Tuesday, February 24, 2015

War Angel - Chapter 25 "Flesh"

While I work on finishing up "War Angel III: Catalina," here's another sample chapter from the very first "War Angel" novel. Enjoy! 

CHAPTER 25
Flesh


C
armen stood naked in the bathroom as the water from the hot shower still dripped from her wet skin. As age and time had cruelly crept up on her, she spent fewer and fewer moments looking at her own body. In her youth, she had loved mirrors but now, they all seemed to mock her with the same mean joke. Even her husband’s interest in her sexually died long before he had. The deep wounds of his disinterest were still raw and she wondered if she would ever be rid of the sting of them. As she stood in front of the full-length mirror, the normal ebb and flow of time seemed to stop, trapping her like an insect in amber. Her reflection was a stranger staring back at her. People always saw themselves as they had been in their prime until something like the unapologetic truth of a photo bluntly reminded them that they were well beyond those days.
As a fashionably sensible woman, she took pride in knowing how the right clothing concealed the imperfections that were the unwanted gifts of age and years gone by. Stripped out of carefully-cut garments, naked as the day she was born, only reality looked back at her with cold, hard, stare. Carmen slowly studied each part of her that had changed. It was a wicked tease that enough physical remnants of her youthful frame remained to remind her of how she had been before the passing of a few decades tainted her beauty. She touched herself and found that her skin wasn’t as tight as it used to be. Her curves were still impressive but she wasn’t as firm in certain places anymore. She wondered if losing her looks completely wouldn’t have been less cruel. Seeing her daughter earlier had also served as a painful reminder of what she had been and was not anymore. Looking at Jahaira was like looking at a version of herself from the past which didn’t help her self-esteem at all. Nothing lasts forever, she thought, on the brink of tears. Even the pigment of the bright, rainbowcolored butterfly tattoo above her bellybutton had faded, just as she had. She remembered how Caesar used to kiss its gossamer wings.
The doorbell snapped her back to the present and thoughts of the past faded like the details of a dream that escaped you just after waking up. Carmen quickly grabbed the first towel she touched and hurried downstairs to answer the door.
***

“So, you understand what you’re supposed to do?” Carmen asked Lenox who was still determined to stand in the doorway of her bedroom despite her attempts to get him to step inside and shut the door behind him.
“Yes, it’s weird but I got it,” he said, annoyed that she had answered the door in nothing but a skimpy bath towel and then insisted that he follow her upstairs.
He kept his arms folded and his eyes on the floor while she searched her dresser drawer for underwear. When she finally found a bra and panty set that she liked, she held them up triumphantly before putting them down neatly on her bed.
“Did you see the news about the district attorney’s daughter?” she asked.
“Yeah, I did,” he answered, remembering the tears he had shed that morning for the girl that had taken her own life because he knew that he was partially responsible.
“I’m sorry about the girl. Hector wasn’t supposed to kill the young man. If he hadn’t, she wouldn’t have done what she did,” said Carmen.
“You mean to say, a young girl wouldn’t have killed herself,” he stated, wanting to hear her repeat it so that maybe she might see the consequences of what she had set in motion.
“Yes, the poor thing would still be alive,” she said. “Now, come inside and shut the door before I catch a cold from the draft.”
Lenox didn’t budge. He felt that whatever discussion she wanted to have could have taken place downstairs, somewhere more appropriate. When Carmen saw that he wasn’t going to willingly do what she asked, she walked over to him, pulled him inside the bedroom and shut the door herself. As Carmen walked away from the door she had just locked, she let the tiny towel that had been barely covering her naked body fall to the floor on her way back to the bed. Behind her, she heard Lenox gasp in shock.
“Oh please,” she giggled. “I don’t have anything that you haven’t seen before.”
“What are you doing?” he asked as she turned around boldly to face him, fully nude and unashamed.
Lenox’s conscience forced him to quickly look away which made Carmen laugh out loud.
“I didn’t figure you for the shy type,” she said.
Slowly, Lenox raised his eyes to look at her. She stood with her hands on her hips as if she was modeling for him. Her husband hadn’t shown much interest in her for a very long time so she couldn’t help but become excited with a different man’s eyes on her. An odd, perverse, curiosity kept Lenox from looking away. He wasn’t aroused but to his own surprise, he wasn’t disgusted either. She was shaped just like her daughter except for the tell-tale signs of age. The sudden shock of seeing her naked had hypnotized him momentarily. Then, the sickening realization that his eyes were glued to Jahaira’s mother hit him.
“I shouldn’t be here. You already gave me the information for what I have to do next. I should go,” he said.
“You sure?” she asked, squeezing her own nipple with one hands while slipping her other hand between her legs.
She was shaved, smooth and slick with wet anticipation. She licked the fingers that had just been between her thighs and started to walk towards him.
“I’m leaving,” Lenox said, turning away before she got any closer to him.
By the time he put his hand on the doorknob, Carmen was right behind him with her D-cup breasts pressed hard against his back.
“I need you to do something for me,” she whispered in his ear as she firmly gripped both of his shoulders.
“I love Jahaira. I’m in love with your daughter,” he answered before she could even ask her question.
It was easy enough for him to guess what she wanted and he had no intentions of obliging her. She turned him around to face her. They stared at each other and somewhere hidden underneath the burning lust in her eyes, he saw powerful, smoldering anger as well.
“Are you saying that if you didn’t love her that you would do this? I’m not asking you to love me,” Carmen said as she got down on her knees in front of him. “I’m asking you to fuck me,” she told him, ravenously reaching for the buckle on his belt before he slapped her hands away.
“Why the fuck are you doing this?” he yelled, looking down into her face.
Whatever immoral curiosity that caused his brief fascination suddenly left him, only to be replaced by pity and disgust. She read the look on his face and her anger turned to hatred. Strangely enough, that hate wasn’t directed at Lenox, the man who was refusing her with scorn. She hated her daughter for having something that she didn’t; something she had lost a very long time ago.
“I’m doing this because I want to…because I can!” she yelled.
“I can’t and I won’t,” he answered before he turned to leave again. “I’ve done things against my will that have bound me to you…made me your prisoner. I accept that. I’ll do your dirty work because I have to but, I won’t do this.”
Carmen didn’t bother to argue. She knew that the right, properly placed threats would have eventually leveraged him to do as she asked but she still held on to some measure of pride.
“Make sure you take care of the job I gave you. Come and see me when it’s done,” she said as she got up from her knees.
He opened the door and was about to leave but before he did, he was compelled to say something to her that had been on his mind for weeks.
“These people come to you with their problems and beg you to solve them. It makes you feel important…powerful…doesn’t it? But you’re not God,” he told her.
“No, I’m not…but I get the job done don’t I?”
“By using me,” he answered.
“Of course. You’re my avenging angel. Sometimes you’re my angel of death too.”
“For now. Nothing lasts forever. I’ll let myself out,” said Lenox as he walked out of the room.
Once she was alone, Carmen covered her private parts with her hands, suddenly ashamed.

***

“So, Mr. Faithful didn’t bite huh?” asked Hector from Carmen’s bedroom doorway as he watched her slip into her panties.
“Staring through peepholes again? Somebody’s gonna black your eye for that one of these days. And for your information, Mr. Faithful liked what he saw. He’s probably on his way home to screw my daughter instead,” Carmen answered.
“If you say so. I can see how mad you are that he didn’t take what you were offering and like they say…Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned…nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned,” said Hector as poetically as she had ever heard him speak.
“Well, that’s a fancy way to say it. I’ve never heard that quote phrased like that,” she said.
“That’s because it’s always misquoted. People prefer to paraphrase it. It’s easier to remember it the other way. The original quote is from Williams Congreve, an English playwright born in the sixteen hundreds,” Hector explained.
“Wow. You’re just a wealth of knowledge…and here I was, for all these years, mistaking you for an uneducated, ignorant, brute,” she said, walking over and hugging him.
“I am a brute,” he answered. “Your husband taught me that quote.”
“I’m even more shocked. I never knew Caesar was so well-read,” she said before she kissed him.
“He wasn’t. He believed that he had private conversations with the man’s ghost,” Hector told her.
“Knowing my husband and his gifts, I’m sure he did,” she said as she put her hands down his pants.
She licked his neck and bit him playfully as he grabbed her ass.
“I see the way you flirt with him,” he whispered in her ear, referring to Lenox.

“I lost a lot of things for the sake of the love I had for my husband. Now he’s gone. I guess all that’s left to me is envy and lust for things I shouldn’t have,” she answered.

Copyright © 2013 Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chapter 19 from "Blood & Vengeance" - "WARM SAKI"

Hey guys. Thanks for following the link and checking out the blog. As a special treat today, I've decided to share an entire chapter from "Blood & Vengeance," my collaboration with Keith Gaston. Enjoy. As always, don't be afraid to leave comments and feel free to click the links to purchase a copy. 



Sassy took the cash out of the safe in Will’s hotel room and packed it into the empty black suitcase he had left under the bed. Tears fell on the bundles of bills as she thought about what had probably been their last meeting, just a few hours before.
***
For a split second, when Sassy walked through the front door of the Sushi restaurant, Will seriously considered abandoning the suicidal path he was on. For the majority of the time they had spent together, she had either been naked as the day she was born or barely dressed in lingerie so, to see her dolled up was breathtakingly strange for him because of how amazing she looked in her dress. The tattoos that showed because of the parts of her body that were exposed made her look exotic and stunning. If he didn’t know better, he could have mistaken her for a celebrity, possibly a rock star or even an actress. As he took another sip of the top shelf, expensive Saki he had been gulping down like an uncivilized savage, he couldn’t help but smile as he watched her crane her slender neck to search for him in the dimly lit section where he told her he would be sitting. The way the tight, brown dress hugged her slim but curvy frame turned heads as she walked over to his table, gracefully and very runway model-esque. For a split second he forgot what she did for a living and wondered what she might have been like if the uglier side of life hadn’t sunk its filthy fangs into her.
“You look gorgeous tonight,” he told her as she sat down which made her pause and look at him strangely.
“How long have you been seeing me?” Sassy asked.
“I don’t know. Four years, maybe five,” he slurred, tipsy from drinking too much Saki.
“And how many times have we fucked?” she asked, causing an elderly woman celebrating her anniversary with her husband at the table adjacent to theirs cringe when she accidentally overheard Sassy’s question.
“Shh, keep it down,” Will laughed as he saw the woman’s face flush bright red. “I don’t know. Too many times to count I suppose. Why?”
“You’ve never once told me that I’m pretty. Not ever until just now,” she answered with a deep sadness in her eyes and a sense of impending doom in her heart.
“I’m sorry. I probably should have a long time ago. Why are you crying?” he asked as he watched her first tear fall. He reached out and touched her hand to try to stop the steady stream that followed before they were turned black by her mascara.
“Why does it feel like you’re telling me goodbye without actually saying the words?”
“If I said that I wasn’t going anywhere, would that stop you from crying?”
“No, because it would be a lie. I’ve shared my bed with you enough to know you better than you think I do. You’re here right now but I can see in your eyes that you’re already gone. I’m crying because even if you meant it when you said you’d stay, I’d still want you to go.”
“Why?”
“It’s not safe for you here anymore,” Sassy warned him.
“What’re you talkin’ about?” he asked her. “Why do you sound so afraid all of a sudden?”
“Because this Fed that came around asking for you scares me. I’ve known enough men in my life to recognize the dangerous ones.”
“I’m dangerous too,” Will reminded her.
“You should run while you still can. I came to beg you to run.”
“I won’t,” he answered.
“You have to! This Royce and his partner aren’t gonna stop hunting you until they catch or kill you.”
“They won’t catch me until after I do what I have to do,” he answered. “After that, I don’t care what happens to me.”
“What’s so important that you’d stay here and die?”
“Sig’s dead.”
“What? How?” she asked in shock and horror.
“That man on your block that got his throat slashed open in his car...that was Sig.”
“Oh my God,” Sassy answered, feeling the pain for Will and all he had lost.
Will poured himself another small cup of warm Saki, looked at it for a moment then brought it to his lips and gulped it down. He slumped a little lower in his chair right after his cup was empty.
“Sig’s dead because I took him away from pouring concrete and fixing sidewalks, earning an honest living with his father. He got murdered because I decided to set him free too late, after I made him help me to do what I was too afraid to do alone,” he told her.
In all of the intimate moments Sassy spent with him, she had never seen Will so unsettled and unstable. He had always been calm and almost emotionless except for the occasional, random act of kindness he sometimes extended towards her that hinted warmth did exist somewhere deep inside his cold exterior. Curiosity and an irrational desire to find that fire had caused her to accidentally grow to love him. She had never been able to bring much emotion out of him with her words, her touch or her body, but now, his own pain made it plain to see his humanity as he grieved like a man on the edge of losing his soul or sanity.
The fact he was sitting across from her and pouring out his feelings faster than he was pouring his liquor was confirmation that, he was there physically, but mentally he was already gone. It was like listening to him read out his own last will and testament. Her heart crumbled like a sand castle at high tide when she realized that she could do nothing to bring him back. All she could do was comfort him as best she could and after that, she would have to let him go. She got up and moved her chair next to his to be closer to him.
“I’ve never seen you like this,” she said as she gently took the bottle out of his hand before he poured himself another cupful.
He turned his head to look at her and for the first time, Sassy felt as if he really saw her. Then he turned his eyes to stare at his own hands as if they didn’t belong on the ends of his wrists.
“I told my father that I didn’t trust it. The amount of money they were willing to pay for him to help them smuggle in drugs just didn’t make any sense. I was there for the sit down when Azul made my father the offer and even he seemed nervous and unsure about his new business partners that no one else on the streets had ever heard of. My father did what he was supposed to but once he got their packages through, they killed him and my brother. Then they went to our house and murdered my mother and my little sister. I’m only alive because I wasn’t home. I was with you that night,” he explained.
“I’m so sorry,” she said and cried the tears that he refused to shed himself.
“They sent a man to hunt me down after I killed Azul. That man slit Sig’s throat and would have cut mine too if I didn’t get lucky. I tortured him to find out who was behind all of this and why they killed everyone I cared about. They weren’t smuggling drugs. It was something much worse and I need you to get out of the city, as far away as you can get. The men that hired my father were terrorists and they plan to kill a lot of innocent people.”
“You have to run. This is bigger than you. You’re going to get yourself killed Will,” she warned him. “This man that’s after you now is a federal agent. This is the kind of thing that they handle. Call him and tell him what you know so he can stop it from happening,” she begged Will as she handed him the card Royce had given her.
He stared at it for a moment before he spoke again. “Sassy, I’m tired and I’m only living for one thing.” His eyes turned downwards.
“Live for me. Come with me,” she pleaded.
“I can’t. Even if I lived to be eighty years old, I couldn’t live a single happy day ever again if I ran from the men that I have to kill. I have to finish it or die trying. Try to understand,” he asked as he reached across, took her hand and gently squeezed it.
“I do,” she lied, wishing with her entire being that he would find it in his heart to care enough about her to come away with her.
“I’m sorry that I led trouble to your door. If this Fed wasn’t watching you, I would have liked to spend at least one more night with you.”
Sassy didn’t answer. Instead, she poured herself a cup of Saki and raised it to toast him. She wanted love from him and in his own way, what he had just told her, was as close as she would get from him, so she swallowed the warm liquor and accepted it. Then she poured him a cup and another for herself. They toasted each other and drank together in silence until the bottle was finished.
“Is there anything sentimental that you need back at your place?” Will asked after he ordered a third bottle from their waiter.
“Not really. I’d burn that damn apartment down if I had somewhere else to live,” Sassy answered. She was very conscious of how many dirty deeds her walls and mattress had witnessed. To think about all of it up in flames gave her so much joy that she suddenly laughed out loud.
***
Well aware of the risk, Sassy had indeed gone back for just one thing from her place. Once the safe was empty and she had neatly packed up all of the money, she took one of Will’s T-shirts out of her handbag. He had left it behind by mistake two summers ago and she had kept it but never washed it. She held it to her face, inhaled deeply and then placed it neatly on top of the cash before she zipped the suitcase shut.
Out of the room, down the hallway, into the elevator, down the lobby and finally out to the taxi that was waiting to take her to the airport, she kept thinking that she should be happy. Almost all of the women employed in her profession dreamed of being able to escape it. Here she was with a suitcase of full of enough money to run away from it forever with a bittersweet taste in her mouth because she would have traded it for the life of her savior, a man that didn’t even love her back. The driver helped load her luggage into the trunk and then opened the door for her to get into the backseat. She sat down in the musty vehicle and the door closed before she noticed another man sitting up front with the driver. They were having a heated discussion with someone through the speaker on a cell-phone in a language she didn’t understand.
A bad feeling made goose bumps raise up on her skin.

Copyright © 2014 Keith Gaston & Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chapter 1 of "Blood & Vengeance"

Good afternoon folks. I posted a paragraph from this chapter earlier today all over social media and got a terrific response so I thought to myself, "Why not share the entire chapter?" Here's my way of saying thanks for your showing love and here's a bit more if you weren't fully convinced to read "Blood & Vengeance" in its entirety.


1
SWEET SASSY´S SUITE


The tiny bedroom reeked of marijuana mixed with the faint odor of the perfumes she sprayed and the incense she burned to try to mask the scent. She smoked weed way more than she ate which worked out perfectly in her profession. It was almost a job requirement that she protect her slender waistline at all times but she also needed to medicate herself to keep her mind right, just to survive her shifts with her sanity intact. Sassy needed the stranger’s faces and male parts that she was forced to get familiar with to become a blur. That way, she could wash away the pain and stains of their grimy touch when she showered. Otherwise, she feared that they would leave the type of permanent scars that might not show on the surface but would always mark her, just underneath her skin, tainting her soul.
     At the moment, she remained fairly sober because she didn’t mind the company of the guest that currently laid his head on her bed. It was rare that she cared for any of her clients but Will Sampson was special. Everyone on the street outside must have heard her moaning, despite the fact that he wasn’t even close to being the most skilled lover that she had been with. He made love to her clumsily like a schoolboy who was just getting his beak wet. All the same, everything that she felt inside her body while she was with him was so real that her heart ached sometimes. She had seen all shapes, ages, races and sizes of men but she sexually connected with him differently than she had with anyone else. That was probably because, if her suspicions were correct, she had been his first. It turned her on and excited her to know that she had been the first woman he had ever been inside. There was also something deeper about him, something that she couldn’t quite explain with words but whatever it was, she had never felt it in any other man. She had even invited him back to her apartment on a few occasions but he seemed to prefer spending time with her there in the room she rented above the Platinum lady Gentlemen’s Club, probably so he had no chance of forgetting what it was that she did for a living.
     The evening air was stagnant and not much breeze blew through the open window. The noisy ceiling fan really didn’t do much about the sweltering heat as it spun weakly overhead and squeaked like a distressed mouse caught on a sticky, glue trap. Her skin shined and glistened with fresh perspiration but she didn’t mind the way it made her glow. She was sure that her favorite lover liked it too.
     Will’s nine-millimeter handgun sat in its holster, slung over the metal folding chair in the corner. In the dark, she couldn’t see his eyes clearly but she could sense him straining in the poor light to look at it. He was always uptight, wound up and paranoid, no matter how intense or satisfying the sex was.  Whenever that gun wasn’t firmly in his hand or safely secured near his left armpit, a few inches from his heart, he would stare it at almost as if he expected it to grow wings and fly away.
     “Who do you love, me or her?” Sassy asked, referring to the gun he kept staring at.
     “Her,” Will answered dryly.
     “All this ass, these luscious, firm, perky tits and this pretty face but you love that and not me?”
     “She’ll save my life...you’ll get me killed. One day, I’ll probably have to use her to save me from you,” he answered.
     “I would never hurt you. Have you ever considered that maybe I love you?” she asked, realizing how ridiculous it was that she felt like the mistress, second place to a cold, black, gun.
     “I doubt that.”
     “Why?”
     “You don’t love men. You don’t love me. You don’t even love yourself. You only love money...because you believe it can save you from everything you hate.”
     “That’s a cruel thing to say.”
     “Not cruel...honest,” he answered coldly.
     “Suppose I told you that I slept with three other men today?”
     “Then that’s what you did. You don’t belong to anyone, especially not me.”
     He climbed out of bed and walked over to the folding chair to get dressed in the dark. He didn’t like when she started to get emotional and sentimental with him. Those moments seriously threatened to make him forget what she was and he knew that that was dangerous, for his life and his heart. Sassy leaned over and flicked the black switch on the lamp on the nightstand. The room was instantly filled with a tacky, rouge glow because of the thin red scarf she had thrown over the shade to soften the light.
     “Why’d you turn the lights on?” he asked.
     “I like looking at you,” she answered, lustfully studying his scars and tattoos.
     Will looked back over his shoulder as she lay naked in the bed and wished that he had left the lights on during their high-spirited sexual romp. She really was something to behold. If her skin wasn’t marred with tacky, poorly drawn tattoos, she would have looked almost like a woman straight out of a painting, graceful, elegant and flawless. All the same, her imperfections made her desirable in a way that inspired the dirtiest thoughts in most men. He looked away from her before he was tempted to turn his short stay into an all-nighter. He had things to do and he had put them off for long enough. He really shouldn’t have stayed for as long as he had but he believed that, if he might lose his life that night, he wanted to die with the recent, sexually soothing memories of a woman’s thighs fresh on his mind. He even started to think that Sassy might be a good luck charm because, ever since he had been kissing her, he hadn’t been kissed by death just yet.
     “You really don’t care about me do you?” she asked, pouting with her head on her white satin pillowcase that covered her fluffy pillow. She saved her best linens for his visits.
     “I do.”
    “You have a funny way of showing it,” she said, sounding as cliché as a line straight out of a romantic comedy.
     “How am I supposed to show it?”
     “I don’t know,” she answered then paused. “You never say sweet things or do anything nice for me.”
     Fully dressed with his gun securely strapped in place, he walked over to the bed and sat down next to her. He looked into her sad, brown eyes and carefully weighed what he would say next.
     “You work in a house of lies. Thirsty men come here and spend money to feel important and the women pretend to enjoy dancing for their howling amusement, to boost these petty, unimportant men’s egos so they can stomach going home to face their small, miserable lives with their wives. Men come here to fool themselves into believing that they can afford the part of you that their hands can never touch. You and I both know that you will never give that to any of them. That game plays out over and over again, every night, in all of these little back rooms. This...what me and you are doing right now...is the only real truth.”
     “You’re too complicated.”
     “There’s nothing complicated about me. I’m just speaking the truth. The truth is always simple, basic and easy. Fantasies and lies get complicated because it’s hard to keep them believable.”
     He leaned close to her face and, in a rare display of tender affection, pressed his lips to her forehead. Sassy smiled and got butterflies in her tummy like a school girl anticipating her first kiss. Despite what she did to earn money, she still desperately wanted to be loved for more than just being a master at making men cum. She might have been a prostitute but she was also a human being and a woman with feelings. That delicate moment didn’t last long and she felt foolish for thinking it would.
     “Doesn’t that mean it’s time for you to go?” she asked as his phone began to ring in his pocket.
     “In a few more minutes. I want to spend a little more time with you,” he answered.
     For the next ten minutes, he ran his fingers along the smooth curves of her face and played in her hair as if he believed that he might be looking at her for the last time. Then, almost as if he had been coldly calculating the time that had passed with clocklike precision, he abruptly got up from her bed.
      "Would you care if I got hurt or killed?” she asked.
    “I would shed tears at your funeral,” he answered and Sassy couldn’t tell if he was being sincere or sarcastic.
     Will counted out a thousand dollars and tossed it on the pillow where his head had rested for the time he had spent with her. She reached across lazily to pick up the knot of money but didn’t bother to count it.
     “You left way too much,” she said as he walked to the door, certain that, as usual, he had overpaid for his stay in her land of milk and honey.
     “I didn’t. I left exactly what I owe you. The extra is for the information you got for me,” he answered and walked out of her room.

Copyright © 2014 Keith Gaston & Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Writing Jahaira by Keith Kareem Williams

Welcome to another installment of my blog series where I give readers a deeper insight into the process. Last time, I explained how I created Lenox, one of the main protagonists in my "War Angel" novels. This time, I've chosen to share where the inspiration for Jahaira came from. Enjoy, and feel free to leave comments. (Some of you guys are too shy LOL)

Many of the female characters that I’ve written into my stories are based on women that I’ve known in real life. I usually find the inspiration for their personality traits based on conversations I’ve had, friendships I’ve had or sometimes, (Not nearly as often as I am accused of but…) intimate encounters. Most of the time, I mix and match what I know of these women to create fictional females on the pages that feel real because they are in fact, based and rooted in reality. That was the case, even in a book like “Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls” which was technically fiction but read like a memoir. Any of the women that appeared on those pages were created by patching together multiple personalities of women that I’ve known.
That is how Jahaira is unique. I put her on the pages of “War Angel” and made her almost an exact mirror image of a woman that I love. She is herself and the sum of all of her parts were inspired by one person. All creative folks have people, places or things that inspire them. They come to us in many different forms but, we ALL have our muses. (Personally, I have a few and some influence me more than others.) I often pay homage to my muses by immortalizing them in ink on the pages of these novels that I pen. I’m usually very crafty about how I do this and most of the time, it remains somewhat of a secret between us after they read it. I’ve also had people mistakenly think characters were based on them as well. (FYI: If you have to ask me, or think TOO hard about it, you’re probably mistaken.) I view this as the highest form of tribute because the books will last long after we’re gone from this world. It’s actually the act of building a monument made of words in someone’s honor.

My “War Angel” novels are works of fiction and Jahaira finds herself in fictional, sensationalized situations but, the core of the character is very much real. Her overall nature, her vibe and her soul are the reason why I grew to love the woman that inspired her. I often joke that my life is a movie when I find myself in insane predicaments but, there is a poetic side of it that resembles the best kind of literature. There are aspects that are so incredible that it would take masterful skill on my part to put it on paper. I do the best that I can to get to that level. Jahaira’s fire, her fight, her passion and conviction all come from a very real place that exists in a very real person. The same can be said in reference to her loyalty and love. What she and Lenox share is the real deal, the old kind of love that people don’t believe exists anymore. I didn’t want to write about the type of love that most people settle for which is a sad, tragic thing to me because I know that, as much as they smile through it, it’s not enough. I wanted readers to get lost in the love that those two characters shared against all odds and to find joy in the fact that, in spite of everything that they both endured, they remained true to each other.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Creating Lenox

Hey guys. As I work towards finishing up my "War Angel" trilogy, I'd like to also start sharing part of my creative process with you. Feel free to post any additional questions that you may have in the comment fields below.


WarAngel” was a novel that originally came to me in the form of a vivid dream. I woke up one morning with the beginning, middle and end of the story crystal clear in my mind’s eye, freshly brewed in my subconscious imagination. Back then, (I can’t recall what year exactly) I was much younger and had much more faith in my memory than I do now so, I foolishly procrastinated on writing anything down on paper. Then, I completely forgot about it of course. Fortunately, it came back to me years later as if I had just dreamed it the night before. Since then, I’ve started to keep a black book of ideas to avoid repeating that mistake. At last count, I had 75 plots/storylines in various stages of development written in it and by the end of today, it’ll probably be up to 77. That book is as out of control as an avid reader’s “to-be-read” pile but I’m grateful that I definitely never run out of fresh ideas. That should also please my readers.

After I remembered the story that had sat in the back of my brain for so long, forgotten and collecting dust, I had originally named it “Monsters, Mirrors & Smoke.” I even leaked a few chapters online and received excited, enthusiastic feedback from readers. I eventually changed the title because there were a few books that had titles that were similar. My readers know that originality is such a sacred and important thing to me that I treat it almost like my religion. I also felt that the original title implied “horror” which the book isn’t…not exactly.
A few readers have asked me where the name “Lenox” came from. Well, “Lenox Road” was the name of a street I used to live on in Brooklyn. In fact, before I lived exactly on that street, I lived near it. I grew up in an apartment building on Willmohr Street and Lenox Road was nearby that address. I also lived in an apartment on East 91st Street and Lenox Road was the cross street so the name is sort of a homage to where I’m from. I’ve also never seen that name used in any other novels so it was perfect. (I told you how serious I am about originality.)
When I began to write “War Angel,” it was my goal to create a different type of male protagonist than the ones I had written in previous stories, or even the ones I had read about in other books. I wanted to make him more complex and complicated than any of the others. (With the exception of the unnamed protagonist I wrote about in “Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls,” I think my readers would agree that I’ve accomplished that.) I wanted to avoid writing the prototypical hero. Early on in the first book, I established how devoted to his woman he truly is but, I also didn’t want the book to be riddled with a sense of cliché romance. Throughout the books, his love for Jahaira and his fear of losing her is what sets him on the bloody road that he travels when he is blackmailed by her mother, Carmen. The moral dilemmas he faces tend to be quite extreme as he is thrust into situations where he must become an instrument of vengeance or exact justice for people who will not claim either for themselves. I wanted him to be tormented by unfortunate things from his past while trying to hold back the oceans of trouble that threatened to drown him. In each book of the trilogy, I also wanted to show the evolution of the character. Early on, he was clumsy and not prepared for the things he was forced to do but as the books continue, he becomes more competent and dangerous, a thing that he is not proud of but actually deeply regrets. He gets to a point where he takes certain violent actions out of necessity, not macho bravado or pleasure.
Another aspect of the Lenox’s growth that was very important to me was his transition from lover, to husband, to father. In the first book I wanted to show how free-spirited and confident he was when he was just Jahaira’s boyfriend but also, how uncertain he became once he found out that he was going to be a dad. In the first book, he was violently confronted by Jahaira’s over-protective father, Caesar. In the final book of the trilogy (I’m trying my BEST not to write any spoilers in this) Lenox is immersed in the role of being protective father himself but, he handles it very differently than Jahaira’s father did for reasons that you’ll just have to wait to read about. Also, one of the biggest themes in my saga is undying love, despite all of the gore, action and violence. By the time people read the last page of “War Angel III: Catalina,” I want Lenox to be one of those classic characters that remain in a reader’s heart, like an old friend. I want readers to love him, be afraid of him, even be angry with him at times but also want them to intimately understand him. His flaws and imperfections make him one of my favorites so far. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Writer Wednesday featuring Iris Bolling

Happy Wednesday folks. Once again, it's time to showcase another talented author. This week, I'll be introducing you to Iris Bolling. I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing lady in person at a reader's retreat in Atlanta last October. We had a great conversation and lost track of time, which often happens when you get two authors who are passionate about their craft in the same vicinity. Get to know her and support her work. Enjoy!

Author Iris Bolling
Iris Bolling was born in Richmond, Virginia, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. Her passions are reading, writing, sports and politics.
The inception of Iris Bollings writing career began with combining her passions for education, politics, and romance into her first novel, Once Youve Touched the Heart.  This self-published work, released in March of 2008, was the first of the five additional books to complete the Heart Series.  The popular Heart Series has captivated the eyes and hearts of Bollings readers and includes: Once Youve Touched the Heart, The Heart of Him, Look Into My Heart, A Heart Divided,  A Lost Heart, and last but not least The Heart.
In May of 2011, Iris introduced a new cast of characters in her novel Night of Seduction/ Heavens Gate. Its characters continuing to blossom in the sequel, The Pendleton Rule.  Iris recently began a new Series, Gems & Gents, with the introduction novel, Teach Me, The Book of Joshua I - Trust and The Book of Joshua II - Believe. The beginning of her third series, The Brooks Family Values, will be introduced in her next novel Sinergy, scheduled to be released in October 2014.
Iris stepped into a new venture geared towards bringing the characters of her books to the television screen. In 2014 she produced, The Heart, a television series based on her popular novels from The Heart Series. Adding more to her resume, Iris is now doing quest speaking engagements to share her knowledge and experience with others.
Iris has gained the attention of her readers and the respect of her peers which is noted in her various awards, including four Emma awards.  She openly welcomes you into her world of writing and truly hopes that your mind is awakened, your thoughts are stimulated, and your desire to read about true love and romance is quenched. 
For more information please visit her website: www.irisbolling.net
Please enjoy the samples of Iris' latest release, "Sinergy."



EXCERPT #1 from Sinergy

Nicole walked to the back of the room where several round tables with chairs were strategically placed. As she strode toward the tables, there was a nervous fluttering in her stomach. Her hand went to her stomach; she rubbed it in a subconscious attempt to soothe her nerves. A small frown breached her forehead. She looked around wondering why she was nervous. When she glanced up, the answer appeared. On the balcony looking down at her, was a man with the deepest, brown eyes, and the most sensuous smile she had ever seen. All she could do at that moment was stare back and smile. The man’s eyes were magnetic. She couldn’t pull her eyes away, she was spellbound.
“Nikki, I’ve been looking all over for you. Why are you back here? Come up front with me.” Alicia grabbed her by the arm. Nicole turned to her friend as she dragged her off. When she looked back, the man was gone. She blinked. Maybe he was just a figment of her imagination. No one could be that fine. Yet he seemed so real.
Alicia was dressed in a skin tight red dress that screamed come get me. If Nicole did not know better, she would have sworn her friend was trying to pick up a man. As they reached the row of their seats, Nicole looked once more towards the balcony, wondering again if the man was a part of her imagination. Then she heard the annoying voice of the one and only Trish Hargrove.


EXCERPT #2 from Sinergy

“This is all you have on the Brooks’?” Isaac J. Singleton, of Singleton Enterprises, threw the folder across the conference table where four men were seated. “I gave each of you a target and this is all you bring me?”
“Mr. Singleton, you are asking for dirt on children of one of the most prominent families in the country. The oldest son is the leading criminal attorney on the East coast. His younger brother is the freaking advisor to the President of the United States. The youngest brother is in a partnership with Tyrone Pendleton. I dont have to remind you what happened when we tried the takeover the Pendleton Agency. The weakest link in the family is the daughter, Nicole, and to be honest, professionally she may be somewhat vulnerable, but that’s stretching it.”
“I pay you a lot of money to find vulnerabilities.”
“Yes, sir, and each time, with the exception of Pendleton, we have come through for you. This Brooks family is close knit. It will not be easy to penetrate any of their businesses.”
Isaac stood, looked out his twenty-sixth floor office window fuming. He built his empire for one purpose, to destroy the so-called “good name” of Avery Brooks. If he had to tear down every closet in Brooks’ estate to find what he needed, thats what he would do.

“Start with the daughter.” He turned back to the table. “Dont disappoint me. You will not like the consequences.”











Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chapter 7 from "War angel II: Where Angels Fear to Tread"

As I continue to work on "War Angel III: Catalina," I've decided to start sharing some chapters from the previous book, "War Angel II: Where Angels Fear to Tread." Enjoy and I hope you're ready for the final book and ALL that happens in its pages.


CHAPTER 7
Smoking & Drinking


W
ith his office door closed, after smoking five Newport 100’s and drinking half a bottle of cognac, Lenox realized that he was happy that he was going to be the daddy of a daughter but was still pissed off about the way he had found out. Leaving his own home had been the only way to avoid choking Olive and to subdue his urge to slap some sense into Jahaira. Because of them, he was drunk and slumped forward on the desk in his cigarette smoke-filled office. He flicked the flame of his lighter off and on, ashamed that he had broken his oath to give up nicotine. For seven months he had kept his promise to Jahaira and himself.
“So much for promises,” he mumbled as he lit another cancer stick and put it between his lips. The taste of it and the alcohol were not a good mix, especially on an empty stomach. He closed his eyes as he struggled with his nausea which is why he didn’t see when Emily slowly opened his office door and stepped inside.
“Hey Boss. What’re you doing here this late on a Saturday?” Emily coughed as her lungs were assaulted by the smoke that swirled around smoothly in the air.
“This is my office and I can be here whenever I damn well please,” he slurred.
“Sure, sure…of course,” Emily answered as she sat down in the chair in front of him, on the opposite side of his desk. “But, Saturday is usually family time for you. That’s why I asked.”
“Family time…ha!” he answered as he poured himself another drink. Once his shot glass was full and overflowed onto the desk, he banged the liquor bottle down on the mahogany which startled her just a little bit because she had never seen him so agitated.
“Got another glass?” she asked.
“Nope. I always drink alone,” he told her as he raised his glass to toast her, then brought it to his lips to take a burning sip.
Emily reached across the desk, grabbed the bottle of cognac and took a swig, straight to the head. She grimaced as it burned her throat and then put the bottle back down. She reached up into the tight bun that her hair was pulled up in, removed the hairpins and let her hair fall down to her shoulders.
“Don’t look at me like that. While you’ve been locked in your office, smoking like a chimney and drinking like a lush, I’ve had a rough day running your business Boss,” she said before she leaned across his desk again, this time to snatch the lit cigarette that was dangling from his lips. She put it to her mouth, took a long pull and inhaled deeply.
“I didn’t know you smoked,” he said, surprised as she pouted and blew smoke across the room at him like an old pro.
 “Smoked is right. Past tense. I used to. I quit. Haven’t had a cigarette since my senior year in High School,” she answered.
“What was that, three or four years ago?” he joked.
“Oh, are you tryin’ to flatter me Boss?” she chuckled. “No, it’s been a bit longer than that honey.”
“So what made you put one to those lips after all this time?” he asked, momentarily captivated by the wet look of her lip gloss.
“Maybe I figured that it’s awful sad for someone to have to smoke and drink alone so I decided to join you,” she answered, crossing her legs. She fixed her tight, short, grey skirt so the split down the side of it wouldn’t expose too much of her thighs. There was a tattoo of an intricate, colorful, vine of flowers that she was too bashful to let him see.
“That’s kind of you. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Now…do you want to tell me what’s eating you?” she asked.
“Nothing. I’m fine,” he answered and reached for the liquor with the intention of gulping down the last dregs left.
Before he could, Emily grabbed it and dropped the lit cigarette down the neck of the bottle. It landed in the liquid that was left with a weak hiss.
“Now you’re lying,” she told him.
“I can’t believe you did that,” he growled.
Emily ignored the appalled, angry expression on his face and continued to question him.
“For months, ever since you found out that you were going to be a dad, you’ve been bouncing around here more jolly than Kris Kringle on Christmas eve. All of a sudden I find you in here today, slumped over your desk, drunk and full of smoke. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Lenox slurred as he slid open the top drawer of his desk and took out a small bottle of clear rum like a magician would have pulled a rabbit out of a black hat.
“How’s Jahaira?” Emily asked kindly enough but he picked up om a bit of resentment in her tone and she didn’t quite sound sincere to his ears.
“She’s good,” he answered and chose not to go into details that she probably didn’t want to hear about anyway. Emily’s body language expressed how little she cared about his pregnant fiancée.
“Well, if nothing’s wrong, why are you here getting wasted instead of at home? You shouldn’t leave a pregnant woman in the house all by herself,” she scolded him.
“She’s not home alone,” he told her.
“What?” Emily asked, confused.
“I said, she’s not alone!” he raised his voice and answered.
“I heard you the first time!” she yelled back, annoyed. “So who’s at home with her?” she asked in a more civilized tone.
“A live-in nurse that we hired. I hate her.”
“You hate who? Your girlfriend or the nurse that YOU hired?” Emily asked, surprised.
“Right now? Both! No, I don’t really mean that. I hate Olive. That’s the nurse’s name by the way. Oh, and me and Jahaira are having a baby girl,” he rambled. Emily wasn’t sure what to ask him about next.
“Aren’t you happy that you’re going to have a beautiful baby girl?”
“Of course I am. I just didn’t want to know yet,” he answered.
“Why not?”
“I wanted to be surprised dammit! I told Jahaira that I didn’t want to know early…that I wanted to find out the day the baby was born and this little bitch made her paint the room pink…and now I know…and everything’s all fucked up…and I don’t feel like being home,” he rambled.
“Whoa…you really are drunk aren’t you?”
“I’m not…not yet anyway,” he answered as he unscrewed the cap on the small bottle of overproof rum.
Emily watched him take one, two and then three gulps before she stood up, straightened her shirt and skirt, reached all the way across the desk and took the bottle from him. She snatched the cap too before she sat back down daintily. She took a gulp herself and then screwed the cap back on.
“Is it really that serious?” she asked once the burning sensation in her chest had passed.
Lenox pondered her question and immediately felt like a fool. He wondered if he really was overreacting. Then, when he thought about how Olive was working her tiny little manicured claws into Jahaira, he didn’t feel silly at all. He got angry.
“It’s not even about that really. I’m a little disappointed but it’s not that serious. That’s not what’s pissin’ me off,” he told her.
“So what is it really then?”
“It’s that fuckin’ Olive. It’s like she’s tryin’ to take over my damn house!”
“Boss, why don’t you just fire her ass then?”
“Because Jahaira likes her,” he answered.
“But YOU don’t.”
“I don’t. I wish I could stab her in the neck with a pencil,” he pretended to joke but really meant it. “Ever since she moved in it’s like WE live with HER instead of the other way around. I’m startin’ to not like going home.”
“Does Jahaira know how you feel about this lady?”
“She knows that this little chick annoys me but for the most part, I try to keep the peace. Jahaira really doesn’t have any friends where we live now so it makes her happy to have someone to talk to when I’m not around. She’s been stressed out, bored and lonely for months and that can’t be good for the baby,” he explained.
“That’s true but your feelings are important too. Your woman shouldn’t allow some stranger to come in and make you uncomfortable in your own home. She should put that broad in her place and let her know that she’s just the help.”
“Jahaira’s too nice. She won’t.”
“The few times I’ve met your girlfriend she didn’t seem timid. Judging by the dirty looks she gave me, I figured she was pretty tough,” said Emily.
“When did she give you dirty looks?”
“Most recently?” Emily laughed. “The last time you brought her here I was opening up the office that day. She was sitting in your car and must have thought I couldn’t see her rolling her eyes at me through the tinted window. As a matter of fact, I was wearing this skirt,” she told him and ran her hand across the smooth material.
“I think I remember that day. When I got back in the car, she asked me what happened to the rest of your skirt. She doesn’t have a problem with you though.”
“Uhhmmhmm,” she mumbled sarcastically. “I would understand if she did.”
“And why is that?” he asked.
“Because I wouldn’t trust me around you either. She’s a smart woman who knows what she’s got,” Emily answered, straight-faced and serious.
He stared back at her blankly, fumbling inside his intoxicated mind for the right response that would not get him into any kind of unethical entanglements. He immediately regretted drinking as much as he had because, out of all the time she had worked for him, he had never been seriously tempted until that moment. He blamed all the shots of cognac he had tossed back and the rum for his moment of weakness. He told himself that his eyes lingered on her neckline and plunged down into her cleavage because he was drunk. Otherwise, he would have been a real scumbag, especially with a pregnant fiancée at home waiting for him. He shook his head, looked up and brought his eyes back to her face.
“I don’t know how to take that,” he finally answered.
“No, you don’t,” she smiled. “You should get home to your lady.”
“Yeah, I should.”
“But get yourself together first. Go sit down somewhere, drink some strong coffee and sober up,” she told him as she got up to leave and walked towards his office door.
“Good advice. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome Boss. Thanks for the drinks,” she said as she looked back over her shoulder. “You’re a good man. Things would have gone differently today if you weren’t,” she said before she walked out and closed the door behind her.

Copyright © 2014 Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.