Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Interview with Chicki Brown

Tonight it is my pleasure to present an interview with Chicki Brown, author of Hot Fun in the Summertime, released on November 26, 2010. Chicki is one of my critique partners and a talented new writer who resides in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Check out her latest release and my interview to follow:

Hot Fun in the Summertime deals with the complexities of friendships between women, between men and women, and friendships that change and grow into something deeper.

Seven very different singles – four women and three men – rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer: author Shontae Nichols, self-employed accountant and realtor, Linda Harris, Linda’s sister, hip-hop video dancer Kinnik Watkins, cosmetologist, Jovita Blassingame, Calculus professor Curtis “Doc” Whetstone, actor and drama instructor, Kip Lee, and new housemate, up and coming film actor, Devon Burke.

During their two month stay, romances bloom friendships are tested and when a tragedy strikes one of the housemates, they all learn the answer to the age-old question: Can men and women ever be just friends?

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child, but I had never written anything. My first novel, which fortunately was never published, resulted from utter boredom on a job that was experiencing a slow period back in 2002. I began typing what was supposed to be a short story just to give myself something to do. The story ended up being 400 pages. That’s when I discovered I could write, but I still had years of learning about the craft and the industry ahead of me.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Getting the story to flow without any loose ends, changing details or plot holes at the end. Remembering all of the plot points in a 400-page novel is a major job. It requires keeping copious notes and takes several readings by several people to spot those problems. Thank God for critique partners!

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Honestly, I don’t think so. My problem is that I have too many ideas floating around in my head! There have been times though when I’ve been too tired or too discouraged to write. When that happens, I usually just put the story away for a day or two and immerse myself in reading instead. Reading is my fuel.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?
The 1983 movie, The Big Chill has always been one of my favorites. It dealt with a bunch of people coming together for the funeral of one of their college friends. I loved the ensemble cast with their different issues. More recently, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married 1 & 2 featured a similar theme -- a group of couples going away together for a vacation.
I wanted to do something similar but featuring all singles. The story takes place at the Jersey shore, but is nothing like the television show.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Making each of the characters different. I wanted to be sure each of the housemates had a unique personality and distinct goals. This part of the process was a lot of fun, and I ended up with a New-Agey accountant, a self-centered video dancer, a cerebral college professor, a sex-obsessed player, a big-hearted, jovial cosmetologist, a sensitive creative writer, and a success-driven, ultra-good-looking aspiring actor.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Definitely. It’s that true friendship will overcome differences. The friendships between the women are the focus of the story, and sibling rivalry, jealousy, disappointments and tragedy threaten their relationships.

What are your goals as a writer?
To develop a broad base of loyal readers. If I can determine what my readers like or dislike, I can write better stories that will appeal to them and keep them coming back for more.

Who is your favorite author and why?
I have several favorites, those authors whose books I will buy without hesitation. J.R. Ward, Eric Jerome Dickey, Beverly Jenkins, Suzanne Brockmann and Lisa Kleypas are at the top of the list. Ward writes the best vampire stories with grown and sexy heroes. Her world-building skills are amazing! Dickey is a master at depicting African-American life at all socio-economic levels, Jenkins writes the sexiest historical and contemporary romances featuring African-American characters, Brockmann is the queen of what I call “action romance” with true Alpha males, and I am in awe of Kleypas’ skill at crafting emotional romances that leave me sighing.

Where can we purchase the book?
Hot Fun in the Summertime is available at Amazon.com for Kindle, PC, Mac, iPad and phone. at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004DI7KI0 It’s also available at BN.com for the Nook at: http://su.pr/2CVnhi

Thank you, Chicki! Good luck and continued success!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Year and Counting

In exactly one year my daughter will be 15 years and 8 months old and will be expecting me to take her directly to DMV for her learners' permit. She is thoroughly looking forward to that day while I'm dreading it. Boy, time flies!!! It was just yesterday that she was born. I'm certainly not prepared for her to drive...and definitely not my SUV.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Embarking on a New Year

2010 is now upon us! Many of us are reflecting on our blessings, mistakes, accomplishments, regrets, surprises, and challenges from last year. Some of us are now setting goals and making resolutions for the year to come. And so am I.
I'm not exactly sure what those goals and resolutions will be right now but over the next week I plan to put pen to paper and come with a definitive list. I'm excited about 2010 and all that the year will bring, both good and bad. The good will of course bring me happiness and satisfaction and the bad will make me stronger, physically and spiritually.
Many of my supporters have express anticipation for what I plan to do as far as my writing is concerned. You know what? So am I. I'm a little concerned about what I'll be able to accomplish with my health as an issue but I don't want to bring negative thoughts/fears into the picture. It's been 5 years since I began this pursuit of writing romance fiction and not a lot has happened. But slow and steady will win the race, I'm sure!
I look forward to seeing what my writing friends are going to create in 2010 and will support them through words of encouragement and critiques. Good luck, ladies!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer is almost over!!

Goodness!! I can't believe summer 2009 is almost over. Back to the daily grind of dropping off and picking up the kid (who is going to her a ninth grader) from school. Back to afterschool activities and homework and projects and..... Ya know what I mean!!!

Even though I didn't take that luxurious vacation in the Carribbean or have that girls' only getaway at a spa retreat, I did have a pretty good summer. I relaxed like a slug on a rug and hardly did anything but hang out with the kid and my beau. Not only is it time for her to get back into the groove of school, it's also time for me to get off my duff, put my fingers to the keyboard and get to writing. Something. Anything. A short story, a poem, a limrick, darn it!! My brain is turning to mush!

I'm so proud of my fellow newbie writers who are making revisions, submitting to editors and publishers and signing contracts. And there is no good reason why I shouldn't be doing the same.

Granted, the heat and humidity have made my energy level sink like a stone and my motivation grind to a halt. But now that I've gone through a new series of symptoms and I'm on the road to recovery, I can brush the dust of self-doubt from the shoulders and plow forward. I may not plow as fast nor as steadily as my newbie counterparts, but I DO plan to get moving.

Since I said the same thing at the end of LAST SUMMER, wish me luck!!!


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Graduation Day!

In about twelve hours, my daughter will be graduating from the eighth grade. Eighth grade!!! I can't believe she's going to high school next year. I can't believe how fast the years have passed. Just nine years ago, she was going off to kindergarten, excited about dragging her book bag full of school supplies down the sidewalk into Kingdom Preparatory Academy. She couldn't wait to get to work and learn new things. Now school is the center of her social circle, where all things good --and bad --radiate. It's a wonder I have any hair left on the top of my head from all of the teenage angst she's put me through this year. Now don't get me wrong! She's not a bad kid and I know this age is a time when most kids struggle to find/make a place for themselves in their social arena. But boy, I'll be glad when this stage is over!

I'm proud that she's made it this far and wish nothing but the best for her in the future. As she embarks on her summer break (30-day break for mom!), I pray she has a safe journey and fun in the sun. Hopefully she'll use the time she has this summer to be more introspective (as much as a hard-headed teenager can be!) and will develop the growth and maturity needed to begin her life as a freshman in high school.

I love you, Courtney Brianna!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Critiquing Mode

I'm dedicating my time this month to getting back into the critiquing mode. My to-do list is piled high with chapters I owe to my friends Zaynah, Chelle, and Jennifer. Denise, I can't wait for what you have coming down the pipe.

More blogging to come next week........


Friday, February 06, 2009

Catching Up!

Well hello, folks!

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Birthday to me, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, Happy Inauguration to President Obama and pretty soon Happy Valentine's Day!

Once again, I've been missing in action for a long time but that doesn't mean that life's been uneventful. The holidays were loads of fun, including a surprise 40th birthday party for me thrown by my younger brothers. (Way to go, guys!)

For now, I'm recovering from all the fun: neck pain, numbness in my legs and hands and fatigue! It's kicking my butt! I can't seem to shake it but I know that with rest and patience with myself that I'm going to be fine.

So, to all of you who have been waiting for new chapters and critiques from me, please be patient as well.