#TeaserTuesday It’s Complicated – Broke in the City #1

In the first book of the series, a woman scorned is nothing to play around with. Still seething over her husband’s sudden request for a divorce, Keyonna vows to keep her marriage intact on paper until she feels like ending it no matter how her choice affects her husband and child. While Keyonna is seeking the ultimate revenge, Mika is involved in a secret romance with her high school sweetheart, a relationship that her friends thought was over when she had a baby with another man. Sydney’s on-again/off-again relationship with a handsome doctor is jeopardized when a love interest enters her life. Finally, there’s Tyson whose engagement should be a celebratory moment and could be if he wasn’t so worried about what his family will think about steps he’s taking with the love of his life.

In It’s Complicated, relationships aren’t just tested, they are solidified or blown to pieces.


 

Sydney

I didn't even have to see my brother to know that he had an attitude. All that banging around he was doing in the kitchen made it so obvious. Sebastian- Bash - drinks a green smoothie every morning no exceptions. The only reason he’d be banging around pots and pans is to get my attention at seven in the morning. He's not going to get it.

Rolling over on my side completely nude I softly kissed the sweet lips of the beautiful and sexy woman lying next to me. Audra is gorgeous. She reminds me of Kimora Lee Simmons. Tall, curvy but slim, half-black, half Asian. When I saw her in the club last night, she was at the bar wearing barely nothing and talking to another sexy young woman. I wasn't interested in the other girl though. My eyes focused on the roundness of her breasts and the glowing silkiness of her bronze skin. I was immediately attracted to her. I just wanted to touch her, to feel the smoothness of her body. And so I did. All night.

“Hey beautiful,” I said when she opened her eyes. “I'm glad you stayed.”

“Why wouldn’t I stay?” she asked sleepily. “We were having a good time.”

That was definitely true. Last night was an experience, one that will definitely be stored in the memory bank.

“What's all that noise?” Audra asked. “Someone else here?”

“That's just my brother,” I said. “He's just trying to annoy me.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s a jerk,” I answered and wanted to leave it at that.

I don’t like talking to the people I’m close to about Bash. There isn’t any reason why I should tell my deepest darkest secrets to a woman whose last name I don’t even know. This animosity between me and my twin is something we need to figure out without outside interference.

“What y’all talkin’ about?” a deep voice on the other side of me asked.

I looked over my shoulder at Tommy, one of my favorite go-to numbers in my phone. Tommy is always down to party. When I sent him a picture of me and Audra leaving the club, he met me at my apartment. Tommy isn’t drop dead gorgeous like Audra. He’s cute in his own way. He’s skinny, pale, and covered with tattoos. However, he has a package that is extremely large and satisfying and the stamina of a racehorse. After my friends, Tommy is number six in my favorites list on my phone.

#TeaserTuesday It’s Complicated – Broke in the City #1

In the first book of the series, a woman scorned is nothing to play around with. Still seething over her husband’s sudden request for a divorce, Keyonna vows to keep her marriage intact on paper until she feels like ending it no matter how her choice affects her husband and child. While Keyonna is seeking the ultimate revenge, Mika is involved in a secret romance with her high school sweetheart, a relationship that her friends thought was over when she had a baby with another man. Sydney’s on-again/off-again relationship with a handsome doctor is jeopardized when a love interest enters her life. Finally, there’s Tyson whose engagement should be a celebratory moment and could be if he wasn’t so worried about what his family will think about steps he’s taking with the love of his life.

In It’s Complicated, relationships aren’t just tested, they are solidified or blown to pieces.

Keyonna

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him, Daddy! He’s crazy as hell!”

Across from me at our usual table at Taco Mac, Sebastian started laughing, that quiet laugh people make when they’re trying not to be heard by the other person on the phone. It wouldn’t matter. Daddy knew Bash was with me. I couldn’t blame my friend from laughing. If I wasn’t still upset, I’d be laughing right along with him. As I told my father what happened at my job, remembering the look on Shawn’s face when I threatened to put my shoe up his ass was hilarious.

“Sign the divorce papers and be done with him,” Daddy ordered. “Stop being so damn stubborn.”

“I’m not being stubborn,” I argued. “There’s a difference between stubborn and petty. After everything I did for him for ten years, that nigga got the nerve to file for divorce! I promise you, he gon’ have a problem with me for at least half that time. He’ll get his divorce when I decide it’s time. Ol’ big head bastard.”

“Alright then.” Daddy signed in that exasperated way that indicated he’d given up. “Do what you want. But I’m warning you, lil girl. if this behavior between the two of you causes me not to be able to see my grandson, you and Shawn are going to have a bigger problem than divorce papers. You hear me, Keyonna?”

“Yes, sir. But it’s not going to get to that. Shawn is stupid, but he ain’t stupid-stupid.”

“Yeah, that’s what you think. I’m gonna go now and call Keilan. Call me later.”

“Bye, Daddy. Love you.”

“Love you too,” he replied gruffly then hung up the phone.

I looked at Bash and smiled. “Oooh, he’s mad-mad.”

“It’s not like you and Shawn don’t give him a reason to be. If I didn’t adore you so much, I’d be mad at you for calling me every day to vent about your husband,” Bash teased.

“Ex-husband.”

Sebastian took a sip of his first vodka-cranberry of the night and shook his head. “Not until you sign those papers.”

As usual, Bash and I were the first to get to Taco Mac. Our entire crew operates on CP Time, including the white boy and the Hispanic chick. I expected Tyson to be late. He’s always five to ten minutes behind everyone else. Plus, his energy has been off today. He’s usually the most talkative one in our group chat but he barely said anything today. Even when I called him, something seemed off.

“Have you talked to Tyson today?” I asked Bash.

“Yes. I invited him to meet up with me and Eva this weekend and he brushed me off. What’s up with him? Do you know?”

“Nope. But you bet I find out when he gets here. He better show up too.”

“Do you think something’s going on with him and Myles?”

“Trouble in paradise?” I snickered. “I don’t think the most perfect couple in Atlanta ever has issues. Unless they’re pulling a Kirk and Rasheeda on us?”

“Who?”

I forgot Sebastian doesn’t watch Love and Hip-Hop. He’s too smart to fill his head and his time with ratchet reality TV. I’m not being sarcastic either. Sebastian really is too smart to entertain ghetto. That’s what I love about him. He’s articulate, a great communicator, and although he was raised in the ghetto, he’s not ghetto. Maybe it’s because English ghetto is so different than American ghettos. I don’t know. I’ve never been across the pond. All I know is that Sebastian is a cool dude. As I explained who Kirk and Rasheeda were, Tyson, Justin, and Sydney joined us at the table.

As always, Justin looked like he just left the gym. I don’t know how he gets so many girls when all I ever see him wearing is workout clothes. Style must not matter to women that much anymore because Justin pulls some of the baddest bitches in Atlanta on the regular. He’s such a ho, but that’s my baby bro.

Sydney, our other resident THOT, is just as bad as Justin if not worse. She’s gets coochie and dick, sometimes both in the same night. I’m not hating on either one of them because we all have a little ho in us. I haven’t had a chance to explore that part of me yet. I got married at eighteen and was faithful to Shawn for ten whole years even though he didn’t deserve it. When I’m ready to try some new dick, Sydney is going to be my wingman, but she better not do me like she did Mika. That last thing I need is a fuckboy like Miguel in my life. I’d be under the Fulton County jail if a man got me pregnant and abandoned his kid. Mika wasn’t even going to hook up with Miguel until Sydney kept pushing and pushing her to have a “we were on a break” fling while London was in Colorado.

I’ve been trying to get Mika to do something about Miguel for years. She has enough friends and family for that scumbag to come up missing and it never be linked back to her. All of Justin’s goons in the SWATS would be happy to make it happen for a few stacks which I know her other baby daddy can afford. Unfortunately for her, Mika is way too much of a sweetheart to have someone hurt Mateo’s father. She’s not like me and Sydney who will pop off at any sign of disrespect. It takes a lot, maybe too much, for Mika to snap.

“Where y’all been?” I asked the late arrivals. “Y’all can’t be on time for shit!”

“Why are you so loud?” Justin laughed and scooted into the booth next to me. He kissed my cheek and reached for my margarita to take a sip. I slapped his hand so fast!

“Boy, what you doin’? That’s top shelf! You better get your own!”

“You are so stingy!”

“And don’t touch my food when it gets here either,” I warned the mooch. “I ain’t ate all day.”

Sebastian smirked and I knew he was dying to correct my grammar. He didn’t though. We’ve been friends long enough for him to know that I’m going to talk how I want when I want.

“Are you doing the intermittent fasting I told you to do?” Justin asked.

“No, fool!” I laughed. “I’m poor. That’s why I didn’t eat.”

“Or her nerves are bad because Shawn pulled up on her,” Sydney joked.

“Bitch, that’s not even funny!”

“Yes it is,” Sydney laughed. “Aww man, I wish I had been there. I can’t believe he doesn’t know not to pull up on you by now.”

“He’s going to keep pulling up on big sis until she signs those papers,” Justin said. “Sign the papers, Keyonna! We’re trying to get you to go out with us and we can’t do that when you’re still married and celibate.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m far from celibate.”

“When’s the last time you got some Vitamin D?” Justin asked.

“Why is that your business?”

“Because if you were getting’ some, we’d already know. It would have been in the group chat minutes after it happened. Who you savin’ it for? Bash?”

Both Sydney and Bash looked up, startled by Justin’s question. I wanted to stab him with my fork. I told him that I might have a little thing for Sebastian in confidence that it would stay between us. It be your own best friends, I swear.

“I’m not saving anything for Bash,” I lied. “Shut up. I’m just not a ho like you. So anyway, what’s going on with y’all?”

“Same old shit,” Sydney said and picked up the menu like we didn’t already have that thing memorized.

We’ve been coming to Taco Mac every Wednesday for the last three or four years. Everybody here knows us. They know what we drink and eat. We don’t even have to order anymore. Our server just starts bringing us our regular food and drinks when she sees that most of us have arrived. Laurie even knows whose turn it is to pay. Sydney was just trying to avoid looking at her brother. Justin and I noticed that right away.

“You two must be beefin’ again,” Tyson stated bluntly. “What happened now?”

“Like I said, same old shit. My dear sweet brother refuses to remove the stick up his ass.”

“No, your brother just wants his sister to not bring strangers to the apartment. You can do all your ho shit somewhere else.”

“You can move out if you don’t like my ho shit,” Sydney fired back. “Keep talking shit, Bash. I am so sick of you judging me. One day you’re going to say the wrong fucking thing and wake up homeless.”

“One day you’re going to screw the wrong fucking person and wake up with an STD,” he countered back.

Justin, Tyson, and I glanced at each other quickly. Obviously Sebastian wasn’t aware of Sydney’s brief run-in with the clap. Some strong antibiotics cleared her up, but catching Chlamydia a year ago certainly taught little sis a thing or two about protection.

“Why don’t you two stop?” Tyson interjected, ever the peacemaker. “The fact that you two are still arguing about the same thing three years later is your issue that you two need to fix. The rest of us are tired of it. Every time all six of us are in a room, y’all start arguing.”

“Eww!” Sydney wrinkled her nose at Tyson. “What’s wrong with you? Why you got an attitude?”

“I don’t. I just don’t feel like hearing the twins fight today. Can we talk about something else?”

I glanced over at Bash. He nodded slightly. Yup, something was definitely up with Tyson.

#TeaserTuesday – Dream Chasers

After hugging me and DJ, Sunny sat down and crossed her legs. She gave me an amused smile.
“Dreamz, what have you done?”
“Man, it’s not what you think,” I answered, assuming that she had watched the finale inside of Aubrey’s dressing room.
“I was checking out your girl too. She’s wearing that hell out of that Cavalli dress. I know that dress well, and no reality star can afford that. Did you buy that for her?”
I shrugged. “Maybe. If I did, she doesn’t need to know.”
“That girl has you all twisted up.” Sunny giggled. “You spent forty stacks on a dress? I’ve never seen you like this.”
“What do you want, Sunny? I know you didn’t come in here just to tease me.”
She grinned widely. “Actually, that’s the only reason I’m still hanging around. And maybe to give you some much needed advice.”
DJ burst out laughing. “How can you give him relationship advice? You act like we don’t know your track record. We grew up with you, Sunny. We know we can’t trust your relationship advice.”
Sunny smiled because she knew he was right. We all went to junior high and high school together. We weren’t the best of friends, but that doesn’t change the fact that every aspect of her current and past relationships was tabloid fodder.
“You tried it, DJ! You were at my wedding! Obviously, I’m doing something right because I’m not divorced. I’m not giving your cousin relationship advice because he doesn’t have a relationship to advise on. I’m giving him female advice. And I’m not talking to you; I’m talking to your cousin.” She turned towards me. “Dreamz, I think you’re about to do something really dumb, and you better tread carefully. You hurt that girl to her core on national TV. Millions of people saw her embarrassed by you. Her forgiveness isn’t going to come easily so don’t expect it just because you still like her. Your feelings don’t even matter. From what I’ve seen on the show, she’s more likely to say fuck you and your feelings than forgive you so you better be prepared for it, friend. She’s a tough cookie. I like her though. And next time you want to dress up one of your girls, call me. That is what I do for a living.”
Sunny’s harsh words hit me hard. Seeing Chase at her school and our brief conversation solidified my feelings for her, but we hadn’t had a conversation about what happened. Sunny could be right, and I was overestimating Chase’s feelings for me. Damn. I didn’t know what I’d do if Chase rejected me in front of a live audience.

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Music is Love: vol 3 – DREAM CHASERS (teaser)

“It was a pleasure having you on board, Dreamz,” the flirty light-skinned flight attendant said as I pulled my backpack and Chase’s carryon suitcase out of the overhead compartment. “Thank you for choosing Delta.””
Chase got out of her seat and slid between me and the flight attendant. “You’re welcome,” Chase said pointedly.
All I could do was snicker. Thankfully, Chase didn’t say anything else to any of the overly polite attendants. Being my woman must be hard as hell since it seems like other women lose all sense of boundaries around celebrities. You have to be pretty damn cold and your common sense must take a leave of absence to blatantly flirt with a man with his woman sitting right next to him. Groupie behavior wasn’t something I expected Chase to get used to, but I don’t know how she planned on dealing with it. Chase struggled to keep up with my long strides down the jetway. I wanted to get onto the crowded concourse in the Atlanta airport as quickly as possible. Without my sister, brother, and three security guards, it was usually easy to blend into most crowds. Most people were hurrying to catch a flight, not scoping out celebs in the airport.
“The hell?” Chase gasped when we exited the gate. Her eyes widened in amazement. Atlanta’s airport can invoke that kind of response in someone who’d never seen it before. The last time we flew out of Atlanta, we flew out of a different part of the airport where the private jets took off.
I hate Hartsfield-Jackson airport with a passion. It’s too damn big to be as inefficient and disorganized as it is. This airport was the main reason we got a private plane. Too many missed flights going through TSA and hardly any security to keep the crowd at bay made Sony fork over those dollars.
“Can you please slow down?” Chase whined. “My legs aren’t as long as yours.”
“You want me to carry you on my back?”
Chase smiled. I could tell she wanted to say yes. Her miniature self was always jumping on my back at home but being in public stopped her.
“I’m not a baby.”
“You’re my baby.”
I pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. She was already starting to blush. Something about that flush of red was so inviting and cute, and I leaned down and kissed her lips.
“You know I love you, right?”
“Yes, even when you don’t say it.”
When we started walking again, I was sure that Chase noticed the people who were looking at us, trying to figure out if we were actually Chase and Dreamz; they did it on the train to baggage claim too. We were smart enough not to check any luggage because I have an apartment here with a closet full of clothes and I can buy whatever Chase needs or wants, but that was the only exit out of the public part of the airport that I knew about.
Walking through baggage claim, we were definitely noticed by a group of girls waiting on their bags. Their screams alerted others so we had no choice but to stand there and take pictures.
“Ooh Dreamz, you are so fine!” I heard a girl say boldly and turned to see who it was. “I shoulda been your baby mama instead of Blue. That stripper ho is crazy as hell!”
“Keyona!” her friend shouted. “I know you didn’t just say that to him!”
“What? It’s true. I could be a better baby mama than any one of them strippers and reality show hoes. Please believe me!”
Chase’s jaw dropped, but I already warned her that women often be out of order when they see me. I guess knowing that chicks would be disrespectful and seeing it up close and personal were two different things. Chase moved in front of me and glared at the girl. The mild-mannered Chase that was usually so laid back was replaced with the Chase I saw when Sasha threw a beer bottle at her.
“I know you see me standing here so you gotta be on some other shit for you to be so disrespectful. You might want to apologize.”
“Apologize to who?” The girl wrinkled her face and snickered. “You? What for? You ain’t nobody.”
“What for? Oh. Okay.”
Chase smoothly draped her purse over the handle of her suitcase. “I shouldn’t have to explain myself, but you should apologize so you don’t get your ass beat in the middle of this airport by a reality show ho. Or don’t; it’s on you. I have bail money.” She put her hands up and rolled her neck. “What’s good?”
I grabbed Chase before she could swing on the girl. There were already phones pointed at us recording the situation. There was no way in hell I was going to let Chase fight some groupie on Instagram Live and Snapchat.
“No! We’re not about to do this, baby. Let’s go.”
Smugly, Chase wrapped her arm around my waist and let me lead her towards the exit. She smirked coyly at the group of women, but I knew that her smirk was just for show. She was heated!
“Fuck that bad body bitch!” the shit-talker yelled at Chase’s back. “Walking around with no ass and titties looking like a lil boy.
Chase’s spin move would have put the best NBA player to shame. She spun out of my grasp and was at the girl’s neck before I could grab her. Some dude I didn’t even know scooped her about two feet in the air before she could land a punch, but not before she’d yanked the wig off the girl’s head. Instead of swinging, Keyona grabbed at her head, trying not to show her jail braids to an airport full of travelers with camera phones.
“Secure your wig, ho! Don’t you know that?” Chase hollered. “I don’t know who you hoes think I am, but you don’t want these types of problems. Atlanta ain’t that fuckin’ big, bitch!”
The dude holding Chase looked at me, wondering if he should let her go. I just shook my head and grabbed my girl from his arms and pushed her towards the exit doors as quickly as I could before the police came running over to see what the commotion was.
Kareem was leaning against the door of my Maserati waiting for us. He had no idea what just happened inside and was caught off guard when I threw open the front passenger door and pushed Chase inside. I threw the bags in the backseat.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” I growled. “This is some bullshit.”
Kareem tossed me the keys and hopped quickly into the backseat. People were still staring at us and snapping pictures as I peeled out before he could even close the door. Chase rolled down her window and threw the wig out.

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#WriteTipWednesdays Are Back!

I know…it’s been a long time since I posted one of these. I’ve been slacking. Live outside of writing…life as April instead of Jackie Chanel got more crazy and weird than I ever imagined.
To make things more challenging, I had to do some serious soul searching for a cool month or two because, as an author-publisher-editor, I kind of lost my way. I even took a steady job and was about to give up on writing period. I honestly felt like I didn’t want to be a part of this industry anymore. I talked it out with myself, my mother, and God, and determined that writing is my calling. As John Mayer pointed out in 2010 (the speech that made me want to publish UNTITLED in the first place) …

“I know that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did. There are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect. When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling. That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.”

So, that’s where I am at this point. I’m following the sound of my calling, which brought me back to my blog and helping other authors.
#WriteTipWednesday this week is about following the sound of your calling. This is important for authors, especially authors like me who go through rough patches of doubt.

The writing and publishing industry is a beast like no other. E-book publishing made it so easy to get taken by what I call pop-up publishers. The big New York publishers are still last in line when it comes to signing indie authors to big publishing deals. If you’re an indie author, you have to work five times as hard as a traditional author. It’s a non-stop gig. You have to wear many hats. You have to be an author, an editor, a proofreader, a marketing expert, and a social media guru. It becomes overwhelming very fast and discouraging even faster.

However, it’s crucial that you remember why you do this. Everyone who makes the decision to become an author has a reason why they do this. If you’re passionate about this thing then you’re going to do what you should do in order to make it work the way you need it to work.

Step one is to always remember that you are not alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s you who has to write the book, but you have an entire community of indie authors who are experiencing the EXACT SAME THINGS that you are. You must build a system of support. That’s where I messed up. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, that you don’t need peer readers, critique groups, or just other author friends to vent to. Your support system doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure that it’s enough that you can share resources and trust these authors.

Step two…build a network of people who can do the things that you are not great at. You’re going to need cover designers, editors, proofreaders, beta readers, and a team of readers that you can trust to give honest feedback and gas you up when you need it.

I can’t reiterate enough how important it is that you do not even attempt to do this alone. Write your book. Follow the sound of your calling wherever it takes you because that’s what your calling is…to be an author. If you just do those two things, I guarantee, this industry will not get the best of you.
Just know that while doing this, there may situations that are uncomfortable. There may be long days and longer nights. There will be sacrifices and times you want to quit. It’s part of the job, part of the title, and a very real factor when you’re doing exactly what you know in your heart you’re supposed to be doing.

And if you need an author friend, hit me up. I’m in the same place as you.