” I sat at the kitchen table staring at my plate, wondering why I was there. It crossed my mind several times that no one could see me. They were all carrying on, eating, conversing, as if I had left the room, because I had made myself evaporate into thin air.

God, please, give me some wine and a bed, and I could make it to tomorrow.

Force me to sit and smile and listen and be, I would only cower away like demons to light.

“Mom,” Karter whispered. He gestured toward some dinner guest – a man whose name I had forgotten.

Mom. I hated that word.” (Like Shards of Glass)


Like Shards of Glass

Like Shards of Glass:

Beauty, pain, drugs, sex: repeat. Monroe Song, who considers herself nothing more than the wife of a terrorist, is struggling, failing, and drowning, trying to find her place in a world that has left her at the brink of insanity: Her husband, Carter, has opened fire at a mental health facility, before turning the ruthless gun on his sons, then himself.

Emptied wine bottles, and pills which bring her no relief or comfort, drive Monroe into the arms of Dominique, a man half her age, who offers her the perfect anecdote for her brokenness.

Monroe’s oldest son, Karter, once idolized his father. Karter is now haunted by his father’s face, words, and the massacre that is now his family legacy. 

If Karter’s hero is a monster, a terrorist, who brutally murdered innocent people, what does that make Karter? 

How can Monroe and Karter move forward when life has forgotten them? Then, again, with everything so distorted, why not spiral with the storm?

Like Shards of Glass is now available for pre-order! (The release date in late August.)

Please be sure and stop by, again, and also visit my Facebook page, as I will be sharing excerpts and more!

Shards promo 5




Are you ready to pre-order your copy of Like Shards of GlassYes? Click here!



Every now and then, I have to go back to the root of it all.

Why do I spend so much time on something that most would deem silly? How can I put so much into something that may not be … meant to be? Who do I think I am, to believe I could make it as an author, when no one knows who I am, there are so many writers just as, if not much more talented? Who do I think I am, the quiet girl, the introvert, with only less than a handful of people who have time to support this dream that I call my purpose? Just what type of person is crazy enough to put it all out there, keep trying, seeking feedback, hitting doors, hitting walls, picking herself up, and going right back into the unknown — that would be me. And any author (any artist, really) will tell you, it is so difficult, so humbling, so easy to quit, so easy to believe the naysayers, and those who say nothing at all as they, behind smiling eyes, wait for you to plummet.

I have to go back to the root of it all. Why do I spend so much time on something that very well could be … a dead end?

For those who feel caged in, and believe there is no way out, that it will never get better. For those who wake up every morning bruised, and go to bed sore, and out of shame, they don’t say a word to anyone. For those who live a silent battle that no one can see, that no one would believe. No one would believe that their life slips away with every moment … every invisible wound. For anyone who’s said no one understands, no one cares, no one is coming to save me. Anybody who’s been told, either aloud, or through the whispers of their own inner demons, that no one is coming to help. For that girl who has typed “lol” with tears in her eyes. For that girl who’s joked about it, but no one knew, she’d thought about it on lonely nights. She’d planned it all out in her head, and even as she joked, she meant it. For that guy who’s searching the bottom of an empty bottle — hurting himself, hurting others, breaking down, falling a part, giving in, but still fighting. For that guy who has replied “fine,” then gone home, and ended it all.

I have to remind myself, that although I may not reach millions, I might reach a few. That it’s bigger than likes, follow, comments, and shares. I have to remind myself. I have to remember why I am that type of person who is crazy enough to put it all out there, keep trying, seeking feedback, hitting doors, hitting walls, picking herself up, and going right back into the unknown. And I can never say never, but for now, I won’t quit.


Just Beneath the Surface: Landon’s Story, now available in digital format: Amazon


His heart raced as he looked into his bedroom. Just as he had suspected, he found Nova, sprawled across the bed, her eyes fixed upon the ceiling.

Landon leaned down and waved his hand in front of her face. Then, he snapped his fingers and clapped his hands. He picked up her hand and watched it fall, then examined the fresh scarring, from none other than a needle, along her arms. He sat down on the bed and checked her carotid artery. “Not again,” he murmured. “Nova, can you hear me?”

Landon ran his hands over her face and closed her eyes. He went to the bathtub and turned on the water, then jogged into the garage, where he grabbed a space heater and large bucket. He talked to himself as he plugged the space heater into the wall near the bed.

He knew moving in with her, both of them only eighteen years old, would not save her, yet he went against his mind, and followed his heart. But what good did hearts do if pain left both of them with no pulse?

Close to twenty minutes later, after filling the bath tub with ice water, Landon lay beside Nova as she slept. Landon remembered meeting her when they were young, becoming best friends with her, and promising to never leave her. But as Nova became dependent on escaping the pain of their childhoods, she, without realizing it, had been the one to leave Landon – time and again.
Tears fell from his eyes and wet her skin. He removed her dress from her body before standing to his feet. He scooped her up into his arms and said: “This is the last time you do this to me. You hear me? The last time.”
Landon carried her to the bathtub, then closed his eyes. He kissed her forehead and whispered: 


Landon set her down in the bathtub and waited  …


What is attraction?

What is control?

Are things ever truly as they appear?

Today, find out what happens when secrets are revealed, nightmares bring paranoia, and the horrors of the past come to the surface.


Just Beneath the Surface: Landon’s Story

Download UNDONE and read the first two chapters of Landon’s Story

Just Beneath the Surface

Mystery character thoughts

My wrath is a nightmare. But when she comes back to me, it’s like a dream.

She came to me with suitcases, holding a box, and the end was in the air.

But I knew it wasn’t over. Her eyes were red, weepy, avoiding mine, as if staying with me made her weak. I wanted to know who had been in her ear. I wrestled with my own anger.

This woman had managed to make me feel like a criminal. Me. Me?

I kissed away her tears, fears, the lies – the lies she tells herself about me.

She forgets the role she plays in who I am. My tone, my anger, my reaction – I am a reflection of her.

She behaves like a child, and I, her husband, corral her. Is it a crime to mold a child until he reaches adulthood? Is it punishable to curse and “handle”  the childish husband who tiptoes through the front door at midnight?

One midnight too many. Her broken promises, her disrespect, push me over my limit. She knows it. That’s why she’s here, holding a box, trying to hurt me, trying to convince herself that its over.

I look at her, and I see more than a box, more than a nervous woman, more than tears.

She belongs to me, and she doesn’t have to say a word – not a single word – I feel what she feels: We have a love that they would never understand. Its a force – a power most wouldn’t condone. But who are they?

She’s mine. I’m hers. And together, we will sleep – we will dream.

And like an unruly child, she summons my wrath.

Then comes the nightmare.

Then … she will come to me, again

like a dream …

Just Beneath the Surface


Funny … this is the way I felt about starting a website/blog.

Up until last year, I knew very little about blogs. I still don’t know a lot about blogging, and I actually wouldn’t call myself a “blogger.” Maybe that is because there is a lot of information I am lacking. I’m sure I’m not the only one … I’m so excited to share this interview with Sonia, who will be sharing some awesome information!

 Hello and welcome, Sonia! Would you like to share a bit about yourself?

My name is Sonia and I am the creator and founder of LogAllot.com. My website can be found at http://www.LogAllot.com where I help new bloggers with Blog Tips with Common Sense. I believe in always being straight-forward and tackling issues some bloggers just won’t address. My goal is tell anyone new trying to build an online presence to use their own head and think for themselves.

What is the number 1 tip – the first thing you would advise business owners, artists and new bloggers to do before publishing that first post?

Ask yourself: Is this post going to actually help someone or is it a post of me just ranting? What I have found after 3 yrs. of blogging is there are different types of blogs out there. They all don’t have to solve a problem, but a reader should walk away knowing he or she learned something or it evoked enough emotion inside to leave feedback.

If you blog about pets, are you blogging about all kinds of pets or just dogs? The more “narrow” your niche, the easier it will be to focus on topics related to problems that matter to others.

What mistakes do you most often notice in the blogs of newbies, business owners, authors (or artists in general)?

Blog design. When you are new, you really don’t have any type of design expertise, but newbies are so quick to want to throw up a website that they forget how it really looks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in the blog world, it’s not as forgiving.

Before you take a dive, sign up for either WordPress.com or Blogger (whichever you prefer) and learn how it functions. This gives you the opportunity to play around with it, how to create a post, and add image etc.  Use the Free themes first and teach yourself the ins and outs of how using a theme works.

Once you are serious and have an idea of what you want to blog about, then invest in a WordPress self-hosted (like BlueHost or Hostgator) and buy your WordPress theme or stick with Blogger and design it slowly.  If you buy a theme, shop sites like: Elegant themes, Themeforest or StudioPress for reputable themes. If you use a theme that is free, remember, there is NO SUPPORT when problems happen down the line.

Some Free themes have gotten better, but why would a developer spend a lot of time helping people for free? Maybe some will, but you get what you pay for. And last, keep your banner ads to a minimum: Do you want readers to focus on your banner ads or your content?

Having a poorly designed website is the #1 factor for losing potential readers.

Does size matter? As an author, I know that when writing, I can be wordy and ramble. Should posts be long and informative? Should they be short and sweet? In your opinion, where is the happy medium?

Bloggers debate this all the time and at the end of the day: it’s your blog, write the way you want. This is where I stress to new bloggers to “blaze their own trail” and do what works for them. You can’t make everyone happy, but if your posts are short, make sure your content makes an impact. If you don’t want to write, create a video tutorial to shake things up.

Don’t get inundated with all the advice given by so many bloggers. Learn to think for yourself and use common sense. You wouldn’t jump off a bridge because some blogger said it’s the right idea for your blog would you? Use your head and make decisions that are right for YOU.

Do you have any favorite author blogs, websites or Facebook author pages that newbies could browse to gather ideas? 

When I first started, TheSitsGirls and Kikolani.com was my muse for a long time. TheSitsGirls really hits home with a lot of “women bloggers”, while Kikolani breaks it down further and gives you the real “meat on the bones” type of posts.

 What about pictures? What is your advice/what are your go-to websites for free images?

This is a touchy subject because some bloggers don’t give credit where it’s due. I use either free images from Flickr Creative Commons (free) and credit back to the photographer. Another site I use is iStockphoto.com. They aren’t free, but once you buy the image, it’s yours to do whatever you wish.  If you see images from sites you frequent a lot, send them an email asking if you can use the image and link back to their website. Its good manners and it’s the right thing to do.

Off topic, what are some things artists and entrepreneurs can do on Twitter and Facebook? What would you suggest regarding drawing people in, instead of incessant marketing and plugs?

Twitter It’s a fast conversation. The second you tweet something, more tweets have surpassed yours in seconds. Keep the conversation lite and use it to share other content (not just your own) and network. Don’t run after bloggers like a lost puppy trying to belong, but a simple hello or sharing their content always works. Give it time to build a following and don’t BUY followers.

There are websites out there for unsuspecting bloggers looking to build a following and you will look like an idiot with fake followers. Follow people in your niche or like-minded bloggers and read their blog. Don’t just follow people to get a follow-back. I see mom bloggers do this all the time and professional bloggers don’t ever do this. Read other blogs, comment and share their content. It’s that simple.

Facebook – Facebook is another animal all its own. I can’t say I have mastered mine, but it depends on where you focus your time on Social Media outlets. On Facebook, share your content, but get in the practice of sharing other posts, your readers might find useful. Talk to them, about life and not just about blogging or social media.

If your blog niche is about Cupcakes, share recipes, pictures of unique cupcakes, run a contest for the best cupcake photo etc. If you sell something, offer it for free to a few lucky winners to get honest feedback. They can give you testimonials about its content and they will be your best salesman without you saying anything.

 What is SEO and what tips or references do you have? 

I was never an expert in this field, but use plugins like Yoast SEO (WordPress) to help optimize my website. Use alt-tags for your images (use keywords: seo-for-newbies). Newbies don’t know that your images also come up with in searches and is another source of driving traffic to your website. Or you can use plugins like ScribeContent.com to help you with keyword selection (not free).

 Heartfelt posts, limited views and nonexistent comments – have you ever found these things discouraging? What do you say to those who find themselves on the brink of giving up?

I feel your pain. Been there done that. Some bloggers will go on and on about how to get blog comments, but they don’t tell you the meat and potatoes on how to actually do it. For myself, I joined a Secret Blog Comment group on Facebook 1 year ago, joined Triberr and I started networking like crazy. The blog comment group was a group of like-minded bloggers that visit each other’s blog in the group daily (time-allotted) and comment on every blog in the group. You leave a comment, share and tweet after. Come back to the group and write done and move on the next. What this does is put your content on other blogs and when they comment on your blog, they SHARE YOUR CONTENT TO THEIR READERS.

With Triberr, I didn’t understand it for a long time and the creator finally broke it down for me. You sign up, join a tribe (type in keywords and join a tribe that interests you). You tweet other posts that your readers will appreciate and the blogger sees that your shared his or her content.

You are free to comment (doesn’t hurt), but the point here is that when they RETWEET your content, your post is shared with their readers. So your “Reach” starts to build and before you know it, your post has been retweeted dozens of times. Hence: if the tribe you join has a lot of members. If there is only 5 members in the tribe you joined, it might not get tons of retweets.


Example: Let’s say you join a tribe about Food. There are 50 members in this tribe called: Food Bloggers. Your blog is about food so it’s a perfect fit. See what I mean? You wouldn’t join a Marketing tribe because no one will retweet your cupcake recipe to other readers.

Wow …

You’ve been amazing, so much information to look over!! Thank you so much for your insight. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Networking – I can’t stress this enough, but if you start networking: Be genuine. People can smell “fake” a mile away. Some bloggers I want to slap on the forehead because they come off cheesy or only about their own blog. I saw one blog that stated if you don’t comment on my blog, I won’t comment on yours. Don’t be that guy or girl.

If you see content you like and it compels you to comment, then do so. If you like their blog and want to subscribe to their posts, then do so. Don’t do anything for the sake of getting something back. Some bloggers get butt-hurt when a popular blogger didn’t respond to their comment. Really? Just be yourself and if they don’t like you, keep it movin’.

Thanks, again, Sonia!! For more information, tips, or to connect with Sonia, visit:

http://www.LogAllot.comSonia 2013

Just Beneath the Surface I and Into the Atmosphere are now available in print!into the atmosphere full

(Although Into the Atmosphere is available, it will not be sold online). For details, feel free to

contact me at ari.r.james at gmail.com!                                                                                                    

Into the Atmosphere is a book about letting go: releasing our fears, doubts, pain and scars into the atmosphere.

Moving forward means letting go and handing our burdens over to God. Releasing our hurt is much easier said than done; this book is the first step toward identifying, releasing and moving forward.

Just Beneath full

Here are 7  facts about a few of the characters for this 7th day of March:

1. When her mother is distracted, Diamond, one of the main characters, will find herself in a dangerous relationship.

2. The ending has been considered quite suspenseful, and death will come to one of the characters

3. Kendall finds herself questioning the strong-willed woman she once was; she doubts herself as a wife and mother.

4. Diamond’s high school experience becomes very complicated, filled with vicious gossip.

5. Diamond’s younger brother grapples with feelings of hatred toward his sister and resentment toward his parents.

6. Kendall finds that everything she once believed about domestic violence is a myth — it could happen to anyone.

7. Diamond asks: “Is any attention better than no attention at all?”

When Kendall Berkely takes a look in the mirror, she not only desperately wants to run away from the stranger staring back at her; but she also knows that her days are numbered. She can feel it in her bones, and has the bruises to prove it. To make matters worse, Kendall will soon discover that her seventeen year old daughter, Diamond is on a path nearly just as dangerous.

After the demise of the family unit she once knew, a distracted mother, and being forced to accept a new stepfather, Diamond finds herself knee deep in a multitude of mistakes. When Diamond finds herself more lonely than ever before she crosses paths with Bobby Lidell; a teacher’s aide with a dark side. Just as Diamond realizes that she is in over her head, her mother and father have already been notified, and will do everything in their power to protect her.

But what is lurking in the shadows will not stop until a vow has been kept; what is lurking just beneath the surface will come seeking revenge.

Print: http://www.amazon.com


Here is my new Just Beneath the Surface II book trailer! I hope you enjoy!

In Just Beneath the Surface II, new characters confront what has been buried and laid to rest – or so they thought.

Landon, a mysterious engineering student has learned to treat his past as though it belongs to someone else. He has learned to control every thought that enters his mind: everything from his memories, to his smile, to the tone of his voice. Anyone who believes that they have begun to understand Landon is sadly mistaken. He is a man impenetrable.

His own brother, Peter, refers to Landon as a robot. Landon’s mother fears that he will soon self-destruct. Landon only wishes that everyone around him would accept and understand one thing; Landon has unlocked what he considers his most prized possession: the gift of control.

Seven is a peculiar beauty whose temper, harsh tongue and violent tendencies often get her into trouble. After meeting Landon, Seven finds her way into unchartered territory: his heart. Soon, Seven’s perception of herself is challenged. She is frequently urged to step away and reevaluate herself, as the handsome young man who is wise beyond his years gently coaches her into finding her best self.

As secrets are revealed, and an unspoken bond is formed, Landon and Seven grow to be inseparable.

Before long, the horrors of the past bring Landon full circle. As his soft stoic surface faces intrusion, his old self is relinquished to paranoia. In time, Landon’s world is threatened by the recurring nightmare he thought he had left behind.

Inside the mind of Just Beneath the Surface ‘mystery’ antagonist


It stays between Kendall and me

 What happens between Kendall and I is just that — between me and Kendall. Not one person could look me in the eye and tell me I don’t love my wife. That woman knows how I feel about her. Should it matter what anyone else thinks?



Women are peculiar creatures

 They have peculiar needs, peculiar wants, peculiar attitudes and peculiar ways of expressing gratitude – they simply never do it.

 A woman can call a man fat, lash out after a long day, make jokes about ‘training’ men, even laugh at his package. But the moment a man retaliates or admits to ‘training’ his woman, he’s abusive. Someone explain it to me, because apparently, I’m too ignorant to understand. I work all day. I work with incompetent fools, and I refuse to come home to an insubordinate woman. It’s the principal. It doesn’t change my love.


Looking back at all of our fights

 Deep down, I know I haven’t handled myself the way I knew I should have. Neither has she. I apologize to her in every way possible: Roses, my apologies, when we make love — nothing makes up for the moments where I take it too far, but the closest thing to making it up to her is the love we make.

 I give her everything I have, and I think that the problem with women is their inability to get rid of their walls. They’ve got walls around their hearts, and it causes them to do and say the most horrible things, as though men don’t have feelings too. I’m here to tell you — we, men have feelings. Maybe in your opinion it doesn’t excuse my blow-ups, but in my opinion, blowing up is the only way to get results with a woman as stubborn as Kendall. I know it’s wrong, and I want to handle her differently, but just when I think we understand each other, I’m apologizing all over again.


As time goes on, I see improvement, but I also feel her drifting away from me

 Nights like these I sit, I wait, I wonder, I hurt and I want her to feel what I feel.

 Nights like these, Kendall leaves me no choice.

 When she finally shows her face, and I’ve been here sitting alone, when I’ve got a business trip in the morning, and she’s out with her kids all weekend, I could crush her with my bare hands.

 Before I know it, I don’t even see her. I only hear her, which makes it worse. The sound of her crying when she’s the reason I’ve broken my promise yet again is like this trigger. I’m the loaded gun.

 She makes the mistake of telling me she doesn’t know if she can do this any longer. Did she think that would make things any better — was this the time to say that to me? No.

 Doesn’t she see me standing over her? Does she think this is the way I want it to be between us? Doesn’t she know I try?

 Yet I’m a monster for having feelings?


Watching her sleep, looking at what I’ve done to her

 People would think I’m the monster. They would think she deserves better. Well, they’re wrong, because once this passes over, we’ll grow stronger. And if she doesn’t change, and I can’t change, and if she leaves me like she says she will…


I don’t know


Honestly? I dream of a place where Kendall and me can just be. That place isn’t here. This isn’t where we belong. If she won’t submit to me here, I know for a fact that she will submit to me there.






 Just Beneath the Surface I

Just Beneath the Surface I Excerpt:

“His eyes saw so deep into me I could hardly stand it. He knew I would stay. It scared me to think that he had this hold over me. I had never in my life been the type of woman who would endure something like this. But I was so connected to him that I could not see clearly.”

Inside of the character ‘Kendall’ of  Just Beneath the Surface I

I am haunted

I can hardly sleep. I have no peace. I am afraid at every moment of every day. I don’t know me, and I don’t know him – not anymore.
To think of my family and the way things were – Michael, my children

God what have I done, and how did I get here?

I love him so much, but I feel that deep down, he hates me

I sense that I will die convincing him that I can be the woman he craved for so many years. I thought that I could be the woman who could show him the true meaning of love, and to cherish him; the woman who could love him with patience, and be everything that he needed. But every time he loses his self, he makes it go away –

Yet each time he screams at me, my heart stops, because I know what is coming next

Every time he looks at me that way, with such cold eyes, I know what will come next – my heart pounds, I lose my breath, and I want nothing more than to disappear.

Each time his hand raises, my life flashes before my eyes

Worse and worse
Each time he goes further – he finds new ways to hurt me, and when he tells me he will kill me if I leave, I believe him.

I’m embarrassed to think of what people will say if they find out

I think of the way I felt about women in the situation I’m in, now – I can hear myself so clearly. The way I talked about the things I would put up with, the things I would never tolerate – and being hit was one of them – now I hardly recognize myself. I am so ashamed as I think of the way I haven’t been there for my family. I think of the way Diamond needed me, and I was never there – I was so selfish. Maybe I really do deserve this. Maybe he’s right: I am selfish, and I don’t know what it means to put someone else first.

and now

I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m starting to believe he will never change. I’m starting to think that I will never be what he wants me to be. Things are starting to become more than I can take – each time, I feel as though eyes – those unfeeling eyes – are searching for more than love.  Each time it happens, I see death – I sense death – I feel it.

I once wondered what was just beneath the surface — and now

As he stands over me – blade glistening, I no longer have to wonder…

broken mirror 1

smashwords: purchase

amazon: purchase

collage by laura


“If it were that bad, she would just leave.

  • There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim want to be abused.
  • Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave. (United States Department of Justice, National Crime Victim Survey, 1995)

Some people deserve to be hit.

  • No one deserves to be abused. Period. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.
  • Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong and against the law.”


“ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.”


  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.2
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.3
  • Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4



JD Mader has an amazing weekly creative excursion on his blog, Unemployed Imagination. Many authors gather and free write there, and it goes down every Friday. It’s called “2 Minutes. Go,” and for 2 minutes, you write, let it flow, let it go.

So much fun, and this (past) Friday, I went over 2 minutes, just tapping away, trying to share what I could so vividly see. It wasn’t the direction I thought it would go when I started, but here it is, raw and unedited, possibly amateurish, but … just the release we creatives types need every now and then.

Enjoy! (I think?)


The restaurant seemed to fade to black. It felt as if they’d survived a fire, or explosion. They were flammable; they should’ve had bright yellow toxic hazard warnings on their foreheads. Yet they’d been equipped with the blessing and curse of stoicism, like some fire retardant substance in their veins.

They’d seen it all, been to hell, kissed the flames; they saw the nightmares in one another’s eyes.

And there they sat, staring through one another, across a table which seemed to have doubled in length with every second. They were close enough to touch, yet too far to see; that’s the way it had always been. Maybe every since the day he’d been born.

Mother and son, sharing the same amber eyes — empty amber eyes.

Leaning forward, moving her glass aside, she squinted her eyes as she spoke: “Hero? You want to be a hero? And who would you save? You men kill me. You want to save the world.”

Her eyes scanned him. His eyes fell. He looked as if he’d cry. Instead, he chuckled, and spoke so low it was nearly a whisper: “This is what I expected of you. And I never said I was any kind of hero.” He waved the server over. “You don’t get it, Sylvia.”

“Sylvia,” she mocked. She looked at him as if he smelled of a corpse. “You men, so you call yourselves. You wanna’ save the woman next door from her midlife crisis with a one-night-stand, you think you can save the guy at the next cubicle’s marriage with your worthless advice, you wanna save the chick from the guy who beats her just to leave her all alone, want to step in and take you damn kid to the park and act like you deserve Superman’s cape.”
“Cape? I don’t even have a kid.” He laughed, again, this time awakening something dark in his mother’s eyes. His smile faded as he cleared his throat.

“You’re all liars,” she said, through gritted teeth. “You save the world, and you let yourselves rot into the monsters you’re rescuing. You’re all monsters practicing good deeds when the sun’s watching, murdering spirits when the clock strikes midnight. You’re nothing. You’ll always be nothing. Laugh at that, you spoiled little shit.”
Taking one last sip of wine, Sylvia stumbled to her feet.
“Love you, too, Sylvia. Mom. Mommy. Mommy, please, don’t go …”
She started to hold up her middle finger, hesitated, and parted her lips to speak. Nearly losing her balance, as the wine clouded her ability to stand without swaying, she said, “You’re so selfish! You think I don’t get it? No, you don’t get it! I don’t want them to call me and tell me that you … I don’t want to lose … if you go — enlist — you’ll die, and I’ll lose you, just like everyth –“
She felt his arms around her, pulling her into an embrace. Her voice trembled, as did her body, “Don’t leave me.”


Don’t forget, today’s the day of the “Like Shards of Glass” Book discussion. Email me for your free copy: ari.r.james@gmail.com

Like Shards of Glass


After three failed jumps at the window, the lower half of my body slammed into the side of the condo. Extending my arms, I propelled myself inside the bedroom. As I dragged myself through the opening, both elbows scraping against brick, I hit the floor as if I’d been train to land on my head. The latter half of my body landed on a box full of letters and journals.

Without stopping to assess my elbows or check my head for knots, I pushed onto the backs of my legs. Then, running like a four-legged animal until I caught my balance, I ran toward the whimpering sounds.

Photographs of my brothers were scattered like wings of fallen angels. My father’s photos were singed in the sink. A forlorn cry, which reminded me of a woman in labor emanated from the shower.

On her left side, in black silk pajamas, she lay, in sparkling slivers of glass and picture frames. Cadaverous, crying into the palm of her hand, her eyes squeezed together so tight I could see every vein in her upper eyelids.

Why? “Mom, what…” My voice was a whisper, no matter how hard I pushed; I was near tears.

Startled, her eyes remained closed. Crying into her hand, her abdomen expanded as she gasped, almost as if no amount of oxygen would reach her lungs or sustain her.


So excited about the ‘Like Shards of Glass‘ book discussion with the book club group, The Writer’s Pearls!

Join me on October 10, 2014 at 3pm cst, for an in depth look at my newest novel, “LIke Shards of Glass”. (Email: ari.r.james@gmail.com,  or message me for free coupon codes!)




Forget the bed; the floor was fine. I pulled down the comforter and curled up with the bottle of wine. This was the moment when my boys knocked on my door and bothered me about snacks and boredom. Karter would shoo them away and tell them I was sleeping, then turn around and beg me to let him off punishment, so he could go to some silly party. Wasn’t this supposed to be the moment when my decorated hero came and lifted me off of the floor and placed me gently on the bed? Was that not what I deserved? If I am a mother, why am I on the cold, hard floor, drugged, shaking, tired, unable to sleep?

When do my boys call me mom, mommy, momma, and bother me about new shoes? Didn’t I give birth? Aren’t I a mother – a mother of four boys? No? Then who am I? Who am I and why am I here? Somebody make it all stop and tell me why the hell am I still…








Hello and Welcome, Tammy of Unique Creations!

Would you like to share a bit about yourself?

My name is Tammy, and I am a MOMpreneur/ Entrepreneur.

My business is called “Unique Creations” (personalized name backgrounds) where we find out the meaning of your name, origin and all the positive attributes and place it to a beautiful background. Great gifts for all occasions. I enjoy what I do because it gives me freedom.


Do you remember your favorite places to read throughout the years?

Some place quiet, peaceful and relaxing.

Peaceful and relaxing are always a good thing 🙂

How much attention do you pay to book covers? What attracts you, what do you consider a turn-off?

I pay much attention to the covers. The covers and titles are what attract me the most, (then again I have seen some books, where you can not judge it by it’s cover.)

I read a great meme about “e-books versus paperback” … do you have a preference, or do you think it is silly that people can’t simply agree that both are great in their own way?

Me? I am old fashioned, and (sometimes) I prefer to stick to the paperbacks. But yes, both are great!

Do you have a favorite genre, or do you like to explore any and all books?

I love Self-Help books, something that would enlighten me but I am always open.

Have you ever found a book so disturbing, that you couldn’t finish it, or had to leave it and come back?

I wouldn’t so much say disturbing, I would more say “didn’t hold my interest”.  But yes, I found myself putting it down for months and then picking it back up. It was one of those times I had to force myself to read it because it had some valuable information in it. This may sound silly but, at times, I believe the right book chooses you at the right time. There is a certain time for everything.

What question would you ask your favorite author, if you had the chance to ask only one question?

Who/What inspired you, what journey were you seeking? (I feel every author has a certain journey.)

So many entertainers are doing things that nearly make you want to delete their music from your playlist, their movies and shows from your DVR, books from your bookshelf.

But then, again, they’re only human. So where is the line drawn with your favorite artists? Have you ever absolutely adored an author, gotten to know too much about them or watched the writer in interviews, and been completely turned off? Even from reading their books?

No, not yet…lol…and hopefully never.

Your favorite book to television series? What books are you excited to see on the big screen/as a television series?

I love any books by Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and etc. The closest I have seen them to the big screen/ televison series is on Oprah’s Master Class or Super Soul Sunday

Whatcha’ workin’ on?

Starting a new business in event planning, and going back to school.

Do you have any excerpts you’d like to share? Or quotes from your favorite books?

 Wow! There are so many I could choose from. However, two of my favorites passages/ quotes from some great people, I would like to share. They are not from my personal books or any of my work but I do like them both because both sayings really touch home with me:

“The only way to do great work, is to love what you do” Steve Jobs

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God” Leo Buscaglia

Wonderful chat, Tammy. It’s been a pleasure getting to know a bit more about you. Thank you for stopping by! Come, again, soon! 🙂

Connect with Tammy online:

Unique Creations

Unique Creations (Facebook)

Unique Creations (Pinterest)


Hello&Welcome back, Joey!


Bookworm’s Nook: Would you like to share a bit about yourself?

Joey Pinkney: Thank you so much for inviting me to be interviewed for Bookworm’s Nook, RH. I really appreciate it.

My name is Joey Pinkney. My love of books lead me to promote books, authors and publishing companies to a global readership using my growing digital footprint in social media. I do author interviews and book reviews for my main website JoeyPinkney.com. The “JoeyPinkney.com 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Author Interview Series” is over six years old and counting and features authors of various genres and levels of experience. They talk about the story behind the story.

I recently started a new book promo service at JoeyTweets.com which harnesses my huge following on Twitter to connect readers with books and with authors that they may have never heard of.

I’m also an author of short stories and essays. I have a few interesting works-in-progress that are under wraps. (What “author” doesn’t, right?)

Oh. I’m a nerd. And I love chocolate. A lot…

BN: Do you remember your favorite places to read throughout the years?

JP: The airplane is not my favorite place to read, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that as the “most productive” place to read in terms of reviews. What would normally take about 8 man hours to complete, I can do during a 5 hour flight, including layovers.

I’m trying to think of places that had the best ambiance for reading throughout the years. I can’t think of any. Do you know why? Because reading can be so engrossing. Once a story gets good, the world around you dissolves. I’ve burned food or just left it sitting in the microwave. I’ve overfilled bathtubs. I’ve unknowingly agreed to stuff from my kids because I wasn’t really listening. I’ve missed bus stops. I’ve came to and left from the last stop on the Metro in DC only to have to go up a stop and switch trains, come back and actually GET OFF.

I like to lie back and flop around like a single sock in a dryer while I read. So shout out to all of the couches, beds, closet floors, loveseats and futons I’ve lied on while reading. If I didn’t mention you by name, charge it to my mind and not my heart. (Whatever that means.)

BN: How much attention do you pay to book covers? What attracts you, what do you consider a turn-off?

JP: Some book covers are really “book art.” When I look at book covers, it’s not always to see if I want to read the story. I look at them to take in the art that the graphic designer put into the world. I try to reverse-engineer how the graphic designer achieved a certain effect. I mentally critique whether the font type, size, color and placement came together to easily get across a message consistent to the feel of the story.

When I look at book covers, I drink in the color schemes. Sometimes whether the colors match or not on a book cover attracts my attention before I actually realize the words and images on the cover. Hues, tints and shades can take an average-looking layout on a book cover over the top and make it resonate with you. I recently helped Burnita Bluitt promote her book “Quiver of the Pure Heart” through JoeyTweets.com That book cover is a perfect example of how imagery and color schemes can come together to make a book into a piece of visual art.

Sex sells. A “beautiful” woman on a cover can catch my attention, but not completely for the obvious reason. I also look to see if the woman fits the story or if she is just eye candy. It’s a turn-off to see scantily clad women on book covers (stay with me) that don’t match the women they are portraying in the story. I hate it when there’s a luxury car on the cover, but the main character drives something mundane and run down.

A true test of a book cover’s power is its ability to catch the eye of a reader who is scrolling through a sea of book covers. One book cover whose imagery and layout stood out to me while I was scrolling through Amazon is “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan. A black background. A White woman with red-tinted skin. Simple, thin white letters. The visual made me ask, “What is this book about?”

BN: I read a great meme about “e-books versus paperback” … do you have a preference, or do you think it is silly that people can’t simply agree that both are great in their own way?

JP: As an avid reader and a professional book reviewer, I have come to prefer ebooks. They are more convenient to me because I can fit a library and a half into a Kindle app. And the Kindle app is much lighter than a ton of paperbacks. That Kindle app is on my phone, my tablet, my laptop and my computer. Being able to search for a specific word to find a particular passage to review is very handy when writing about a specific aspect of a story. So, for me, practicality can be found in ebooks.

Yes, I miss the smell of the books. I miss being able to thumb the outer edge of the pages and go to a specific place in the book. I miss the book cover being right there. But I don’t miss pages falling out. I don’t miss the awkwardness of trying to carry a bunch of books in a backpack. I don’t miss cringing when I unintentionally put a Dorito stain anywhere on or in a book.

I’ve come across quite a few people who are extremely passionate about paperbooks to the point where any love expressed towards ebooks is met with indignant comments. I’ve been sucked into a few debates after stating I preferred ebooks. I think that it is silly to get emotionally charged to the point where you have to argue or put somebody down, directly or indirectly. It’s not that serious. I’ve had people actually want to argue with me about the virtues of paperbacks over the evil ebook empire. I can’t. I like both.

The most important thing the printing press did for authors was make their literary expressions available for mass consumption. That’s all ebooks are doing: taking stories and making them digital as opposed to inked on paper. Readers read. They may have preferences, but a real reader will read a good story because it’s good first and foremost. A quality book in digital or paper format is still a quality story.

BN: How has writing changed the way you read?

JP: Writing has caused me to read more like a writer. I look at the way the author uses literary effects or flat-out good storytelling. I read to discern whether or not the dialogue and the narration supplement and complement each other. I look at misuse of words that can be mistaken for misspellings.

Writing has done something else to the way I read. I read with more respect. It takes a lot of time and effort to write, edit and publish a full-length novel. Even if an author’s story is low quality, I respect the fact that it’s published. There is a lot to be said about that. Yes, self-publishing has become fairly easy. No, everyone shouldn’t publish just because they can. But a published author is the one who stopped thinking and started doing.

However, I know so many highly-intelligent, unpublished authors who obsess over quality to the point where they are stagnant. They don’t want to publish because other authors are putting out “trash.” They are afraid to publish because they aren’t good sales people. All of these reasons lead to many great stories not being seen and read because of over-thinking.

BN: Do you have a favorite genre, or do you like to explore any and all books?

JP: I wouldn’t say “any and all,” but I’m definitely open to a wide range of genres and subject matters. Doing book reviews has exposed me to many books that I may have never taken the time to explore on my own. If I had to choose a genre, it would be Urban Fiction. A great Urban Fiction book has sex, violence and drugs, but it also has a compelling story.

With that said, I’m more open to a “compelling story” than partial to a particular genre.

BN: Have you ever found a book so disturbing, that you couldn’t finish it, or had to leave it and come back?

JP: Yes! I read and reviewed a book a few years ago that caught me totally off guard. It was about a young man figuring out that he was homosexual during a time when he was in a relationship with a woman. This characters experiences with the different gay cultures was unsettling at times. The author’s intent was to teach people about different gay lifestyles and activities while also teaching people what to look out for with men on the downlow or sexual predators that focus on boys.

I interviewed the author prior to reading the book. The interview didn’t give any impression that the book would be so graphic. Since I was paid to review it, I wanted to finish it to give a thorough and honest review of the whole book. I had to stop a few times to give myself room to deal with the images and situations that were presented. I wrote the review based on the quality of the book and not my personal preference.

BN: What question would you ask your favorite author, if you had the chance to ask only one question?

JP: There are so many great authors out there. From great personalities to great storytellers. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite.

If I could gain access to someone considered to be “one of the greats”, I would pose this situation and see how that author would answer:

If you had a choice, would you take a lot of money for writing books you didn’t like to write? Or would you take less money and huge readership who respect you for writing the books that are in you?

BN: Who are some of your favorite supporting characters? Antagonists?

JP: This is a great question! We get so wrapped up in the hero and/or the heroine that we tend to forget the little people who really make the stories pop: the supporting characters.

Off the top, Gabby from “Where Did We Go Wrong?” by Monica Mathis-Stowe. Oh man… If scheming was beauty, she’d at least be Miss America if not Miss Universe. It was a thoroughly guilty pleasure to watch her scheme and plot against her two best friends, of all the people in the world.

Along the same lines of scheming characters is India from “V.I.P.” by Azarel. She was the ultimate hustling groupie, but she wasn’t the smartest. Flawed and evil made for a great mix that made for a better book.

Simony Chiavary from “An Emotional Affair/Intimate Rivalz” by LaMont Wright is another powerful supporting character whose presence made a great story even greater. Sexy, exotic, intelligent and dangerous, Simony is that woman that would catch your eye whether you are a man or a woman. Amidst all that, she was just wanted to love and be loved…

Last, but not least, one supporting character that made a deep impression on me was Paula from “A Whisper to a Scream” by Elissa Gabrielle. Paula was Queen’s, the main character, best friend. Paula was Queen’s voice of reason during a time Queen simultaneously dealt with an abusive ex-boyfriend and her conflicts with dating a man outside of her race. I loved Paula’s no-holds-barred conversations with Queen. I had a crush on her while reading that book. Without her, the story wouldn’t have had nearly as much of an impact on the readers of “A Whisper to a Scream.”

BN: Have you ever absolutely adored an author, gotten to know too much about them or watched the writer in interviews, and been completely turned off? Even from reading their books?

JP: Yes.

BN: Whatcha’ workin’ on?

JP: I have a few writing projects in motion that I’m excited about. I’m going to keep them under wraps until they are almost ready to be published. I’ve been jinxed by announcing working titles and plots publicly, so I’m going to be quiet until I put the work in to finish these stories. Maybe I can come back and be interviewed about one of these upcoming publications.

BN: Do you have any excerpts you would like to share? (From books that are currently available, or works in progress.)

JP: From the short story “Like Father, Like Son”, featured in “Soul of a Man: A Triumph of My Soul Anthology”:

When I first met Mary, everything was cool between her and I. Andre made it obvious from the very beginning that he wanted his mother to have no parts of me. But what little man did? I wasn’t offended. In fact, I gave a silent ovation to his desire to protect the only person that had protected him. I never felt provoked to challenge his bond to his mother. Simply put, I was a stranger invading his space.

I went from courting Mary to actually marrying Mary. I proposed to Mary after church one hot Sunday afternoon in July. All of her family and friends present in the parking lot praising the King of Kings and appraising the engagement ring. Six months later, we married with those same family and friends in that same sanctified church. Hands down, it was one of the best days of my life even though Andre practically ignored me.

I remember hugging him and praying that God help him come to accept me as the man I was. In time, I wanted him to realize that I seriously loved his mother and had the same love for him. He showed no signs of appreciation. Instead, he pushed the buttons on his new Game Boy Pocket that he successfully begged Mary for.

I understood that position when he was a little boy. I gave him room to figure things out. He had to get used to having a father-figure after eight years of just having a mother. I took the lead and remained the adult. I didn’t embarrass him in front of his friends, I never laid a hand on him that wasn’t warranted and I never talked down to his mother during our disputes.

Over the years, the tension continued to build. At sixteen, Andre was where he was at day one: I was still a stranger invading his space. Despite all that resistance from Andre, I continued loving Mary like there was no turbulence, by the name of Andre, interrupting our relationship. I struggled against the strain of juggling life with an enamored wife and an egocentric son.

From “Swiggers”, featured in “Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation, Volume 1”:

Theodore Roosevelt Washington, known to everyone as Teddy, sat up from his sleep with a grunt. He squinted his elderly eyes at the analog clock perched on a shelf across the room, trying to see through its dusty face to the time.

He glided his thin, knotty fingers over his nightstand until his fingertips bumped into his glasses. He was pretty sure it was about three or four in the evening. That was about the time he usually got up from his noon nap.

“Dang, 3:47,” he exhaled. “Let me go see what these jokers are up to.”

Teddy sat up causing his bed to squeak and creak under his shifting weight. He rocked back and forth while rubbing his knees to warm up his old bones before standing.

Although he was physically sitting in his home, his mind was dead set on sitting in front of Pee Wee’s Market with other dirty old men, drinking liquor, cracking jokes and watching the “pretty young thangs” walk by.


“Theodore Roosevelt Washington!” Little Sammy smiled when he saw Teddy approaching their bench. Everyone called Samuel Jenkins, Sr., “Little Sammy” because of his short stature, his baby face and the handsome smile under his neatly manicured moustache. Although Little Sammy was the youngest member of their crew, he was well into his fifties and still worked at the paper mill as a second-shift supervisor.

“Man, get’cho tail in that store, get’cho drank and get on back out here,” Lomax growled. Lomax was as black as tar and as big as a house with a voice to match. Talking trash was the only way Teddy and Lomax communicated. From the outside looking in, they might have been mistaken for enemies.

“Forget you, you ol’…” The crew started chuckling in anticipation of whatever randomness was about to come out of Teddy’s mouth. “Old hairy… Son-of-Kong-looking joker! Y’all remember that movie?”

“I remember it,” Little Sammy said as he laughed.

Before stepping into the corner store, Teddy turned and asked the other men, “What time y’all got to take Funky Kong back to the zoo?”

He beat his chest with his fists as the door slowly closed behind him. Even Lomax laughed at Teddy’s unexpected monkey jokes.

Pete Johnson sat in silence among the crew. Confined to a wheelchair after being injured in the Vietnam War, Pete was the most reserved person in the group. He rarely spoke and started bringing his own pint of Crown Royal to the gathering. Pete Johnson stopped buying his Crown Royal from Pee Wee’s Market since Pee Wee passed away about a month ago. Before his death, Pee Wee sold his store to Abdul, an African Muslim whose father owned the other corner store in the neighborhood.

Awesome interview, beautiful excerpts. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Connect with Joey Pinkney online: