

Hello,

Someone just made me really stop and think for a second, they said ‘ Kim you’re so busy interviewing and reviewing other author’s books, you do so much to promote when will you do an interview?’  Hmmm, I stopped and thought for a moment….

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I’ve been blogging here since 2014/ 2015 and promoting others etc since then too.

If you have a question you’d like to ask me, or get to know me as an ‘interview me’ Q & A, just post it on the link below! I will answer as many as I can, as honestly as I can. No one will see your question but me 🙂

 

Ask Kim A Question, For A Honest Answer.

 

 

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2018 Blogging & Reading Challenge Sign Up: 20 books, What A Year It Will Be! #amreading #books #bookworm

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Good morning,

I’m still up reading at past 1am. I just received an email from Herding Cats about a reading challenge ‘the blogger’s shame’. Bloggers who are book lovers receive LOADS of author review copy books (ARC) that we don’t always get to read, the pile grows. Over at Herding Cats they are pushing us bookworms to whip through the ‘to be read’ pile in 2018, with a cool blog challenge. I thought why not? Sounds like a great challenge, and blog hop. I will continue to do read and reviews for Enchanted Book Promotions and Net Galley. I’ve gone through my TBR on my Kindle, ARC emailed books,  and Netgallery here is a list of books  to read for 2018, no excuses. Take a peek if you’re an author maybe you’re there! If you have sent me an ARC of your book and it’s not here contact me here I don’t want to miss it. If you’re a book lover head over to Herding Cats see what this is all about, sign up.

I hope to complete this list. I know I will get side tracked with other great books that come up, but the intention is to read them all. 🙂 #bookworm

  1. Snatch Girl- LJ Kane, thriller ( reading this now)- FINISHED 12.1.18 reviewed here.
  2. Alpha Male- AC Melody, paranormal romance
  3. Reunited- Tammy Tate, romance
  4. Kiss & Tell and Dead Man’s Hand- Luke Murphy, thriller
  5. The Professor & The Bird – R. Franklin, romance.
  6. Pearls of The Past, M Rajakumi, fiction, contemporary.
  7. Search For Maylee- Didi Oviatt, thriller, mystery
  8. When Black Boys Are Left Alone- K. Harry, African- American.
  9. Claimed by Vampires, Seduced by Werewolf- Krissi Fortune, paranormal/ fantasy
  10. Pure Hollywood- C Schutt, contemporary fiction/ short story anthology- FINISHED 13.1.18 reviewed here.
  11. Coffin Path- K Clemants, Mystery, crime.
  12. 19 Souls- JD Allen- Thriller, Mystery
  13. A Cold Day in Hell, L.M Redman, thriller mystery
  14. Riders- Jilly Cooper Erotica, romance ( 900 pages!! I stopped about 400 pages through such a fun old classic).
  15. Daddy’s Girl- Ben Burgess, African American fiction
  16. Love & Happiness – Ben Burgess, African American fiction
  17. Wounded- Ben Burgess, African American Fiction
  18. Alice In Wonderland- Lewis Caroll – The FRENCH version not in English 🙂 ( Just cos I feel like reading this book in French  to remain bi-lingual I’ll add it).
  19. Capital Crime- Lisa Wilson, crime fiction
  20. A Time To Kill- John Grisham, fiction ( I have had this on my shelf for too many years).

Update 30th December 2017… The list just keeps getting bigger!!

  1. Make that twenty one books! How can I forget Only One Women – Jane Ridson & Christina Jones!!
  2. Infatuation books #1 and #2 – Kandie Marie- Erotic Urban Novellas
  3. Be The Architect  Of Your Mind, Body And Soul- Lara Alexiou, mind, body soul genre.
  4. One Love-  Denna Cabinian, Fiction

Guilty As Charged… In Self Defence: A Short Story #kdsuspense #amreading

Just to Get Y’all Ready Here’s A Little Something From Us To you! A Bonus From Volume #1

Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence.

 

AUTHOR ONE: SCENE ONE

“Your top is very stripy today.”

Dean announces with a quizzical lift of one brow. He’s practically blocking the doorway into the breakroom. I hate it when he does that. Our firm is the largest on this side of California, and of all the Lawyers that Martin Law could’ve chosen to partner me up with on the most important case imaginable, it had to be Dean.

Dean Pritcher, the handsome, young, successful and entitled douchebag. He doesn’t have much of a filter on the stupid shit he says, and he gets away with it, because his father is one of the most powerful money grabbers known in the law business. Dean has a thing for me – a major one. The annoying flirtatious comments have been in full swing, ever since I accidentally let him get into my pants during last year’s Christmas party. That’s right, I said accidentally, and I also said, during – not after.

The wine was exceptionally fruity, which I love, and he was very easy on the eyes that night. We’d had too much to drink, and after a few laughs about the firm’s crappy choice of music, we wound up sneaking off to fuck in his office. The rest of the party was singing Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree in annoying rounds of staccato, while I was two rooms over rocking a shaft of my own, singing a whole different kind of tune. It was actually a very exceptional fuck, and I can’t even begin to explain how much I hate to admit that. I’ve told him time and time again, that it was a one time thing. He’s yet to accept that as a reasonable turn down.

“Can you move please? The coffee over there isn’t going to pour itself into my mug.”

I hold up my black coffee cup with the words smarty-pants-attorney scrawled in fancy pink and white letters across it, and flash my most sarcastic grin in his direction. This is the cheesiest coffee cup a lawyer could possibly have, but my mom gave it to me as a gift when I passed the BAR a few years back. I haven’t started a single morning since without it.

“And, I love this shirt.” I retort as I squeeze past.

My mom raised me and my three younger siblings on her own, she couldn’t afford to pitch in a dime on my schooling. My father is long gone. He’s been in the six foot hole he belongs in, for fifteen years exactly this month. My dad was the entire reason behind my drive to make it through law school. I intend on playing my dutiful part in keeping men like him off the streets and out of the beds of women who clearly deserve better than waking up each day hoping it isn’t their last.

I paved my own way, I waited tables and climbed more stripper poles than I like to talk about to get myself here. I’ll be damned if I let a spoiled little daddy’s boy brat, like Dean, mess up my chances of making partner in this firm. I honestly don’t even think he likes me that much anyway. To him I’m more of a challenge than anything else. The one woman who’s ever turned him away. I’ve even heard him refer to me as a “prick tease” to his friends, when he assumed I was not within earshot to overhear such absurdity.

“I’m not a fan, it makes your tits look smaller than they really are. The necklines way too high.”

“I hate that you know what my tits look like.”

I really do love this shirt. The stripes are small, and they’re several shades of black and gray. The material is mostly spandex so it’s very soft against my skin and tucks nicely into this particular black pencil skirt. It’s my favorite skirt, I have it in four colors.

Dean remains in the doorway, but he rotates himself to keep a close eye on me as I pass. He does this often.  He doesn’t even actually use this break room, he has a single serving coffee machine and fridge in his own office. The only reason he comes here is to pester me. Even though we already spend enough time around each other as it is, especially with this particular case we’re working on. I can feel his eyes as they scour over my backside. I shift all my weight onto one leg, to accentuate my curves. Fuck it, I might as well show off what he can’t have.

“Did you get the email I sent you last night? Mrs. Chevelle will be here in an hour, and we need all of those documents finished.”

I say, while spinning back around to face him.

“I thought we were talking about your tits.”

I roll my eyes at his tenacity, this man is relentless.

“Can we please be professional?”  I ask wholly irritated.

“I mean, I know you’re young. But maybe it’s time to act my age for a change instead of yours.”

Dean’s perfectly white teeth make themselves known as he bites his lower lip. Wanting and teasing me with those soft squishy lips, just before displaying his biggest grin.

“So, you’re finally going to admit that you’re my cougar?” He asks with his sparkling brown eyes and smiling from his cheeks.

“Oh my God,” I mumble. “Just have it all ready, okay? I’ll be in your office in forty five minutes to review it before she gets here.”

I shove my way through the small space he’s allotted me for a passage through the doorway. My chest rubs softly across his upper abs on my way past, making my nipples slightly perk, and my hips brush his thighs. He practically towers me in height, making him that much harder to resist. The short contact of his body heat sends a shock between my legs. I hate that he makes me wet so easily. I find it best to stick with irritation and spite when dealing with him. It makes things much easier.

“It was finished an hour ago, Kitty.”

He hollers after me, just loud enough to be heard by the few suits at the end of the hallway. They don’t even look up.

“It’s Catherine.” I retort, without looking back.

“Kitty-Cat.” He calls followed by a purposefully low humming purr.

I can hear the smile behind the words. I grin, despite myself, as he can’t see my face anyway. Then I flip him the bird over my shoulder, and sway my hips just right in step, knowing full well what those sexy eyes of his are locked on.

***

I’m actually surprised at the stack of pages he gracefully hands over to me. He leans across the desk, putting his weight on his forearms, and smirks in my direction. I thumb through the pages, double checking the format and signature markers in each section. Dean added in all our client’s information in the exact places needed. For being a shoe-in attorney here, and given the job based on his father’s name, he’s surprisingly bright.

“I’ve got to admit I’m impressed, Dean. Everything looks great.”

He leans back into his chair, pushing it a couple of feet to the side of his desk, to get a better look at me. We’re now a mere couple of feet away, without any furniture between us to block his view.

“I concur.”

He says while rubbing his chin in thought, and staring blatantly at the exposed portion of my legs.

Before I have a chance to put his inappropriate innuendos in check, there’s a light tapping on his door. His entire office is made of the type of distorted glass that can be seen through from one side only. We can look out, but no one can look in. There are few offices in the building of its stature, and of course his is one of them. It made our one time sexual encounter that much more intoxicating. It was like having sex in public, yet not a soul could see it. I wonder how many other girls he’s fucked in this very room, as I look over to see the silhouette of his secretary standing at the door.

As soon as I turn back to Dean he winks at me. I wonder briefly if he’s secretly a mind reader. He calls her in without breaking eye contact. Becky is very tall and skinny with a quiet mousy voice. She blushes every time she addresses Dean, and stumbles over her words often. She walks in slowly and hesitant then clears her throat.

“Yes, um, Mr. Pritcher, you have a client here. Shall I, um, send her in?”

Dean hardly acknowledges her presence. He continues to stare into my eyes, refusing to let a blink slip through. The gaze is intense. I hate it when he does this in company. It’s like he’s staking an intense claim on me. Pretending that no one else around can pull his attention away. It’s irritating. Cute, but most definitely annoying nonetheless.

“Go ahead and welcome her in, Becky. I think Cat and I are ready. Aren’t we Kitty-Cat?”

“It’s Catherine.” I correct before turning to the timid girl. “Yes, we’re ready Becky, go ahead and send her in.”

Becky doesn’t look over at me. She’s just as stuck on Dean as he is on me. Just like every other girl around here. If he’s in the room, no one else on the planet exists. I just hope the judge is as impressed. I’m yet to work a case with him, and we could really use the help on this one.

Becky does as she is told, and shows Mrs. Chevelle in.

I instantly see my mother’s young face peering out through the eyes of Denessa Chevelle. Minus the prominent scar that my mom sports above her right eye, compliments of a grazing bullet provided by my dad’s nine millimeter. Denessa actually looks nothing like my mother, but the demeanour of a timid and abused pet is written all over her face. My heart pulls in a familiar ache for her.

I stand to my feet and walk over to greet her formally. Mrs. Chevelle keeps her head to the floor, staring at the tiles. A habit like this only comes from years of abuse. The woman clearly has no confidence or self -respect. Her eye is still blackened from the night that put her on the path to this very Martin Law office.  I introduce myself and Dean before urging her to take a seat, on a plush white chair across from my own. I straighten my back and place a comforting hand on her knee.

“Mrs. Chevelle, I want to start by telling you that everything we talk about today will stay in this office. No matter what it is.”

She nods and finally looks up to make eye contact with me, though Dean is still avoided completely. She glances in his general direction, but has trained her eyes to avoid any direct contact with those of a man.

“You’re safe here.” I continue. “We work for you, and are bound by law to maintain the utmost discretion. Do you understand that?” I ask softly with genuine concern.

“Yes.” She replies softly and it’s my mother’s voice that I hear.

My heart races as my mind runs circles around the similarities in this circumstance. I was only fourteen years old when my mom took my father’s life in self defence. He was too drunk to actually hit his target, her face. He made one shot that grazed the side of her face, and in return she finally snapped. My mom stabbed my father repeatedly in the chest and head with the crafting scissors she had in her hand, when he tried to kill her. I personally locked myself and my little brothers in the bedroom. I remember helping them to hide from our dad underneath my mom and dad’s shared bed when it happened. I came out of the room by the coaxing of a uniformed officer, and witnessed first-hand the bloody mess that was my home.

Mom was lucky, and didn’t have to face trial after the entire incident. She buried my dad, and has been reminded of her own past by the scar on her face every time she looks in a mirror.

Mrs. Chevelle isn’t going to be so lucky. Her husband was a very well-known public figure, and not everyone around believes her story of self-defence. In a way, you could say that I took the case in honor of my own mother. I finally get the opportunity to do what’s right by a woman who defended herself, before she ended up dead at the hand of a man who claimed to love her, just as my mom almost did. Dean’s voice pulls me back from the distracting memories.

“Mrs. Chevelle, we need to start by asking you a few questions.”

AUTHOR TWO: SCENE TWO

“Okay, no problem.”

She replies without moving her eyes over to Dean. I take the lead, I can see she feels more comfortable speaking to a woman.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you tell us a bit about your marriage to Ronald?”

I watch Mrs. Chevelle take a deep breath and swallow hard at my question. She’s nervous. I remember the look on my mom’s face, as she was asked the same question all those years ago. As my eyes well up I get up from my seat, smooth over my shirt and sit down beside her. My knees touch hers, I take her small and wrinkled hands in mine.

To my surprise she doesn’t flinch, but her head remains low.  She grabs both of my hands tightly, and starts to sob lightly. As I hold onto her small hand it’s like an electric current runs from her to me. I feel it, the hurt, the pain, the years of being knocked around like a fuckin’ bean bag. For what, in the name of love? Because she’s too scared to up and leave, and try to make it on her own.

I look into her face as I wait for her response. The current runs through me still.  I can feel my breathing become deeper. It’s right here and now that I make up my mind, guilty or not, there is no way she’s going down for this shit. I’ll work that court room and whip those jurors into line and get a not guilty verdict, and acquittal. Pretty boy Dean, better step up too and not fuck up with any armature moves.

For a woman in her late forties she looks good. That’s what money and good Botox does for you. The only tell-tale sign she’s a woman of a certain age are her weathered hands, rather than her face.

“When you’re ready Mrs. Chevelle please.” I softly encourage her to speak.

“Well I don’t know what to say really. The stories you read in the glossy magazines and newspapers really don’t fit the truth. Ronald was a twisted man. No matter how much he gave to charity or how many humanitarian things he did, it was all a cover up.”

I gently let go of Mrs. Chevelle’s hands to pick up my legal pad and pencil. I’m not missing a beat of this. I fix her with an empathetic look and brace myself to hear her story.

“Behind closed doors Ronald Chevelle was a bully, drunk and a very nasty man. I had to grin and bear it all for years.”

“Can you go into a bit more detail Mrs. Chevelle?”

Dean cuts in. I almost forgot he was in the room. I shoot him a warning look. The last thing I need is Mrs. Chevelle to clam up. He’s moving too fast, with women like this you have to let them talk with little interruption. Mrs. Chevelle places her hands over her face, a muffled voice comes from behind them.

“Please, please I can’t talk with him here.”

I look over at Dean, I nod my head toward the door. I watch him unfold his lean body, adjust his tie and head out the door.

“He’s gone Mrs. Chevelle. Please when you’re ready tell me a bit about your home life?”

“Ma’am there’s no point really is there? No one will believe me, no one will understand just what I went through. I may as well give up.”

“No, no we must tell your story, you have to trust me…please let me help you.”

In a low gentle voice, I question her further.

“Did he ever put his hands on you Mrs. Chevelle?”

She looks up at me with damp pale blue eyes, her thin pencilled eyebrows meet in the middle as she searches my face. I know she’s trying to feel me out, to see if she can trust me.

“Umm hmm.”

She mumbles and blinks, as she does a single tear falls to her plump cheek. Her mascara runs as her tears start to overflow violently once again. As the tears escape her she stays mute, staring off into space. I take a deep breath and brace myself for the shit I’m about to hear.

“Mrs. Chevelle, what’s your earliest memory of him hurting you?”

I hand her a tissue from the box on the table, and watch her wipe her nose and smooth over her blonde sleek shoulder length hair.

“When I was pregnant, about four months or so. I was in the kitchen cleaning the floor. I had terrible nesting syndrome everything had to be just right. Ronald hated it, as soon as he placed something down I’d tidy it away. Anyway, I was mopping the floors and forgot to tell him. He came in and almost slipped as he entered the house. He stormed into the kitchen and grabbed me by the hair. He yelled in my face why the fuck didn’t I tell him the floor was wet? I told him I never heard him come in or I would have. Then he… he.”

I take her hand again and hold it tight. C’mon lady, open up tell me. She looks down at our hands intertwined and speaks in a small voice.

“He threw me to the floor and smashed my face on the tiles, then he kicked me in the stomach – four times and raped me.”

As her voice breaks and the tears and sobbing take over Mrs. Chevelle, I keep my poker face in check, but inside I’m fuming. Son-of-a bitch.

“Mrs. Chevelle, is that the reason you… is that how the–”

She cuts me off.

“Yes, yes that’s the real reason I lost my son at four months pregnant. I never miscarried like the glossy magazines said. He kicked it out of me.”

I sit up straight, for a moment. My face slips as I think back to the headline of Hello magazine all those years ago. Mrs. Chevelle did an interview with them following the “miscarriage” she had. She played the grieving mother over the loss of her son. She confessed following complications with her miscarriage, she can now no longer have children. She conceived in her late thirties, it was considered a miracle it happened.

“He made me do it, Ms. Ms…”

“Call me Catherine, please.”

“Okay, he made me do it Catherine. He made me decline a makeup artist the day of my interview, as they would see the black eyes. He demanded that I do my own makeup and cover up my marks well. He said if he looks at the magazine picture and notices unperfect makeup he’d beat me.”

“Mrs. Chevelle, is he the reason you can’t have children?”

She bows her head again and sniffs back the tears and snot.

“Yes.”

In my mind, I’ve won this case already. That piece-a-shit can go to hell. I place my personal emotions inline, and smooth over my chocolate brown sharp asymmetric blunt cut bob. I tuck the longer section of my hair at the front behind my ear, let go of her hand and make some swift notes. I keep my eyes low, I can’t afford for her to see my true feelings over this sick bastard.

“Mrs. Chevelle, was this the first beating? If not, can you confirm how long ago the first beating was?”

“I was thirty seven, so almost ten years ago when this happened.  The first one was two years after we married, when I was twenty.”

I do the math, that’s over twenty five years ago.

“Right, and before this day in the kitchen how did he treat you?”

“Well, he was a little rough, ya know during sex. He liked very strange things, sometimes he’d want to tie me up and punish me, really punish me. I’d have welts all over my breasts and thighs from the strap marks. He also asked me to do weird things like…”

“It’s okay, when you’re ready keep going.”

Mrs. Chevelle sighs. Her face pinches up into the most painful look I’ve seen on any one in a while, it’s clear this is a hard trip down memory lane for her. Her voice starts of slow and then ends up in a shrill plea by the time she’s done.

“Maybe I’m the weird one? I don’t know but he… he liked to force himself on me. Nothing would stop him, period or no period if you know what I mean, he would still force himself on me and inside me. Then tell me to clean up the mess of blood and say it was all my fault. Catherine, I’d beg and plead and tell him how painful it was and I was in pain from time of the month cramps but he never stopped. One time he held me by the neck and forced himself inside me up against the wall. I was terrified, he was high on cocaine. Afterwards he beat me, told me it was all my fault, and punished me for messing up the walls with blood.”

“Mrs. Chevelle, can I confirm a few things? One, you said no, and made yourself clear. Two, he would still demand sex from you. Three, he would enter you with force, while you had not consented to sexual relations?”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Thank you.”

Mrs. Chevelle, this is going to be a hard question to ask, and even harder for you to answer. But you’ll be asked it in court, so we need to prepare. Why didn’t you file for a divorce?”

Her timid face looks up at mine. I take in her smudged makeup as she moulds her pretty face into a frown. Her pale blue eyes plead with me.

“Catherine, please don’t judge me okay. Look at you you’re pretty, you have brains, you’re a lawyer, you go to work and kick ass every day. Men respect you because you deserve it.”

She looks away from me for a beat as she continues.

“Shit, you demand it Catherine. I wish I could be like you. I saw the way that other lawyer looked at you when you told him to go. He knew better than to fuck around with you. Me, I… I can’t do that. I don’t have brains.”

I’m flattered, this is a Hollywood wife telling me she’d love to be like me. I study her closely and prick my ears up, something big is coming I can feel it. With a look of shame, she lowers her lashes again to her lap.

“I can’t read… properly.  I got pregnant at fifteen and my parents disowned me, I worked every strip club in London, after I gave up my child for adoption at sixteen. I’m British, not American, I hide my accent well after so many years here. At eighteen, I came over here to the USA on a visa. I worked the poles every night. That’s all I knew and still know how to do even to this day. I was a Las Vegas show girl. That’s how I met Ronald one night at The Golden Nugget Hotel, in downtown Las Vegas. He had money and demanded a private show, so I did it for the $10,000 tip he was offering. Back then to me that was a lot of money. Now I have shoes that cost more than that. The rest is history. I stayed by his side for security, I told him I wanted to learn to read and write and go to work, just like you be something ya know? He said no, pretty girls don’t need to learn that stuff. So, I stayed home, kept the house clean, went shopping and tried to make friends with the other Hollywood wives.”

Mrs. Chevelle pauses and takes a breather. She looks into my eyes, and then back down at her lap. I take her hand again and listen.

“The other wives never really accepted me, they still don’t after all these years. In their eyes, I’m just a stripper that got lucky. They’re all fake toward me, and I know they speak about me behind my back. Sometimes they laugh when I find it hard to order from the menu, I can’t read for God sake I’m not stupid.”

She takes another breather and squeezes my hand, as she shakes hard.

“I had one girlfriend, our friendship was never made that public, we were never often pictured together.  But we were best friends”

I watch Mrs. Chevelle’s face light up for the first time as she relives her friendship with her close girlfriend.

“We met one night out at a celebrity charity event Ronald was hosting. She sat next to me. She started talking to me like a normal human being she liked me. She knew my background and wanted to talk to me for research, about the underground world of stripping. She was a little older than me and wiser, she helped me a lot over the years. Ronald knew about our friendship.”

“Who? Tell me who is or was your girlfriend? Maybe we can talk to her as well as a witness.”

“No, we can’t she’s dead.”

“Dead?”

“Yes, my one-time girlfriend, and best friend was the author Jackie Collins. You know her right? We bonded over the struggles of adjusting to the USA, her being British she understood me. We would sit for hours and gossip about all the stories she was writing. She was so talented and great to talk to. One day, Ronald came home, he caught Jackie trying to teach me how to read and write. He threw her out, told her not to come back. Called me a cunt then beat me black and blue within an inch of my life. I was never allowed to talk to Jackie again. And I wasn’t allowed any female friends.”

 

My mouth hits the floor as Mrs. Chevelle pulls a photo from her purse. I take it in my hands and study the picture closely, her and the British New York Times bestselling author, at a party in elegant dresses, all smiles with a glass of champagne in their hand. Ms. Collins herself. Well I’ll be damned.

“Gosh, I’m sorry to hear that Mrs. Chevelle. I’m sorry for your loss of friendship and the treatment. Thank you for telling me your backstory. It’s useful for the jury to know.”

I flip over my page, and jot down her story.

“Mrs. Chevelle the night you attacked your husband, it was self-defence, right?”

She hesitates, for a moment I wonder if she is guilty of murder.

“Yes, of course.” She replies in a muffled voice.

“Okay. I think we’ve had enough for today. We’ll meet up in a few days before the trial starts and go over a few more things. Is that okay?”

“Umm hmm.” Is all she says as she starts to sob again.

I can’t help myself, I reach out to her and hug her tight against me as he breaks down crying heartfelt sobs. Her shoulders shake and my blouse is covered in her makeup, but it’s okay. As I hold her I wipe my own eyes and try to return to me. The tough ball-breaking lawyer and not the emotional wreck I feel. I can’t believe it. Raped, beaten, and deprived of the right to educate herself. If it’s the last thing I do, and for the sake of my own mother this woman is walking out of that court room, with a clean name.

***

After Mrs. Chevelle leaves, and Dean walks in, I head back to my office. I completely ignore Dean as he walks in. I brush past him and shove him slightly to one side.

“Wow, what’s got into you?”

“Nothing.” I call back as I walk off down the corridor fuming.

“You sure Kitty-Cat?”

I stop dead in my tracks, I spin around and sashay back up to him. Even in these heels he still towers over me. I get up in his face, before I know it the Brooklyn fire in me comes out. It’s like I step back in time, remembering what it was like having to protect myself and my little brothers in the ghettos of New York. Under his six foot three height I push Dean’s cheek, point in his face and yell up at him.

“Yo’, call me that one more time I’ll snap ya fuckin’ neck, got it?”

I spin around and the whole corridor looks my way. Fuck these suits. I straighten my skirt, hold my head up and sashay back to my office with my bitch face on show. The one I always reserved for those pricks back in Brooklyn. No one meets my eye as I walk along. I’m not in the mood for his banter about my tits, how good my ass looks in this skirt or how much he’d love to bend me over his desk or fuckin’ Kitty-Cat names. Now is not the time to piss me off with that shit.

I sit at my desk with my heels propped up. Reflecting on life, how unfair it can be sometimes. Some people don’t have the silver spoon others seem to have. They have to do what they have to do to get through each day. Even if it means staying married to a rapist, drug addict and abuser. My blood boils harder just as the door knocks.

“Yeah, come in.”

A timid looking Becky enters my office, she pushes her glasses back and shuffles over to me like a mouse. Her eyes rest on the floor and her shoulders hunch over.

“Urm, Catherine, Mr. Pritcher–”

I cut her off. From my desk, I remain rooted with my heels propped up, I bark at her.

“Stop Becky. Look at me when you’re talking to me God damn. Hold your fuckin’ head up. Get out of my office, and come back in. Let me know you’re present, don’t shuffle in like a chump.”

Becky looks at me wide eyed and scared. Like a rabbit caught in headlights.

“Catherine, I’m sorry.”

“Becky, shut up and get out there, knock on the fuckin’ door with some clout. Then get back in here and tell me whatever it is you wanna say. Go.”

I watch her turn on her flat sensible heels and walk out. The door knocks louder. Good girl. Now don’t let me down, show me who you are Becky. In she walks head high and hands clasped in front of her.

“Catherine.”

“What?”

“Mr Pritcher wants to know if he can meet with you in five minutes?”

“Hmm, okay.”

She lowers her head, ready to leave.

“Becky, sit down.”

“Am I in trouble Catherine cos I–”

Sit down, Becky.”

She takes a seat opposite me, I swing my heels down off my desk and lean over, I look her in the eyes. Of course, she moves her eyes away from mine. In a soft voice, I try to boost her confidence.

“Becky, in life there are two types of people, the doormats and the stilettos let’s call them. The doormats will never get very far, as the stilettos are too busy walkin’ all over ‘em. Ya see where I’m goin’ with this?”

“Umm I think so.”

“Becky, I don’t know why you come across as so shy, but people will take advantage of that, if you let them. I’m not saying change who you are, if you’re a shy person that’s fine. I’m saying believe in who you are, have fire in you. Be the stiletto not the doormat. Okay?”

She looks me in the eye, a small smile creeps over her face and her eyes light up.

“I’ll try. Catherine.”

“Good girl”

“Catherine”

I sigh, I need a drink and a smoke.

“What, Becky?”

“Can I ask you something?”

I swing my heels back up on my desk as I lean back in my chair.

“Sure, shoot.”

“Can I assist you as your secretary? I like Mr. Pritcher but…”

“But what?”

She lowers her eyes, again.

“Eyes up Becky, I’m over here.”

“Sorry, yes. I like him but I want to shadow you. I think I could learn a thing or two and I’m debating whether to study law.”

“Okay, what else, that can’t be the only reason. You can shadow any lawyer as their secretary. Don’t bull shit me Becky, what’s up?”

Becky lowers her eyes again. What is wrong with this kid?

“He tries to touch me, Catherine I don’t like it.”

“What, you don’t like it? Every woman in here wants his hands between their legs, are you kidding me?”

I laugh out loud at this joke, she can’t be serious. Becky’s face stays numb and straight. I see her eyes well up with tears and she looks at the ground again. For a moment, I regret my joke.

“No, I don’t like it. I’m… I’m not really into boys like that. I, I… Catherine I don’t know how to say this but, I have a girlfriend, no one knows and I don’t want anyone to.”

 

You can knock me down with a feather. All this time I thought Becky was getting wet over him when she looked at him, it was a look of fear and disgust. He made her nervous that’s why she stutters around him.

“Jesus Becky, really? I’m sorry for my bad joke. Okay starting Monday, you’re on team Catherine. Leave it all to me.”

Becky’s face lights up and she gets to her feet.

“Thank you! I better get going I have a few reports to type up.”

At the door, she looks back at me.

“Catherine, you’re awesome. No one has ever stood up to that prick like you did back there.”

Before I can even respond she scurries through the door and closes it behind her. I laugh a belly rolling laugh and hold my sides. I swing my heels down from my desk and bend over in a fit of laughter…  shy reserved Becky actually said prick.

***

“So, what did she have to say then? Catherine.

Dean’s voice snaps me out of my daydream, as I stand over at my window, looking out at the blue cloudless California skyline. It’s a beautiful sunny day. My eyes take in the beach in the distance from the eleventh floor my office is located on. I feel him behind me. I smile at his emphasis on my name. That’s right bitch, fall in line. Runs through my mind, as he stands behind me in my personal space. I don’t face him. I continue to admire the beauty of the day.

“First things first. If ya put your hands on Becky again, I will snap ya fuckin’ neck that’s a promise. Second, as of Monday, she’s my secretary find yourself a new one … a male one preferably. Third, I don’t care who ya father is in this law firm. If I hear so much as a whisper that ya pawing any women in this place, you’ll be sorry. Got that pretty boy?”

“Got it.”

“Good. Now we got a case to put together, I need ya on point. Let’s get to work.”

I spin around and face him. He’s so close I can smell his cologne.

“And one more thing. Ya followin’ my lead on this case, stay in line.”

Dean looks down at me, he gives me a salute.

***

Monday June 1st, 2016, California Supreme Court.

In the lady’s room, I look myself over. I feel good. I take in all the minor details. The sharp fringe of my blunt bob, minimal make-up, my best well-tailored black Chanel skirt suit, sky high red bottom Christian Louboutin heels. Perfect. I feel confident I’ve got this in the bag. I was raised a strict catholic by my mom, I bow my head in prayer before I walk out. Today as confident as I feel I’ll need God on my side. The prosecution lined up a good case. Naturally they have played on her as a money grabbing whore. She was a Las Vegas showgirl, doing what she had to do before she met that bastard. That does not give her a motive for murder… I hope.

***

“All rise please. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’re here to hear the case of Mrs. Dennessa Chevelle. On trial for the murder of Ronald Chevelle.”

I watch an officer move over to Mrs. Chevelle, and hand her a bible to place her hand on. She gives her plea of not guilty and the show begins. The prosecution swim around her like sharks. A jumped up over confident suit, with way too much hair gel takes the center stage. He tries to break her down. I clinch my jaw, as my eyes watch him prance around the court room.

“Mrs. Chevelle, is it true you were a stripper before you met your late husband?”

“No, well yes but not a stripper I was a performer in Las Vegas. That’s how we met.”

“Right, right.  A performer.

The sarcastic chump uses quotation marks around performer, as he looks over at the jury. My anger rises.

“And how would you describe your financial situation at the time, stable? Or unstable?”

“I… I did not have much that’s true but I got by.”

All eyes rest on Mrs. Chevelle as he pushes her.

“Mrs. Chevelle, if you could please answer the question.”

A low voice leaves Mrs. Chevelle, she lowers her lashes to the ground.

“Unstable.”

“Unstable you say? Is it fair to say a man like Mr. Chevelle was desirable due to his financial status, maybe?”

The fuckin’ douche, he’s wasting no time. I get to my feet and call out to the judge.

“Objection!”

“Ms. O’Neil, please remain seated. As you were Mr. D’Costa.”

I look over at Mrs. Chevelle and hope she doesn’t fall for the trap.

“No, certainly not. How dare you assume such a thing. He was my husband, not a meal ticket!”

That-a-girl Mrs. Chevelle. I take a seat and breathe a sigh of relief. I look over at the jury. Predominantly female, excellent. I’ll let this shark paint whatever picture he wants of Mrs. Chevelle, in my defence case I’ll hit ‘em with the abused woman story and give them some shit the female jury members never got to read in Hello magazine.

***

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as you can see the prosecution has tried to paint a picture of a money grabber, a whore and a stripper.”

I move closer to the jury, and slowly walk past the stand with confidence as I talk.

“The woman you see over there in that stand, is none of these things.”

I stop for a beat in front of a female juror around Mrs. Chevelle’s age.

“You see that lady over there, she was an abused woman, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

The female juror moves her eyes over to Mrs. Chevelle, she takes a closer look at her on the stand. Right on cue, Mrs. Chevelle blows her nose into her tissue and wipes her eyes. Perfect. I watch the women in the jury stand some more. Their faces move from pinched up discomfort to shock. Beautiful. I walk back across the room to center stage, and command their attention.

“Ladies and gentlemen, what you don’t know about Mrs. Chevelle is she endured years of beatings. I’d like you to cast your mind back around ten years ago, Mrs. Chevelle miscarried. Or so we were told. Mr. Chevelle, beat that child out of her on the kitchen floor, and blackened her eyes. He then raped her at four months pregnant. The interview you read in Hello magazine was a facade, he made her give that story.”

I hear the gasps from the jury stand, I look over at Mrs. Chevelle with her eyes lowered playing her part well.

“Ladies and gentlemen, for nearly twenty six years Mr. Chevelle raped her high on cocaine, beat her with whatever he could get his hands on, made her do sexual things she did not want to do. Including things like threesomes, water-sports and rough sex, including anal sex. She did not want it at all, none of it. She never asked for it, she was forced into it, she never consented. This happened for years.”

The jury are stunned, of course they are. They never imagined that the glossy magazine pictures of Mrs. Chevelle and her husband would hide such a lifestyle. I glance over at the prosecution and smirk.

“Ladies and gentlemen, is this the great land of the United States of America? Where everyone has freedom of speech, and equal access to human rights?”

I let the question linger, as I walk over to the jury. I turn and point back at Mrs. Chevelle.

“Mrs. Chevelle was denied all of this, on purpose by her abuser Mr. Chevelle. Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Chevelle is unable to read or write at the age of forty six years old, sadly. When she arrived in the USA from London, aged just eighteen and met her late husband this was her aim. To learn these skills, find suitable work that didn’t mean exposing her body and make a good life for herself. She expressed her interest to her late husband. She asked permission to learn to read, he said no.”

I turn fully to Mrs. Chevelle up on the stand.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you please repeat what Mr. Chevelle said when you expressed your desire to learn to read?”

In a timid voice, she responds to me.

“He… he said no. Pretty girls don’t need to learn how to do those things.”

I look back at the jury, the women have their hands over the mouths, their eyebrows are raised in shock. Excellent.

“Mrs. Chevelle can you please let us know what Mr. Chevelle wanted you to do instead?”

“Stay at home, clean the house, give him sex when he wanted”

I turn back to the jury and look over at their priceless expressions of disgust.

“Thank you, Mrs. Chevelle.”

I walk away from the jury stand, I feel their eyes on me, watching me. I love it, it feels better than any dick out there to know I’ve got them hook, line and sinker.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you please explain to the jury what happened the night your late husband got home, and he found you with a girlfriend, learning to read?”

Mrs. Chevelle clears her throat, wipes her eyes at the painful experience of reliving what that bastard had done. I can see it written all over her, she’s dying a slow death up there with these memories. Again, a muffled voice leaves her, she looks at the jury this time and pleads with her eyes.

“I, was very good friends with the late author Jackie Collins, she understood me while other Hollywood wives shunned me. You may not believe it but it’s true, I have a photo here with Jackie.”

Mrs. Chevelle pulls out the picture she showed me at my office and looks down at it, the picture brings a small smile to her lips.

“Years ago, Jackie tried to help me to learn a few words and read, just a few not many. He walked in on us, he threw her out, called me a cunt then beat me within an inch of my life. Jackie and I were banned from speaking to each other from that day. And I was never allowed friends after that day.”

Mrs. Chevelle sobs and throws her arms up in the air. She becomes erratic and emotional. Like a crazy woman she throws her arms around the court room, as tears of pain escape her.

“I never done it on purpose, I never meant to kill him but he was going to kill me.  He attacked me that night I hurt him. Oh God I can’t do this. Someone please just take me away now if that’s what you want to.”

She offers her wrists to the guards next to her. They wrestle her to her seat where she sobs more and cries out.

“For years I took the abuse, he beat my baby out of me, I can’t have kids because of him, he raped me constantly, and locked me out of the house in the garden with no clothes on, he made me do cocaine with him. I hated it. I lost count of the number of men and women that would enter me on those nights, when he had wild parties with cocaine that I had to be part of. He made them do all kinds-a shit to me… and he watched while he masturbated himself and then came over me. He was a sick son-of-a bitch. Please believe me.”

My eyes well up for a moment. If I blink, I’m going to break down myself. I compose myself as best I can. I look up at the ceiling as I breathe heavy. I give it a beat, and allow the jury to watch Mrs. Chevelle in an emotional state mutter to herself and slap the side of her head calling herself stupid.

***

After just ten minutes of deliberation the jury enter the room with their verdict. My heart pounds. This is the biggest case I’ve worked. A high profile Hollywood wife on trial for murder, I gave as good as I got. I worked the court room and bat off all the bullshit the prosecution tried to make stick on Mrs. Chevelle. She has to walk free. The judge hushes the room with her stern voice. A female judge, I like it. I watched her listen to the evidence, but it was hard to read her.

“All rise please. Juror number five step forward. How do you find the defendant Mrs. Denessa Chevelle, guilty or not guilty of murder in the first degree?”

Juror number five walks over to the stand. A middle-aged man with grey hair and small glasses speaks up.

“Not guilty ma’am.”

Bingo.

“How do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty of manslaughter?”

“Not guilty ma’am.”

I wink at the prosecution as they sit there and stew. I can’t help it, very unprofessional I know. Who gives a shit, this is cause for celebration.

***

Following the trial, of course I made partner at Martin Law Firm. I strut into work every day with a smile on my face, proud that I oversaw justice. The media went crazy, every glossy magazine wanted to interview Mrs. Chevelle. She became an even more wealthy woman than she was when Ronald Chevelle was alive. From what I’ve read she’s turning her hand to business, good for her.

***

Three weeks later:

My office door knocks, I look up from my paperwork.

“Yeah, come in.”

Becky walks in, she’s a changed woman. We hung out one weekend at the mall, we ended up in the opticians, she has a new pair of funky, cat eye shaped hot pink glasses. I take in her sharp outfit, she wears flat black brogues with white knee socks, a black mini skirt, a crisp white shirt is tucked in… and a black tie. Her nails are also a hot pink shade to match her glasses. She looks so cool and individual. She’s starting to express herself with her dress sense. She said it makes her feel confident.  The whole office knows she’s gay after she brought her girlfriend to after work drinks. Good for her, her confidence has grown and she has fire in her belly. I’m proud to have her as my secretary.

“Catherine, Mrs. Chevelle is here to see you. She doesn’t have an appointment is that okay?”

“Yeah of course, send her in.”

I push my papers to one side and wonder what she wants, as she sweeps in with a cloud of perfume.

“Catherine, so good to see you. I’m sorry to drop in unannounced like this.”

“No problem take a seat, what can I do for you?”

“Catherine, I’m going back to school, I’m learning to read at forty six, can you believe that? I have a private tutor. I’m also setting up a service for abused women in California, to help give something back to the community.”

“That’s great.”

“There’s something else as well”.

Mrs. Chevelle looks around the room and leans in close to my desk.

“Catherine, I can trust you right?”

“Right of course, always.”

“I want to thank you for helping me walk free, and these are for you.”

A shoe box lands on my desk from Mrs. Chevelle’s large purse.

“Just a little something to say thank you, I think these are about your size if not just exchange them.”

I open up the box and eye a pair of gladiator style high heels. Sexy and patent black, as the weather heats up these would be great to let my toes out a bit.

“Why thank you! Perfect size. Oh, my you really did not have to, these are so beautiful, just my style.”

“Oh, but I do Catherine, you helped me when I most needed it. And lemme tell ya somethin’ else.”

I smile as Mrs. Chevelle’s accent dips back to its original London cockney accent.

“That prat ‘ad it comin’ to him. It wasn’t self- defence darlin’. That was cold blooded murder. He never attacked me.  That night I ‘ad enough of his bitchin’ ‘bout dinner not bein’ as nice as what the cook does. So, I thought fuck it… I’ll shut you up good ‘en proper. I picked up the sauce pan an’ battered that bastard to death, I loved every fuckin’ moment of it, the little prick.  Then I blackened me own eye to make it look good, ya know what I mean? I met him when I was eighteen, from the age of twenty I took the beatings and rough sex, I’m forty six. That’s over twenty five fuckin’ years love, I had enough.”

My mouth is on the floor. At the confession, her spunk, and most of all her brutal honesty and acting abilities. In court and when I interviewed her myself, she had everyone under a spell, she played the part perfectly. To a Goddamn T. As she gets up from her chair she winks at me, then kisses my forehead, just like my own mom. I’m too stunned to talk. I lean back in my chair with a stunned look on my face. She laughs.

“Take care darlin, I’ll never forget you. It’s time to start living life now.’

She disappears out the door. The lingering smell of Chanel No. 5 is all that’s left.

Telling-Tales-Weekly-Challenege-Kim-&-Didi

I told you we’re back! 🙂 No discussion, no planning, one author starts a story she sends it to the other to finish part #2 .

If you would like to read more stories from volume #1 of The Suspenseful Collection click here.

Are You Ready? We’re Back…! The Suspenseful Collection Volume #2 #kdsuspense. #amreading @didi_oviatt

 

I had a lull I had so much going on personally  (good things though), plus editing Conscious Talk Magazine, motherhood, trying to brush up my next romance novella that will be released shortly! Getting anything down for The Suspenseful Collection Volume #2  for Didi to finish up was hard, everything I wrote in my view was sh*t ,so I never sent it to her. BUT…. Now I’m ready to get back to writing great suspenseful short stories, I’ve got my groove back. To add to this positive mindset today read a really nice comment someone left on a story that Didi and I wrote, following the writing prompt you all voted for a crime scene story.  Thank you reader for your great feedback  Didi and I appreciate it this story will feature in The Suspenseful Collection volume #2. We may even extended it  🙂

Kim and Didi are  back!…. And feeling a lil’ badass!

Ready to have a lot of fun together, and finish up The Suspenseful Collection Volume #2

Stay Tuned!!

Volume #1 is still .99p on Amazon too! click this link

Kim’s Call: Who is Listening? #amreading #betareaders #reading #romance

Beta Readers

This is a re-blog guys I’m getting ready to unleash Lover’s Retreat book #2 of my Romance Set in Paradise series, I’d love a few more Beta Readers Chapter preview on link above more details…. See below!

Afternoon!

I’m putting out a call for Beta Readers. This call is for myself and also a Best Selling Romance author friend of mine. I won’t say who it is!! (Yet). We both would love a few quality, honest and reliable Beta Readers, who would be interested in reading samples or all of our novels/ novellas before they go to publication. You can be an author yourself or just a lover of fiction.

Do you like these genres/themes within stories:

Romance .

Suspense.

Paranormal (not my genre).

Time Travel genre.

Contemporary fiction /romance.

Thriller/ crime (that’s yours truly).

A multi cultural / diverse line up of characters.

Strong, likeable women.

Modern day Romeos for men.

Location based stories all around the world.

Stories that touch on real life issues.

Are you okay with:

My use of British English? If this will annoy you I’m sorry I may not be the author for you. I spell organised with a S! Favourite has a U… got it?

Are you:

Over 18 …..things can get a lil’ steamy in our stories. Both myself and the other author are not really into all that sweet wholesome romance. We write about love and sex in tasteful ways. Our characters do more than hold hands and walk in the park. *Wink

Have English as your first language.

Honest & reliable.

Able to keep things confidential?- This is important.We will send you our work before it’s published…don’t let the cat out the bag!

What does a Beta Reader do?

In a nutshell read and critique, in a constructive way. Offer their views on what’s been placed in front of you good or bad.

If you’re interested in being a Beta Reader for me, and/or the other author contact  me here. Send me a message.  We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you!

Oh we’ll throw in signed paperbacks of every book you Beta Read!

 

 

 

Conscious Talk Magazine Issue # 3 On Sale Now! + Free Copy & Giveaways

June Complimentary Issue Giveaway.jpg

Morning guys! Another fantastic issue out. The team and I are proud to also announce as part of World Environment Day ,together with the magazine distributor Magzter we have a massive discount on one year subscriptions, until the 6th June just $13.00! Grab a free copy and if you subscribe you could win $500.00.

I want a free copy click here.

Happy Mother’s Day! SECOND Free GIFT From Me ! #mothersday #amreading #freebie

One year ago this weekend, I released the first in my Romance Set in Paradise series novella- Havana Heat. The second , Lover’s Retreat quickly followed and the third… well my friends I sent the first three chapters to a literary agent , she responded positively and wants the full book when it is done!!! Now I just need to write it in between everything else!  Wish me luck, I’ve set myself a deadline.

Havana Heat is FREE to download on Amazon happy Mother’s Day and I hope you enjoy

Grab a  free copy here!

 

 

 

About the Book

Havana Heat is book one of the Romance Set in Paradise series of modern,steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories, set in exotic locations around the world. In Havana Heat readers are transported to the paradise of Cuba’s capital Havana, following the romance and heat build between Spaniard Detective Sebastian Garcia, and London born and bred wedding planner Melinda Jones. Melinda’s path crosses with the handsome and charming Detective at Casa De Amour Hotel as a guest at her client’s exotic location wedding. Both characters are in search of a slice of paradise, away from their own troubled love life back home. Once their paths cross the romance and sizzle begins.

When all hell breaks out at Casa De Amour Hotel, and conflict builds over their past both characters are faced with a decision to take a risk and see out their romance, or walk away. Forever asking themselves what could have been. Romance, thrills and excitement await in book one of this modern romance series set in paradise.

Grab a  free copy here!

Happy Mother’s Day! ONE of TWO Free Gifts! #mothersday #CTM

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mums and mother figures out there. I feel so lucky to have two days, my traditional British day in March and one in May now that I’ve moved abroad. As a gift from myself and the team at Conscious Talk Magazine, just a reminder that you can all request a FREE digital copy of May’s issue as our gift to readers especially all the mamas, sit back, relax, take some time off with 100 pages of great reading.

Request your copy here.

May Complimentary Issue Giveaway

 

Let’s Meet ‘New York’s Finest’,It’s Time For Meet The Author: James. J.Cudney ! + Giveaway #amreading @jamescudney4

Bliz

Jay.jpg

I can’t tell you the last time I saw a man in a pair of trouser braces! Let’s get to know James Cudney’s style! He’s  the author of Father Figure, it’s on my Kindle ready for me to tuck into reading I can’t wait… it’s time for Meet The Author.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Although most of my family is from the New York area, my parents took a brief excursion to Florida for a few years where I was born. We lived there until I was three years old when they returned back to Long Island. I grew up there, went to college in Pennsylvania, and had a brief stint in California. For the last six years, I’ve lived in New York City. I have this battle of wills between living in the suburbs and living in a major metropolitan city. I’m already itching to go somewhere rural, but it will probably need to wait a few years.

I’m a quiet, stay-at-home, routine-oriented kinda guy. I do a fair amount of world traveling, watch a few favorite television series, working out, some gardening, reading and genealogy. I like researching and analysing things and puzzles, but for the most part I’m usually doing something relatively simple and calm. Every so often, I get a little crazy and go out to a few bars, get adventurous, and cause a ruckus. I try to keep that to a minimum cause it might make me suddenly get outta control! And I don’t want to have to explain any jailtime experience… although that might help me become a better writer… 😊

Kim: Haha, ‘jail time.’  And Long Island? New Yorkers from there have such a cool accent.

Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

I’ve got four favorites these days: Agatha Christie, Ken Follett, Henry James and Kate Morton. My inspiration would be a toss up between Follett and Christie because they are the most prolific story tellers I know. I hope to have dozens of books over the next thirty years.

What genre do you enjoy reading?

Although I read across almost all genres, my go to ones usually include mystery, historical fiction and thrillers.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I don’t think it changed my actual writing process, but it has given me an entirely new level of admiration for editors. I’m fairly strong at understanding 90% of all the grammar rules and styles, but I missed a lot. I never worried about the differences between “knew” and “had known” as it can be fairly minor when you speak; however, it’s a whole different ball game when you are telling a story in the past tense and need to refer to something that happened even further back. I’m much more careful of these things while I’m writing so that my editor doesn’t have to find the obvious problems – I get those fixed in my early drafts before passing it on to her.

Kim: Hmmm, I hear that or is it I heard you? 🙂 

So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

I’m working on the sequel for my first novel right now. I knew it could and should be a series, but I wanted some security than readers would find it equally as compelling. I’ve heard them loud and clear about it, and so I’m in the outlining process now to deliver something within the next year. I’m also focused on looking at potential options to turn it into a film or television series down the line.

The books will follow the Glass family who live in Connecticut, USA. Ben, the patriarch, died in a car accident in the first book, leaving behind his wife and five adult sons. His will was the catalyst for the family to implode over all the buried—or not-so-buried—secrets that were on the cusp of staying hidden. I’m currently drafting several short stories to function as a prequel for everything that happened to each family member before the first book, then a sequel which will show us life three months after the huge family showdown near the end of the last one.

Kim: Did you say movie? *raises eyebrows* that would be amazing!

What was it like creating back to back stories that link?

It’s quite complex because there are 6 flashbacks that happen in the book where details about characters’ lives are revealed. Everything is so date driven, I keep a detailed list of facts and timelines showing all the integration points. It’s a good thing all my research, project management and genealogical skills stayed with me!

Kim: that’s what also throws me in writing too, the timeline of events, you can guarantee one reader will be paying such close attention they’ll notice if you are even a day out! Lists work in my experience.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?

Yes! I am planning to write a cozy mystery book and/or series next year. I’ve also been convinced to write a romance novel, but I’ve never really read any before. So, I need to brush up on some good ones in that genre, then take a crack at it. Hey… you’re familiar with that… and a pretty popular author… maybe I need some pointers from you?

Kim: *blushes*  * clears throat* well, ya know… maybe I could help, anyways back to you a new male author in the romance genre sounds good to me. I interviewed two other guys who want to do it, I wonder who has the biggest balls and will go for it!  I’d love to read it.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

Being able to say I published a novel and have an ISBN registered in libraries and bookstores. I accomplished my goal, and if I didn’t get to publish any additional after these first few, I will still be proud of what I achieved.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Nope, not my laptop. People, yes. Random pieces of junk mail sitting on the desk needing to be thrown out, definitely. My frustration usually comes if there’s a negative review that’s from someone who’s just being rude. I like constructive criticism as it drives you to do better. But the meanies make you occasionally ask yourself ‘why do I do this to myself’ and then I want to throw things. Just not my laptop – too much saved on it!

Kim: Never mind the haters, do they know what it takes to knock out 90,000 words? Your book is 400 pages ,so at a guess from experience I’d say that’s about the word count if not more. If they don’t like your work… well, at least they bought the book and your pockets are lined either way, LMFAO.

Image result for wtf did she just say that meme

Sorry, sorry no I meant never mind the haters, for every one person who hates or dislikes what they read there are ten that did love it! Chin up.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

Definitely a plotter. I map everything out in a 30 to 40-page outline before I ever start to write. I assign chapters to weeks, detailed descriptions to characters and settings to scenes. From there, I am a pantser. I start with parameters and knowing what I need to accomplish in each scene, but whether the character is happy or sad, truthful or deceitful, funny or mean… that just flows as I’m writing.

Kim: sounds good to me.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

Oh – insert your favorite explicative – you are not! I am comma heavy. I tend to insert them whenever I hear that pause in the words in my head. My editor totally called me out on it in a nice way. I’ve cut the usage by 75%, but she still catches several per page. I give up at some point and think… ‘this isn’t my area of expertise, let the person who knows how to do it fix it!’ If I didn’t, I might just lose my mind permanently.

Kim: ha, I think I over inset too if I’m honest.

Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists-  but hey I’m over it now.  Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.

I do, but it’s not that I confuse two words in spelling. I think faster than I type sometimes, so I end up reversing the order of words such as “to” or “the.” I can’t tell you the number of times I end up with something along the lines of “I am going the to store.” Then when I am re-reading or editing, I totally skip over it and the editor or beta readers find it. I’m like ‘Yo, writer, how does this happen???’

Kim: ‘Yo! Writer! *smiles* when I want a really good laugh, I pull out my first draft of my first ever romantic suspense.

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What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I’m writing some of the prequel Glass short stories. I’m outlining the Glass sequel. I’m outlining the intro to the cozy mystery series. But… I’ve suddenly become obsessed with a very emotional love story that I can’t get out of my head. But there’s no way I can write all 4 by December, so I need to push two until next year. What do you think I should do?

Kim: hmmm, when this creativity overload happens to me, I go with what I can’t get out of my head as that’s where the passion and heat is. Personally, I’d go with what drives you most, as you’ll write it with heart. Keep the outlines going but write what’s calling you… But whatever you do, write them all no matter how long it takes. Myself and Didi are working on The Suspenseful Collection Volume #2  and  have outlined #3. Technically, she has been waiting for me to finish two stories since Christmas! Other things have called us both, we focused on this, but we both know when we go back to those stories they are going to be totally badass, because it will be the right time the calling is there. Never write under duress the result won’t be your best work.

So… where can we get your books?

Right now, from Amazon. Both are available on my author page @ https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A big ego hurts writers. A tiny ego also hurts. This is the case of Goldilocks and the three bears. Find the happy medium and stick with it. There is a time to self-promote and share why you are a great writer and there’s a time to sit back and let other people take the lead.

Kim: *Nods head* nice, agreed.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Interesting question… I’ve made the conscious decision not to worry about research in my first two books. I chose story lines where I knew the settings and time periods so well, it wasn’t necessary to research. I had a couple of plot points to work out, for instance exactly when did using hair for DNA research become common practice and what happened with college acceptance forms in the 1980s. Both were easy, but my focus was on writing and making a name for myself. The plan is to spend more time researching for future books now that I’ve built up a readership and interest in my style and voice.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I’ve read everything on Goodreads and Amazon, and if I stumble upon it anywhere else, I read it. I can’t help it. I want to learn what readers like and dislike, so I can grow. I am overwhelmed and speechless by all the good ones. On a few negatives ones, readers have chosen to be unnecessarily cruel and silly. I’m all for constructive criticism, but when someone is downright nasty, it hurts. I have a thick skin, but it still causes you to feel awful. It’s not unlike life though. People say things to hurt you, then move on. I wallow for a day or two, then I am good again.

Kim: the best amour writers can wear is thick skin, to be honest James I’ve come to the conclusion there is a reader for every writer’s style, even when you break the rules of the norm for the gene. So just keep pushin’ and really don’t let the mean comments hurt you, I promise there will come a time where you just don’t care for the straight up mean rubbish.

What was your hardest scene to write?

In one of my novels, there is a scene where someone is violently attacked. I made a conscious decision to stop at a specific point and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination. I knew exactly what point that was but leading up to it was quite impacting. I’m lucky and privileged to never have gone through something so painful. Just living it through my words and imagination was hard enough, I cannot understand how someone could ever hurt another person or how the survivor finds the strength to persevere. It was important for the scene to be full of emotion and fear, but not be vulgar or vicious in the choice of words. I needed to create imagery without crossing a line. I’m very happy with where it ended up from a word perspective, but I sometimes struggle even in re-reading it myself.

Do you Google yourself?

Yes, and it’s funny. I’ve done it for the last few years, and the things it finds as time goes by… wow! My last name isn’t very common, but I am the fourth with this name as it’s been handed down, so occasionally, I have to check if it’s me or my dad!

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Wow! I’m privileged to know and chat with at least another 50 published authors that I’ve met through my blog and my publisher. I also find a way to reach out to an author I don’t know if I read their book and give them a 4 or a 5. I’ve been able to connect with most of them, too. I learn something new and good from each of these wonderful writers. Sometimes just having a colleague who has been through a situation you’re going through, or a novel handling a topic you need information on, is an amazing source of comfort.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

With two under my belt, each took 6 months from start to finish, including editing. Once they went to the publisher, it was another 2 months, plus a prep month for outlining… so we’re looking at 9 months per book. Some of that time I can be working on two books, so my goal is to deliver two books every year to year and a half.

What’s your favourite movie?

Defending Your Life. Who doesn’t love Meryl Streep?

What music do you like?

I’m a radio guy – top 40s pop make me happy!

Where would you like to travel to and why?

I’m keen on Australia and Patagonia as my next big trip. I’m hitting Italy and England for 3 weeks this spring, but then I’ll be planning the big one!

Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?

Olivia Glass… she’s vivid and ruthless at first, then finds a tender moment. She’s torn between love and power, support and pain. She’s every person in life just on a much larger scale.

Do you need a lot of sexual experience to be a good erotica author?

What an interesting question given I haven’t yet written erotica. I do have 3 scenes in my first book and 5 or 6 in my second book that are quite intimate. Both cover discussion of body parts, physical acts, and imagination. I’m almost afraid to answer this question. It may reveal way more than I intend, but I’m usually an open book, so I’ll give it a try. I think you need to have a fairly extensive amount of experience to be able to write erotica – BUT… that experience could come from many places. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something you’ve done yourself. Sometimes reading about it or watching it happen gives you enough details to understand a human being’s reaction to physical intimacy. Combining what knowledge you do have, talking about it with other people, and experiencing varying degrees of it yourself, you find the right balance of being able to write about it. Consider an author writing a scene in which a character of different sexuality is engaging in something erotic. You may never have done that yourself, but you can imagine what it’s like based on all the other things you’ve seen and done. There’s an emotional reaction we all have to a release. There’s a powerful connection we have at the initial touch. There’s expressions we make when we have little to no control over something happening to / inside us. It can’t often be controlled in the same exact way, but there’s enough to get a clear picture you can augment with your creativity. At least that’s how it works for me! Can I go hide now?

Kim: LMFAO! You’re just too cute you skirted around actually answering!! You answered that like a true politician James. This question was for an erotica author I interviewed, glad you never overlooked it. Well, what can I say? Imagination is a good friend as well as reality, as a romance writer, writing erotically can come naturally ( I don’t write sweet romance) so… yeah, I hear ya! My hardest challenge in this area was co-writing, again, with my co-author a lesbian serial killer! In present tense  and first person point of view!  Now when I started the story my co-author totally rolled with the whole girl-on- girl scene, and finished up really good! She shocked the hell out of me. When readers demanded part #2   we had to finish up as readers demanded it,  a challenge like none other as it was pretty steamy s*hit, even if I say so myself!

If you could do it all again would you change anything?

I’d have started sooner… I wasn’t ready, and I needed to develop more confidence. Sometimes trial by fire is the best path.

Pick one a one time “Bestselling author” or an author with longevity what would you rather?

Follett… he’s been writing for 3 decades and continuously impresses people of all ages.

Thanks for a great interview James! isn’t he a cutie? How he answered the erotic writing question really made me smile. Anyway guys, check back later for excerpts  ( posted later today) and a book review of Father Figure in the very near future. Yours truly will do a read and review, I can’t wait.

About The Author:

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

 

Author Links

Blog:

https://thisismytruthnow.com

 

Author Website:

https://jamesjcudney.com

 

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Giveaway

Father Figure will be available FREE from 5/6 thru 5/10! Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Also, if you haven’t read James’ fantastic debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, pick it up on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/6 thru 5/10!!!

Try and win a digital copy of “Father Figure” even sooner below!
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Book Blitz Organized By:

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Have You Got Your Free Copy? Save $3.99! + $500.00 Giveaway #amreading #freebie #giveaway

Afternoon all, issue #2 is on sale today! However we are gifting free copies this May. Grab yourself a FREE 100 page magazine, packed with great articles. Twelve and six month subscribers of CTM  in May are entered into our prize draw giveaway. Just add your email on the link below, a digital copy will be sent directly to you via Magzter  for free.

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May Complimentary Issue Giveaway

Something For Everyone This Weekend! #giveaway #freebiefriday #weekenddeals

Afternoon all, I hope all is well with you and you’ve had a great week. Didn’t it go so fast? Last week of the school holiday here it’s been a fun two weeks. Life returns to normal next week, back to the grind! Anyway, here are a few things I want to share something for everyone…

FREE COPY FOR ALL THIS MONTH!May Complimentary Issue Giveaway

From the 30th April issue #2 is out for sale get your issue FREE HERE!

Something for my author friends! We’ve featured some great authors over issue #1 and issue #2.

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Something for everyone who wants to market!

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Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Mothers Day is Coming Up… Our Gift To You! #CTM

Who wants some free stuff?

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Everybody loves free stuff, and if you don’t then you’re crazy. Issue #2 of CTM will be given as a gift for a mothers day special.

Try before you buy!!

All you need to do is enter your email address into the link provided. Simple as pie!

If you like what you get, then don’t wait to subscribe as you’ll be entered into a $500 gift card drawing if you subscribe by the end of May!

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May Complimentary Issue Giveaway

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