A Paranormal Romance – Arnie Somers by Tonya Rice

arnie cover2My short novel, Arnie Somers: A Novelette, is a sweet, fantasy story that’s great for a Halloween time read. Right now, you can get your copy for free! Details below:

Beloved veterinarian, Arnie Somers, is faced with the horrible possibility of losing his wife to a devastating auto accident. As she struggles to survive, Violet tells Arnie that he must realize the time has come to hand over her favorite brooch, an heirloom, to their daughter. Arnie certainly doesn’t want to hear such talk. He believes if she doesn’t think about giving it away, she’ll pull through and they’ll be back at home together in no time.

Several years later after coming through that ordeal, Arnie must deal with his own medical emergency. The crisis of the heirloom returns and Arnie must face a decision that he never would have ever pondered before that moment!

Arnie Somers: A Novelette is a poignant tale of everlasting love and a testament to the power of an eternal bond.

“A short story with a big heart about the realization of unconditional, transcendent love and how it blossoms even in life’ s darkest hours.” – Five-Star Amazon Review

Get your copy now!

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My Writing Routine – these days

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Graphic: Tonya Rice

Once I’m finally sitting and concentrating(!), I use WriteWayPro for my first draft (the outine feature helps me quite a lot as I move ahead; I can see the story beginning to shape up clearly). Sadly the WriteWayPro company is no more, so their support is gone. I’m okay with that though, since I’ve been using it for so long. I may look for another program in the future. Must admit, I tried Scrivener, but so overwhelmed by it :/ – so my current program is it for me right now.

Then – I move it all to Microsoft Word to print, and Then – I edit it with my red pen. Yep – a red pen. I make the changes in Word and keep at it (reprinting sometimes if needed) until it’s done.

Evernote is always on stand by along with miscellaneous post-it notes and envelopes for notes and ideas. And last but not least, headphones tuned to either white or brown noise, Coffitivity, or Classic R&B, yacht rock, 40s music, or classic rock, depending on my mood.

(From a recent IG writing challenge post of mine – Join me there.)

What’s your typical or atypical writing routine? Feel free to share in the comments.

Thanks for reading! Please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE ebook – Without Your Goodbye!

Writing Through the Fear

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Graphic: Tonya Rice

Abduction pieces in the news rip me apart. Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, a major bestseller, was about just that. I couldn’t read in when it came out back in 1996, in spite of the fact it was the first book of Oprah’s Book Club. I remember, too, being marveled by a writer’s first novel hitting such a feat and having hope that maybe one day…

However, seeing the book discussed on TV, seeing the author on TV, passing by its ever-present displays in various bookstores (especially in the malls back then) unsettled the shit out of me. I was a single mom. Raising my then four-year old son alone. Just the mere thought of something like that happening paralyzed me.

Lately, one story in that light has been pulling at me in my head begging to be written. “Write hard and clear about what hurts,” said Ernest Hemingway. Burying the Bitter, my short, was a hard write. It was so dark, so raw, and with all that, surprisingly one of the easiest to write.

There are many dark stories in my head that are always scratching to get out, but I

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try so hard to ignore them because I can’t entertain the thought of exercising the discomfort long enough to write them.

I may do it.

Hell, I’m feeling claustrophobic already just thinking about it.

Maybe that’s why I need to write it. It may free me and, even better, help someone else.

Have you read Deep End of the Ocean? Your thoughts on it, too? Please share in the comments.

Thanks for reading! Please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

The Harry Potter Series and Me

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Photo: Tonya Rice

I am still lamenting the end of my journey with Harry, Ron, Hermione, et al. From the end of July until last week, I was completely immersed in the rest of the series, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I’d been on a reading slump much of the year while concentrating on my writing. So slow, I didn’t even think I’d meet my Goodreads Reading Challenge with its tiny count of ten books. I’ve met it though. Yay! Even then, I hit some sludge during my writing time. Earlier this summer, I finally hit that comfortable and familiar stride of reading book after book after book and realized how thirsty I’d been for other folk’s stories. So, after reading My Sister, The Serial Killer, next up on my list was that second Harry Potter book. I thought I’d read it and just go on to some other book.

Oh, no, it simply didn’t work out that way for me. I rushed to the library and got Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Finished that in just three days, so the next trip to the library was me walking out with the rest of the series.

For others in the world who haven’t yet read it – I know there are a few – I won’t go intoVerklempt details other than to say how surprised I am to have been affected by these kids as I was. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, sh*t began to get real and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ripped me to shreds. I mean, I weeped… stuff popped up that I just did NOT see coming and I was not prepared. (Getting verklempt just thinking about it all over again!) Not only that, it was beyond what they were fighting; it was watching them grow and deal with family, understand family, the nature of family, family history. J.K. Rowling weaved a mighty tale, took a hold of all of my emotions, and after it was over, the writer in me reminded me that I had work to do and I couldn’t wait any longer to get back to my own worlds and get back to spinning within my own craft.

My mom has seen all but the last two movies. I’m miffed about that because we can’t talk about it. (I mean – for goodness sake though, how do you stop there???!). That last book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) is broken into two movies and everything and I mean everything broke through. I haven’t yet watched any of them and I don’t know if I will, at least not for a while. I’m still savoring the words and the imagery in my own head.

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Photo: Tonya Rice

I’ll post my thoughts on each book here later. A couple are noted in Goodreads, of which I’ll go into a bit more detail I’m sure.

Question – should I read the play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? I started to jump in after Deathly Hallows since I developed the habit of just diving into the next one right after the last page of the previous(!) – but decided not to. Should I, now, or anytime at all?  Please share in the comments below. I’m seriously open to opinions on the matter…

 

Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

I Read Banned Books, Too – 2019 edition

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Each year around this time, the American Library Association encourages bibliophiles like me to acknowledge the erroneous judgment of those who continue to seek censorship in our schools and libraries. It calls on us to celebrate the list of banned books, which lengthens every decade, during Banned Books Week, which is going on now (September 22 through September 28, 2019). I applaud this week, as it highlights the horrifying attempts of others to edit my children’s reading list for me. As a parent, it’s my job to share with them the love of literature and life and I relish the opportunity to remind others of just that.

Several years ago, when my son was in high school, I encouraged him to read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, for a book report. A part of the list for several years, it’s an incredible tragic story, which garners empathy from the reader who follows young Pecola’s lot in life. My son was absolutely horrified by the incestuous content of the story, as he should have been. However, I taught him to pay attention to the language, the metaphors, the connections Morrison painted and weaved throughout around Pecola’s story. Morrison set the reader inside Pecola’s head, even though it was told by another character close to her. Being old enough to let the story marinate a bit, he understood this tale as a narration of one person’s suffering in life. Characters of many stories have various amounts of suffering. Some much worse and much more graphic than others. Literature is a form of expressing life. Period. It’s not always pretty. To take it away because you don’t believe your child should read it…fine. That’s your parental right, but don’t take my choice – to allow my children to read it – away from me.

As he shuddered at Pecola’s life, I reminded him that if he can watch such graphic, gory work like True Blood, it’s more important that he put the written word into his day-to-day living – to further develop his reading skills and infuse his own imagination. He understood and wrote a very well-received book report about it.

This also makes me think of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (banned by the way in a few countries in Europe and Asia). My son’s tenth grade English class read it. One afternoon, he came home enraged about the unsanitary living and working conditions raised in the book, and of what people, especially the children endured during that time. We discussed it a lot with his emotions on high. I was impressed and proud. He learned about it from – gasp! – a novel.

A few years ago, I’d had an interesting conversation with my daughter who wanted to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green when she was just eleven. Great book – I’d read it and I did find some of it to be too much for her age at the time, so I told her she could read it in a few years. Well, come to find out she did one of my numbers – for which I was notorious as a teen – she got a hold of it not long after that talk and read it in secret. (I did the same with ScruplesI wasn’t eleven, though, but a teenager.) I was a bit miffed by her actions of disregarding my decision, but – it gave us a chance to have a discussion about the story.

Now regarding my thoughts on her reading the book at that age: That was MY decision as her parent. Other parents choose may otherwise and that’s the point.

Age and maturity should factor the content and context of what a child reads. The parent can make that decision. How the child receives the work should be a tremendous basis for conversation between parent and child. It’s an awesome way to learn about your child’s interpretation of what they’re reading. This is the stuff English teachers require for book reports. Why not get them thinking about what they read for the sake of thinking about what they read?

If a child wants to read a book, they will find a way to read it. It’s even easier now with ebooks. The other point of this is – have a discussion with your child about the books. Don’t let the library or government (!) do your bidding for you. Know what books are out there.

Find out why they are “banned” and if you can, read them yourselves and become a part of the conversation, not just a spectator.

As a parent and as a reader, I shudder to think of the lines crossed by those who believe

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they are protecting the welfare of their own children when they step into my space of determining what’s allowed by my own child to read. I am still galled by the fact that this one element of our freedom is continuously challenged.

So, take a look at the ALA’s most recent comprehensive banned book list.
Then, scroll through the ALA’s banned book list of 2000-2009;
Followed by the ALA’s list of banned and challenged classics.

Note how several became hit made-for-TV movies; some were big screen hits … for children! I commend the directors of films such as The Face of the Milk Carton, A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Terabithia, because I’m sure curiosity drove kids to the libraries or bookstores in order to get the authentic story first presented by the author.

Below are a few of mine – from The Awakening by Kate Chopin to Beloved by Toni Morrison:20190923_135156

Read Banned Books. If you question a book, read it – then make the determination for your own child’s reading list. Not mine.

This post is updated from 2015.

Are there any banned books you’ve read? Did you know they were banned? Which ones? What’s your take on the growing list of “banned” and challenged books? Please share in the comments.

Thanks for reading! For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Goodreads Book Tag

 

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Photo: Pixabay

Here’s a fun tag post featuring Goodreads to share (thanks, Alex, for passing it along: https://mybookworld24.com/2019/08/15/goodreads-book-tag/ ). Funny thing is that I’m currently on a series roll as you’ll see below:

 

 

1. What was the last book you marked as “read”?

2. What are you currently reading?

3. What was the last book you marked as “Want to Read”?

4. What book do you plan to read next?

5. Do you use the star rating system?
Yes

6. Are you doing the 2019 Reading Challenge?
Yes, started with a pretty, unusually low amount, and quite happy to have surpassed it… it was really touch and go for a while this year to meet it 😦
https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/14858132

7. Do you have a wishlist?
No, I just add them to my TBR.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?
Hmmmm… still thinking; my TBR is quite lengthy 🙂

9. Do you have any favorite quotes? Would you like to share a few?
Yes…

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

10. Who are your favorite authors?
Isabel Allende, Tayari Jones, Bernice McFadden, Jackie Collins, Hilary Mantel, to name a few.

11. Have you joined any groups?
Yes: On the Southern Lit Trail, Literary Fiction by People of Color, Writers Worth, to name a few.

12. Are there any questions you’d like to add?
No.

 

Okay, readers, now, your turn 🙂

Are you on Goodreads? Let’s connect!

Feel free to share yours in the comments or if you have a blog, post your link to it. I’d love to read your responses!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

Grand Opening: A Novella is Available in Paperback!

Eden paperbacktemplate2Now also available in paperback is Grand Opening: A Novella (The Boutique Series #1)! Yay! Grand Opening, a romantic suspense story, is the first book of The Boutique Series which features the life of Eden Harper, owner and operator of Richmond’s hottest couture boutique, Josi’s Boutique, her family, her business, and her love – Nelson Donnelly, son of one of Classic Hollywood’s first black stars.

Amazon 5-star review for Grand Opening: A Novella (The Boutique Series #1): “A beautifully written novella of believable characters in high stakes living. Ms. Rice nailed the drama of disappointment, hurt and its aftermath.”

So, you now have two options: e-book and paperback! Can’t decide which? Well… you can do as I do – See you have your e-book on hand, by way of your tablet or smartphone, in case you happen (gasp!) to leave the paperback at home or are in place where you simply can’t pull out a paperback… you get my point, right? 😀 Believe me – it works!

Find out more about Grand Opening: A Novella and place your order here!

 

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!

 

Thank you, Toni Morrison

tm booksAs I work on the rewrite and edits of my novel, I’ve held on to the spirit of Toni Morrison’s words: “If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” They’ve been ringing heavier in my mind for the past couple of days, since her passing, to keep going. It’s still a shock to know she’s no longer in this world with us, to feel such a void, but I thank God her stories AND essays carry on for us to continue learning from.

I remember in an interview (I believe it was on 60 Minutes) not long after Beloved was published, where she mentioned how she had to get up and take a walk outside to separate herself from the story as she wrote it. It was that difficult for her to write, but it was a story that had to be written and she knew it and nothing would stop it. Knowing the pain of writing it made me wonder if I wanted to even read it – but I sure did. It’s long been that process of hers that’s stayed with me inbeloved my own writing as I visualize the pain and ugliness along with the beauty my characters live through. It’s what writing is about… through her novels, essays, and non-fiction, she taught many of us about that. I remain grateful for her and for her sharing her gift of language. I will always cherish the way she uplifted the voice of the black family in literature and reminding me of my responsibility as an author to do just the same. It’s the voice I grew up with, it’s the voice I have, it’s the voice I too have to share.

“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” – Toni Morrison

It’s been a major challenge for some unknown reason to work on my story lately. However, this particular story has to be told. I do want to read it and I so want others to read it and learn from it; therefore, as Ms. Morrison pointed out – I have to write it. So, from the words of the Queen, onward I go with it.

Do you have any Toni Morrison books among your favorite books? Which are they? Please share in the comments.

July was a Great (and Rare) Month of Reading

I don’t know how in the world I managed it this month, but I got four books in! Four readingbwwhole books! As a bibliophile, avid reader, one with whom a book is always on her person, it’s a big deal considering I’ve been in a nasty reading drought. I haven’t had nor, honestly, made the time in quite a while for such an adventure and I realize how much I’ve missed and have sorely needed. I used to pore through books like this on a regular basis. During grad school, my personal TBR list had to be put aside; generally over the years with work in my other life and life (mothering and wifeing – if that’s a word :/ ) one book a month or maybe two was the norm; and when writing, one or a half of one if I could get through was happening. This month, I have to thank Terry McMillan for getting my ball rolling again.

My Goodreads Reading Challenge bar had been set pretty low this year – as I have for the past few years because of work, writing, and life, and this time it didn’t look like I was going to even make it to those 10 books. Gasp. My best year was one when I worked in the library several years ago and got through 50. I miss those days. I mean, it was a part of my job!

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

When Dr. Georgia Young learned about the passing of a former college boyfriend, she realized she didn’t know if he’d known how much she had loved him. That moment set her on a journey to find her ex-husbands and lovers to find out more about their relationships and what made them stop working. With her intentions and the love of her close-knit family and friends during the process she learns more about herself. Recommended read.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This one’s a whole lot deeper than you may think. Highly recommended. Here’s my full review.

 

 

 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Let me just say, about a week later, I’m still savoring this book. Told (written) in the form of a documentary about a top rock band of the 1970s that broke up right at the end of their first tour, which was a major success by the way. Everyone involved from the band members, journalists covering them, their biography writers, family members, etc, talk about the band and the breakup for the first time. As a classic rock fan, I loved it. As a biography fan, I loved it. I loved it… highly recommended.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Can you believe that it’s been over twenty years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone if you’re in the UK) came out, introducing us to this amazing group of kids, namely Harry, Ron, and Hermione?! When I got Book #1 for my son years ago, I read the first chapter, was captivated, and had intended to return to it soon. But that didn’t happen. So just a few years ago, I finally got to it and finished it. Finally… and enjoyed every moment and even got myself a Hermione Granger quote shirt! Sometimes one could forget they were kids – just kids! Not yet teenagers and all they went through. Then – again, finally – I made it to the sequel and pored through it in just a few days. Just as the first, it’s a story of heart. As my best friend pointed out with a heavy sigh, I might add – we’ll never get to Potterworld at my rate (!), so I’m on to the third. In fact, I’ve never seen the movies because I knew I was going to read them first. I may or may not watch Chamber of Secrets though. There are some parts that I really don’t want to see and prefer to keep it in my imagination. I’ll continue to think on that though…

Have you read any of the Harry Potter series? Have you read any of the books I read this month? Please share your thoughts. Also, any suggestions for my TBR? I’m always open to suggestions for that!

Since I have to concentrate on my WIP for the upcoming #PitchWars and push back the new story that’s been screaming in my ear to be written, my TBR is set to collect a little dust once again. It won’t stop me however, from picking up the books today that I’ve got on hold at the library though. Of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of them.

For immediate publishing updates, please stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. My thanks to you is a FREE story – Without Your Goodbye!