Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celebrating Love and Freedom: THE BRIGHTEST DAY

Hi, all, 

In less than a week, a long-awaited project will finally hit e-readers everywhere. I'm talking, of course, about THE BRIGHTEST DAY: A JUNETEENTH HISTORICAL ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY. There are four wonderful stories in this collection, all set during different periods in American history, to give readers a picture of what African American life might have looked like during that long period between emancipation and the Civil Rights movement.

My co-authors on the project are Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley, and I've had a fantastic time working with them. There's an amazing amount of talent in this group. We've been hard at work on this book for months, and we truly hope you'll enjoy the finished product. We are so honored that Beverly Jenkins, the queen of African American historical romance, took the time from her busy schedule to research and write a wonderful foreword for the anthology. And in classic Beverly style, her foreword includes a bibliography :)

My contribution to the anthology is Drifting to You,  which takes place in 1875- ten years after Emancipation. That sets my story squarely in an era referred to as the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age was characterized by an industrial boom, exponential growth in the immigrant population, and the emergence of business tycoons like Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. For African Americans, many accomplishments were made, several HBCUs were founded, and the tide of changing laws and Constitutional amendments that would guarantee us our rights as Americans was beginning to rise.

I chose to set my story in the past, but in the area I presently call home. I've discovered many interesting things about the county I live in while doing research for this project. Here's the premise of Drifting to You:

During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She's there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They've denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won't be the only thing ebbing and flowing.
Now, I'm going to share with you a short excerpt of the story, to give you a peek at what it's all about as release day approaches.

Fair warning, you might want to grab a cool drink before you start reading ;)

Evening shadows shrouded the interior of Rosaline's cabin, so she went round the one room structure, turning up all the lamps she had scattered about. She covered a yawn with her hand, then used her handkerchief to blot her damp brow. Having both her ovens lit all day to get the cakes baked had left the interior of the cabin extremely hot. While she was up, she used two heavy stones to prop open the front and rear doors, in hope of letting some of the stifling heat escape.
She looked at the small crates sitting on her kitchen table, with the cooled, paper wrapped layers of spice cake resting in side. It had taken her all day, but she'd finally finished the mammoth confection. Now all that remained was assembling it. She and her assistant Sarah would put it together once it was safely on board the ship.
She took a quick trip to the pump to wash the flour dust from her hands and body, then returned inside to find the temperature in the cabin had cooled a bit. The rising heat of June gave way to cooler temperatures at night, and the breeze blowing through the cabin was a welcome respite from the heat generated by her ovens.
Once she'd changed into her nightgown, she fixed herself a sandwich with a few leftover slices of roast turkey from the icebox, and a cup of lemonade. Sitting down to her supper, she savored the food, as well as the joy of having finally completed her largest bakery order to date.
She'd taken her time to craft what she thought was an exquisite cake. Now she only hoped the Goodmans and their well-heeled guests would agree. As things now stood, she baked her cupcakes, cookies, and her signature sweet potato turnovers in large batches, then sold them in town. Since she'd not yet saved enough funds to purchase a storefront, she did all her baking at home and made her sales out of the back of her wagon. Marian Goodman's order of the elaborate spice cake had earned her a nice profit, and she did as she always did with the money. She'd pocketed only what she needed for supplies and basic living expenses, and deposited the rest in her account at Fayetteville Colored Bank and Trust. With few hundred more dollars, she would finally be able to afford the storefront she so desperately wanted, and take her bakery business to the next level.
She thought back on her days as a youth, when she'd spent her every waking moment catering to the needs of her mistress. Her days had been an exhausting blur of cooking, washing dishes, and serving Mrs. Rhodes and her salty old acquaintances. Late night demands for cookies and tea had roused her from sleep many a night.
The last decade of freedom had been the best time of her life. Yes, she'd worked hard, some days almost as hard as she had for the Widow Rhodes. But at least now, she benefited from her labor. No matter how tired she was at the end of the day, knowing that her life was her own made all her toil worth the effort. To her mind, Juneteenth was the most important holiday of the year, and one to be celebrated in grand fashion. After all, without one's freedom, the other holidays seemed rather silly and pointless.
Draining the last sip of lemonade, she stood and stretched, going to seek her bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day, and she needed the rest so she could have her wits about her. Securing her doors with the bolt, but leaving the windows open to allow the breeze in, she crawled in the one luxury she owned- her feather mattress topped bed.
She settled beneath the covers, her heavy eyelids dipping closed.
She pried them open to the surrounding darkness for a moment before they fell closed again.
When she opened her eyes the second time, she gasped.
The lamp on her dressing table was lit, casting a glow on the space near the foot of her bed. She felt a bit strange; out of sorts. I doused all the lamps...didn't I?
Another sight grabbed her attention, one much more attractive than the soft glow of the lamp.
There, in the flickering light, stood Will.
He was shirtless, revealing the muscled expanse of his chest and powerful arms. His dark locks hung loose, framing the handsome, angular face. His eyes were on her, and the heat in his gaze was so potent, it threatened to singe her nightgown.
Her mouth hung aloft, her throat parched and dry. She wanted to speak, wanted to ask him why he was in her private space.
But before she could speak, his large hands went to the leather belt circling the waist of his denims.
Her words were swallowed as she gulped.
He said nothing. A sensual smile lifted the corners of his mustached mouth.
She could not look away from him, not if her very life depended on it. Her full and undivided attention belonged to him.
His eyes never left hers as he loosened the belt, removed and discarded it.
Her mouth was no longer dry; now, it watered.
Glory. If ever the good Lord made a man finer than this one, she didn't want to meet him; she didn't think she could bear to look at him.
His fingers worked open the placard of his pants, then slowly began to slip the pants down over the hard lines of his hips.
Inch by inch, he revealed his bronzed skin to her.
Her eyes landed squarely at the center of him, to the place where his hard thighs met his rippled torso. She could see the bulge there, it was impossible to miss. Warmth pooled in her core, her desire for him smoldering and burning like a fire in her belly.
He worked the pants lower on his hips, then slid his hand around to his front.
His deep voice filled the room. “Is this what you want to see, Rosie?”
Entranced, she managed a single affirmative bob of her head.
He reached inside, as if to free himself from the confining fabric.
Her heart pounded in her ears, hot blood racing through her veins.
Her vision swam, and she shut her eyes against the blurry images.
Her eyes popped open again, and this time, she was met with only the darkness shrouding her cabin and the sounds of her own heavy, panting breaths.


How was that? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. Also, I'll let you know now, while our stories are full of sexual tension like what you've just read, there are no explicit scenes in my story. I wanted the focus to be more on the time period and the history, (and I knew I would totally go over the word count if I put in the hanky-panky).

Also, you'll be happy to know that Drifting to You is the start of a new historical series for me. Cape Fear Shipworks will be the first historical series I've written that will be set in my home state of North Carolina, and I'm super excited about it. Due to the other commitments on my schedule, I expect the first full book in the series to release in late summer 2016. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

The best way to stay in the know is to join my mailing list. You can do that on my website homepage; just fill out the form there to get on board.

Comment below and let me know what you think of the excerpt. One lucky commenter will win a copy of THE BRIGHTEST DAY in PRINT (releasing in August/September) so don't be shy, say what's on your mind!

Until Next Time, 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Royal Affair

Cheris Hodges is right.


There is the Fly Hat Society Meet and Greet, with the ladies of Hot MAMA Land. 

Then A.C. is bringing the Donovan's to you at her Beach Bash.

                Kicking it all off in June is A Royal Affair. 

The readers and members of Palace After Dark will converge on Richmond, VA like never before. We are taking over the weekend of June 26th, and 27th
The weekend will start with Belly Dancing Lessons with a contest to follow. There is no shame in our game. Everyone is going to learn how to move those hips to entice. 

That same night we are having Palace After Dark Live
If you have ever hosted or joined one of our discussions you know things we never discuss with mother comes out. Imagine it live with Mark Vincent, who portrays the character James Brooks in The Heart Series. 

The night will end with the Male Auction hosted by Troy Michel, who portrays the character Ashley Harrison in The Heart Series. 
That's right, it's going to be raining men. 
Attendee's will participate in a live auction to win their escort for Saturday events, which I will tell you about in a minute. 

The important aspect of this event is ALL PROCEEDS will go to the building fund of 
The Black History Museum, here in Richmond. 
We want to give something back to the community. Our history is a good place to start. 

The weekend does not in there. Saturday, we will have a breakfast talk on all things Iris. 
They have me on the hot seat. 
But I have something in store for the readers. They will never see it coming. 

After breakfast we will load up for the Trolley Tour of Richmond, VA
That's right I get to show off the city MY way. (sniggering)
There is nooooooo telling where we might end up. 

To end the weekend, we are having a Mascaraed Ball
We are giving you a reason to dress up and out. Who will have the most outrageous outfit? 
Who will have the sexiest outfit? 
Who will be escorted by the men from the action. 
It's going to be on and poppin in Richmond, VA 

You can still attend the Mascaraed Ball. 
Tickets are on sale at: A Royal Affair Mascaraed Ball

This Summer is going to be HOT! HOT! HOT! 

A Royal Affair
Fly Hat Society Meet and Greet
A.C.'s Beach Bash. 

Get Your Summer On! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Summer, summer time!

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I may not be looking forward to 100 degree days, but this summer is going to be awesome!
Especially the month of July!
July has always been special to me. July 4th is my big brother's birthday. Then July 5th is my Navy nephew's birthday. And if it wasn't for July 12th, my Daddy's birthday, I wouldn't be here!

And even though July has always been special to me, this July is going to even more amazing. My first Kimani romance will be released on July.
Blissful Summer.

Two exotic locations. Two couples about to discover the thrill of rekindled passion. 
Make You Mine Again by Cheris Hodges 
Supermodel Jansen Douglas is living her dream. Now a wedding in Paris is about to reunite her with the high school sweetheart she left behind. But Atlanta CEO Bradley Stephens won't let their stormy past stand in the way of reclaiming his first and only love. 
Unraveled by Lisa Marie Perry 
Ona Tracy's plans to seduce her high school crush unravel when the reunion trip she books turns out to be an erotic-themed cruise to the Bahamas! Rather than abandon ship, she recruits blond-haired, silver-eyed Riker Ewan to be her hookup, unaware that the hot-bodied ex-marine isn't who he seems to be…

Then on July 11th, it's the HOT MAMA Fly Hat Luncheon. I can not wait to hang out with Di Topaz and Reese Ryan! 

And the month ends in Myrtle Beach with AC Arthur's Beach Bash:

A.C. Arthur Presents
Beach Bash ’15
We’re turning up the heat with writers of sensual and erotic romance!
Special Guests:
July 26 – 29, 2015
Discounted Room Rate: $179
To reserve a room you must FIRST, complete and submit your registration form and deposit payment. Once this is received an email will be sent with reservation instructions. 
Payment of first night rate is required for all reservations.
Cab fare from airport to resort is approximately $40.

Damn, I need to get to the gym! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

And now for my next trick...

Hello, kittens,

So in last-month's post, I alluded to being too busy right now with the writing. So what I was talking about is me writing as myself again. I know. That's a confusing sentence. Let me explain.

My pen name is Bridget Midway. I've been writing under that name for ten years now. However, my real name, and the name I used when I first got published, even before I started writing as Bridget Midway, is Crystal B. Bright. Yep, that is a real name. Under that name, I wrote contemporary interracial romances. Almost Harlequin like. Definitely no spanking or whipping. No one gets tied down to a bed or anything. Still some hot sex. But that happens later.

I started writing under that name in the early 2000s. I published three stories under my real name before I switched over to the naughty stuff. A couple of years ago, I started feeling restless. I wanted to get back to writing what I originally started to write, which was hot romances. I had this idea of these three men, all brothers, and all athletes.

I've always loved seeing a buff guy doing girly stuff for a good reason. Like I dig movies like "The Game Plan" or "The Tooth Fairy" or "The Pacifier." Nothing makes me go awww faster than to see a guy like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at a tea party with little girls for his daughter's sake.

So I wanted that same feel in what I called my Mama's Boys series. The other thing I find sexy in men is how well they treat their mothers. The concept of the series would be this: the three brothers, an MMA fighter, a NFL quarterback and a MLB pitcher, are adopted by an African-American woman who owns three businesses, a hair salon, a flower shop and a clothing boutique. When the mother falls ill, the three brothers have to come home to not only take care of her, but also her businesses.

The first book in the series is The Look of Love. It's available on Amazon right now for pre-order, and will be released on June 23, 2015. I can't wait!

Here's the blurb:

You can’t fight love…
 There’s only one thing MMA fighter Gunnar Wells is more devoted to than his career, and that’s his mother, “Queen” Elizabeth. An elegant African American woman who adopted Gunnar and his two white brothers, Elizabeth was there when they needed her, and they’ll do anything for her. For Gunnar, that means running her hair salon when she suddenly falls ill. And if that’s not awkward enough for the champion fighter, he’ll have to work alongside Eboni Danielson, the other love of his life. The one he left behind to pursue his dream. The one he’s never forgotten…

Between the salon and her volunteer work, Eboni keeps busy to keep her mind off the man who broke her heart. So when Gunnar shows up again, she does her best to stay cool—on the outside. But the more she watches Gunnar step up and help out, the less she can deny her feelings. Soon Gunnar is doing everything he can to convince Eboni to give him a fighting chance. Can she trust him again—even when old secrets and new dangers come between them once more?

The second book in the series will be Forget Me Not.  This story will be about the middle brother, Gideon Wells, and his struggles on the football field, with running his mother's flower shop, and with a sexy competing flower shop owner, Janelle Gold. That book will be out February 2016.

The third book in the series is Head Over Heels. The final book is about the baby of the family, Thane Wells. He's dealing with his baseball career, attempting to run the clothing boutique, which he doesn't want to do, and trying to reconnect with his brothers.

I hope you all like the series as much as I loved writing it. And speaking of writing, I need to go and do some of that now.

Stay sexy,


Keep reading,


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Kid on the block....
I'm still in shock to be among this wonderful group of ladies. It seems like only yesterday when I was asked to become a part of the Hot M.A.M.A.s
First of all wanted to thank all the ladies for welcoming me into the fold. I've learned a lot from many of the M.A.M.A.s and I can't wait to learn even more. I have my book open and ready to take in all that they teach.
Now let me tell you a little about what I have going on in this crazy world of mine. I'm a part of the the 12 Alphas 12 Months box set with eleven other amazing authors.
It's available for pre-sale now! Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and iBook
I'm also planning to release book 3 of my Arena Series in July. Keep you eyes and ears open. Until next time..... I look forward to giving you Gems of Romance!
Di Topaz