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A Summer of Surprises Blitz

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Romance, Women’s Fiction

A Seashell Cottage Book

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing


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Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook
for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew,
Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at
first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in
New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive

Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to
Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a
summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the
fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister,
followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns
to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy,
as the summer brings even more surprises.



Other Books in the Seashell Cottage Series:

A Christmas Star cover

A Christmas Star

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: November 2018


Two years ago, Noelle North’s then-fiancé left her waiting at
the church on Christmas—her wedding day and birthday. Now, she knows
she cannot endure another holiday season at home in Boston. At the urging of
four women at the assisted-living community where she serves as health
director, Noelle decides to rent Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida for the holidays. She meets Silas Bellingham, the cutest
seven-year-old boy she’s ever seen, and his great-grandmother, Althea.
Noelle discovers Althea’s caretaker has been abusing her and goes into
action, ending up with the temporary care of both Althea and Silas. Becoming
part of the Bellingham household has an entirely different series of
challenges when it comes to Althea’s grandsons, Jake and Brett, who
are having problems of their own with hotels to run and their parents
missing in a plane crash. But after sparring with her, Silas’ father,
Jake, realizes Noelle is just what he and his family need, and when she
finds the perfect Christmas star for Silas, they both know he’s


 Purchase on Amazon



Change of Heart cover

Change of Heart

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: June 2019


Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day
wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family
friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead
concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical
missions in Costa Rica.

Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his
disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a
husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill
her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New
York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower

It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might
want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa
Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until
something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.


 Purchase from Amazon





A Summer of Surprises phone, tablet, paperback






Jillian Conroy listened to her sister, Cristal’s, voice on her
cellphone and took a deep breath.  A call from her sister was always a

“So, start all over again, Cristal, and tell me exactly what it is
you want me to do.”

“It’s easy, Jill. My friend, Hope Thomason, now owns the
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and she just needs someone to
live at the cottage for the summer while we do our European tour, the one
we’ve been talking about for years.”

“That’s it?” It didn’t sound like something
difficult. In fact, it sounded like a great way to escape the memories of
the past, thought Jill. School would be out in another week, and she
didn’t have any exciting plans for her summer break from teaching.
Maybe some extended time on the Gulf Coast would do her good. But every time
she tried to do something for her sister, it cost her emotionally, and
often, financially. A requested lunch date would end up with Jill paying for
it. What was supposed to be a fun event of shopping turned into a nightmare
when Cristal pouted that the dress Jill bought was the one she wanted. Their
relationship had always bordered on the toxic.

“There’s one more thing. A friend of Hope’s family, Greg
Campbell, is an older man who’s agreed to do some work on the cottage.
He’s staying in one of the guest rooms for a few weeks until the work
is done.”

“An older man, you say?”

“Yes. He and Hope’s father are friends. They’re the same

Jill let out a sigh of relief. Too many friends had been pushing her to
start dating again. She had no interest in doing so. Not after Jay’s
death two years ago.

“Think about it. I’ll call you tonight for your answer.”
Cristal cut off the call before Jill could ask any more questions.

 Jill sat in a chair and stared out the window of the kitchen inside
the small bungalow she called home in Ellenton, a small town in upstate New
York. She should’ve sold it months ago. The memories she held of her
life in the house weren’t pleasant. She’d thought by clearing
Jay’s things out of the house following his automobile accident,
she’d be able to chase away the unhappiness she’d known with
him.  But now the space just seemed empty. And lonely.

Her thoughts settled on her sister. Three years older than she, Cristal was
the beauty of the family. Their mother had declared to anyone who would
listen that Cristal got her beautiful features, naturally blonde hair, and
bright blue eyes from a relative of hers, while Jillian looked like the
Davis side of the family. The comparison was painful. Without the highlights
she had to add every few months, Jillian’s hair was a dishwater tan.
Her hazel eyes held no trace of blue. Worst of all, Cristal’s tall,
willowy figure seemed to taunt Jill’s shorter, curvy shape. It was a
bad match-up all around. If it weren’t so much like a well-known
storybook scenario, it would be almost comical.

Restless, Jill got up and paced the kitchen. It wasn’t their
different looks that had made her relationship with Cristal so difficult. It
was Cristal’s tendency to manipulate others in order to get her own
way. Jill knew how foolish it was to keep old wounds stored inside, but
every once in a while, one poked through the shell she kept around herself.
How could she forget that Cristal stole her date in college, the one guy
she’d dreamed would be hers forever? It was just one of the ways
Cristal had hurt her through the years. A snort of disgust left Jill’s
mouth. She might not have even paid attention to Jay except Cristal thought
he was a hottie. How was that for stupid rivalry?

Before she could go any deeper with that thought, the phone rang. Jill knew
who it was before she even checked Caller ID. Her mother, Valerie Davis, had
a nose for trouble. No doubt Cristal had phoned her for support.

“Hello, Mom,” Jill said without enthusiasm.

“Hi, honey. Cristal called to tell me that she’s arranged for
you to have a very nice summer break. She’s so thoughtful that

“She asked me to do her a favor so she and her friend can travel to
Europe,” Jill said calmly, still uncertain as to whether she should go
ahead with the idea or even what it entailed. 

“Well, if you don’t do it, I’m sure they can find someone
else to stay at the cottage. It sounds lovely. You should be grateful to
Cristal for thinking of you,” chided her mother. “A whole summer
to relax.”

It would be useless to argue. “Maybe you’re right,” said
Jill. “I could use the break to get away.” The idea suddenly
appealed to her. This change in her normal routine might give her the
opportunity to think things through, make some major decisions about her
life, give her a fresh start. God knew she’d been in an emotional rut
even before Jay had been killed.

“Splendid,” her mother said with satisfaction. “I’m
glad you’ll help your sister out. It would mean so much to her. She
and Hope have been planning this summer tour for a long time, and poor
Cristal has been working very hard.”

“You mean as a hostess at the club in Miami?”

“Now, Jillian, she does the best she can, and with her looks, she
doesn’t need to spend her time teaching school.”

“Oh? Because I teach school …” Jill stopped herself. She
didn’t like the person she became when dealing with her family. Only
her father had accepted her for who she was, and he’d died several
years ago.

“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Jillian,” her
mother said with a note of apology.

“Look, I have to go,” Jill said. “I’ll let you know
what I decide.”

“Please do. I care about both of you and hope that someday you girls
will get along.”

Jill sighed. “Goodbye, Mom.” Though the day was ruined by the
familiar routine with her mother, the idea of escaping to a place far away
became tantalizing.

Later, while looking up information online about the Seashell Cottage, Jill
filled with excitement. The pictures of it were lovely. It was not simply a
cottage; it was a beautiful, three-bedroom, three-bath house that sat
overlooking a wide, sandy beach. The house even had a screened-in

Before she could change her mind or overwork the thought that something
must be wrong if her sister was involved, Jill punched in Cristal’s
cell number and, when prompted, left a message.

“Hi, Cristal. Jill here. I’ve decided to stay at Seashell
Cottage for the summer so you and Hope can travel. At the end of next week,
when school is out, I’ll drive down to Florida. I should be there by
June 8th and can stay until late August. Let me know if those dates work
with you and Hope.” Hating confrontation, she paused and took a deep
breath. “And, Cristal, thanks for thinking of me.”

That evening Cristal called. The noise of music and partying in the
background made it difficult to hear, but the message did get through that
Cristal was thrilled Jill would stay at the cottage. “You’ll
see. This summer is going to be good for you, Jilly. For both of us,

“I hope so,” said Jill honestly. She was more than ready for a

About the Author

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or
visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her


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The Spa at Lavender Lane Tour

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The Spa at Lavender Lane cover

Women’s Fiction
Date Published: May 7, 2020
Publisher: Black Rose Writing 

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Take a peek behind the curtain of wealth and glamour in
Phyllis Melhado’s sassy and sultry beach read. The guests who arrive for a
10-day stay at the nation’s premier spa at Lavender Lane seem to have
everything a girl could want: high-flying careers, social and financial
prowess, access to the top fashions and beauty products, and even a dash of
fame. Yet each woman is in need of rejuvenation from insecurities, flatlined
business motivation, or failed relationships – problems that will require more
than the spa’s renowned anti-aging quince cream to fix. As the women learn to
trust one another, they each figure out how to take a second chance at life,
and reclaim what’s most important.
The Spa at Lavender Lane tablet


Chapter Two

“We’re here, Miss,” the driver said, jarring Toni Etheridge from a state roughly approaching relaxation. She pushed her sunglasses up into her tousled auburn hair and snapped open her bloodshot hazel eyes, almost sorry the ride was over. The trip from LAX had provided the first pleasant moments in an otherwise horrendous travel day filled with an insane traffic jam on the way to JFK which nearly caused her to miss her flight, a terrible seat at the rear of the plane where the cabin staff were constantly rattling cans and refilling their carts and a raucous group of drag queens on their way to a competition in LA, who didn’t shut up for a minute during the entire five-hour flight.  But the capper was the sudden drop in altitude that put her stomach firmly in her mouth and sent her stumbling to the bathroom to make sure that her body had not betrayed her like it had done a few years before. Happily, what she found was just the result of a leaky bladder and not the catastrophe she had dreaded. 

“May I help you?” asked the good-looking young man as he opened the car door and offered his hand. He smiled broadly, gleaming white teeth set off by eager blue eyes and deeply tanned skin. Even though they were miles from the sea, Toni thought he had perfect California surfer looks, complete with thick, wavy blonde hair and a tall, well-built body.

“Did you have a good trip?” he inquired. 

“Good trip!” Toni grunted, pushing her glasses back down to shield her eyes from the southern California desert sun. “Do you really want to know?  

She leaned back and looked at him for a long moment, then laughed. “Of course you don’t want to know! I’ll spare you.” 

There was an audible sigh of relief. 

“Ms.,” the limo driver interjected, appearing with two mismatched and beaten-up travel bags.  

“Oh, thanks. You can dump my stuff over there,” Toni said, pointing to a collection of Gucci, Vuitton and Prada bags waiting to be delivered to the rooms of other newly arrived guests.

“Now, Michael?” she asked, focusing on the name badge pinned to the surfer boy’s neat white Lacoste shirt. “Where to?” She grabbed his arm and gave him one of her most engaging smiles.  

Michael smiled politely and tried to usher Toni in through the front door. “They’ll take good care of you at the desk, Ms…” 

“Etheridge,” Toni said, taking off her sunglasses, but making no move to walk in.  

“We’ve got to get you checked in quickly, Ms. Etheridge. Madame Demidova runs a tight ship.”

“I’ve heard that, Michael,” Toni said, toying with his nametag. I’m sure she depends on you to, uh, keep things moving.” She flashed him a coy smile. “And I certainly don’t want to get you in any kind of trouble.” 

There was an awkward pause. 

“I would sure appreciate that, Ma’am.” 

“Ma’am!” Toni shrieked. “Dear God. I’m not that old!”

“Of course not!” Michael said quickly as he encouraged her through the door to reception. 

“Ah, Ms. Etheridge,” the front desk clerk said. “Welcome!” But before Toni had a chance to reply, the cell phone buried in her huge tote bag began to ring. Damn, she thought, remembering the rules she had read in Lavender Lane’s confirmation letter: No men, other than staff, allowed on the premises. No loud talking in the public areas. And absolutely no cell phones. She began fumbling in her bag. “Shit!” she said, quite audibly. “Where is the damn thing?”

“Ah,” she heard a voice say softly. “You must be Antoinette Etheridge. We’ve been expecting you.”

Toni looked at the small, impeccably dressed woman who had silently advanced toward her. Clearly Chanel, and definitely the real thing — and oh-oh. It could only be one person.  

“Oh, dear. I am so sorry,” she said sheepishly. Her phone, which had migrated to the bottom of her bag, somewhere between a prickly hairbrush and a plastic bag full of broken pretzel bits, continued to ring. “Guess I forgot to turn the darned thing off.” Gee-sus. Do you believe this? Toni felt her face flower into a full flush. She rummaged around her bag and after two more excruciating rings, finally located the phone and turned it off. 

The woman in Chanel stood silently, a patient smile on her face.

“My apologies,” Toni said. 

“Nothing to be concerned about,” the woman said in a soothing tone. “You’re here, now, and it’s time to leave behind those dreadful little machines and all that New York stress.”  She offered her hand. “I’m Nadia Demidova, dear. Welcome to Lavender Lane.”


When Mavis Perkins was shown her accommodations, her gray-green eyes ignited with slow, icy fire. Her favorite suite, with some of the most magnificent sunsets in the western part of the United States, had been given to someone else, and this was simply not to be tolerated.

“What do you mean I can’t have my regular suite?” she asked, reveling in her haughtiest demeanor, making her cheekbones seem angled even higher on her fabled porcelain skin, while her chiseled nostrils arched in their most sanctimonious flare, as she pronounced the word “mean” with near biblical profundity.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Perkins,” Nadia answered, reaching for Mavis’s hand. Her apology was not an empty one. She always did her best to accommodate her clients’ wishes, especially those who were regulars. But as Nadia moved forward, Mavis pulled away. She simply would not be touched.

Nadia wondered how she was going to handle the situation without breaking a confidence, and for a moment she nearly succumbed to temptation. It would be so much easier just to tell Mavis who was in “her” suite, but she couldn’t. Word simply could not get out. Eleanor was a highly visible spokesperson for her company, and if the media or the internet ever got hold of information about her plastic surgery, the perception of Lavender Lane as a retreat steeped in absolute discretion would be totally destroyed. 

“I am terribly sorry that your favorite accommodations are not available this visit. I know how much you like that particular suite.”

“Like it,” Mavis intoned. “I practically own it. Let me remind you that I have been coming here two, sometimes three times a year for more than a decade.” She glared at Nadia. “You add that up, it comes to a hell of a lot of cash.” She kept her eyes fixed firmly on Nadia, not allowing her a second’s grace.

“Yes,” Nadia said looking directly back at Mavis, “and you know how much we love having you here.”

“Well, I’m beyond disappointed, Madame Demidova. It never occurred to me that I might not have my usual suite. You know how particular I am.”

Nadia remained poised. “Yes…of course, Mrs. Perkins. But let me assure you that you will be more than satisfied with this suite. As you can see, it’s exactly the same, only at the other end of the house.”

Mavis appraised the sitting room with its familiar cream-colored sofa, graceful deep-green potted palms and delicately carved Cherrywood armoire, then turned her gaze slowly back to Nadia. 

“Well, if it’s the same damned thing, why couldn’t you just put whoever the hell is in my suite at the other end?”

Nadia studied the difficult woman who she knew was accustomed to always getting her own way. Telling Mavis the real reason without going in to any details might get her to settle in.

“May I speak to you in confidence?” she whispered, summoning up a bit of the actress she had developed during her brief career as a ballerina.

Nadia’s tone spoke volumes, and Mavis was intrigued. Usually interested only in herself, she became curious about who might be ensconced in the coveted suite. Warming to the notion of hearing something of special interest, she leaned forward. “Of course,” she said, pursing her lips in a half-smile.

Nadia leaned forward as well, her petite frame no match for that of the regally tall Mavis Perkins. She put her hand on Mavis’s arm, and looked up.

This time, Mavis did not move away. “The guest has just had some extensive work done,” she said, “and things don’t seem to be going as well as one might expect. I’m afraid she’s forced to stay a few days longer than any of us had anticipated.” 

“I see,” Mavis responded, curiosity in full throttle. “Anyone I know?”

“I doubt that you have ever met this woman,” Nadia said, choosing her words carefully because, in all likelihood, Mavis knew who Eleanor was. “The poor dear…” she continued. It was imperative that Nadia diffuse Mavis’ curiosity. “It would be so kind to just let her recuperate in peace.”

Mavis arched one meticulously tweezed eyebrow, then relaxed into a measure of acceptance. This was a problem with which she could identify. She lived in dread of the scalpel, having seen more than a few botched jobs among her friends in Chicago’s best circles. 

Nadia had taken a calculated risk, but it seemed to have worked.

“Very well then. Have someone fetch my bags. And please send a masseuse up ASAP. I’m simply exhausted from the trip–not to mention all this unpleasantness about the rooms.”

Nadia had only just checked the massage schedule and was quite sure that the “therapists” were all booked, but she could not possibly say no to Mavis Perkins at this point.

“Certainly, Mrs. Perkins.  Get yourself settled in, and someone will be up to take care of you in a little while. And Mrs. Perkins, will you be joining the others for dinner this evening, or will you be dining in your suite?

“Oh, I think I’ll come down to dinner. First night, you know.” During her frequent stays at Lavender Lane, Mavis often had meals sent to her rooms, but Nadia was sure that she was not about to miss the initial dinner, with its overview of the guests in residence. 

“Then we’ll see you at seven, and thank you for being so understanding about the suite. A masseuse will be up in just a little while, and, of course, the service will be complimentary to show our gratitude for your kindness.” She smiled graciously, then quickly summoned one of the attractive young attendants to bring Mavis Perkins’s considerable luggage up to the Mariposa Suite as soon as possible.

“Whoever you have to switch around,” Nadia cautioned Phoebe a few minutes later, “please make sure that Mrs. Perkins gets one of the better therapists.”

Phoebe peered over the top of the tortoise shell glasses which were perennially perched just below the bridge of her nose, a conspiratorial smile spreading over her angular but handsome face. “Without question. We can be sure that if Mrs. Perkins’ massage is anything less than celestial, we’ll hear about it.” 

They both had been subject to more Mavis Perkins incidents over the years than either of them cared to remember. 

“Not to worry. I’ll take care of it straight away.” 

“Good. And please do your best to get back here as soon as possible. From the looks of this group, re-arranging a couple of massages will be the least of our problems.”      

About the Author
The former Vice President of Public Relations for Estee
Lauder, Phyllis Melhado has had her work published in Town & Country,
Cosmopolitan, and The Scarlet Leaf Review. She has also ghosted a best-selling
beauty book as well as a nationally syndicated beauty column. She earned her
Master’s degree in Communications from NYU and lives in New York City. The Spa
at Lavender Lane is her first novel. To learn more about Phyllis and her work,
visit https://www.phyllismelhado.com.
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The Match Disaster Blitz

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Romance, Women’s Fiction
Published: March 2020
Publisher: Lulu
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This is a story about a middle-aged woman who recently got divorced and thought she was open to companionship. She was very apprehensive about opening her heart again after being hurt badly by her ex-husband. To her surprise, she met someone on Match.com that seemed like the man of her dreams. They had so much in common and really enjoyed each other’s company. He managed to convince her to be open to the possibility of falling in love again.
She ended up giving this man her heart only to find out that he wasn’t the man of her dreams at all. He wasn’t like her ex-husband but he had just as many issues. She found it difficult to be the woman that he needed her to be while not compromising her integrity and moral standards.
This story is told totally from her point of view. She is finally able to tell the love of her life everything that she wanted to say throughout their relationship. She is able to express her perspective on all the events that were occurring in their lives without feeling like she is being ungrateful for the good times but imagining the bad times.
She will take you through five years of her relationship. Will she figure out that she deserves so much better than how she was being treated? Or, will she talk herself into saving this relationship and giving her one true love another chance?
The Match Disaster tablet, phone, paperback
Chapter 1
We met on Match.com about a month after a short friendship with someone I met on ChristianMingle.com.  Although, that situation didn’t end well, I thought I would give online dating one more try and boy was I glad I did. I met you.  I was on Match.com one day and I noticed that you looked at my profile.  I decided to say hi to you through the Match.com app.  I was pretty shy about reaching out to guys that I didn’t know, but what did I have to lose?  The only thing that could happen was that you didn’t say hi back.  To my surprise you sent me a reply and it wasn’t just hi.  We began to talk and things got interesting pretty quickly.
Initially, I didn’t know how things would end up because you very blunt and to the point and I really wasn’t used to that.  I would ask you how your day was and you would respond, “It sucked.”  I thought to myself, this guy has a bleak outlook on life, but then one day when we were chatting online about your job, you made me laugh.  I said to myself, maybe he’s not so bad after all.  You actually had a sense of humor.
We talked frequently via the Match.com app for about 3 weeks.  We talked about how many children we had and their ages. Between the two of us, we had 4 boys.  You also told me that you had a daughter, that you raised, but she wasn’t biologically yours.  I really found that honorable.  You told me that your children lived with you, but it wasn’t because their mother passed away.  This also impressed me.  It definitely wasn’t as common for the man to have full custody of his children.  You asked me about my ex-husband and if he was involved in my children’s life.  At the time he wasn’t and you were very upset by that.  You just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t an active participant in the children’s life.  I had some of the same thoughts, so this was a sensitive subject for me.
One day we were chatting on the Match.com app and you told me that you had many more stories to tell me about work and the horrors of online dating, but they would be easier to tell me over the phone.  I figured that was your way of hinting that you wanted my phone number, so I finally gave it to you.  I remember the first time you texted me, I responded and then asked who I was talking to.  You responded, “It’s Thomas.  Didn’t your mama teach you not to talk to strangers.”  That made me laugh.  I liked that you made me laugh.  We progressed from texting to talking on the phone, but it took about a week.  During our first call, you explained why you took so long to call me.  You told me that you had been sick and you didn’t want me to hear your voice like that.  Our very first conversation lasted for over 2 hours.
You told me so many stories about the horrific experiences you had with online dating.  They were so funny but disturbing at the same time.  It was a good thing I met you before hearing those type of stories because your stories made me question the process of online dating.  I asked you why you opted for online dating.  You were a very handsome and intelligent guy.  You had a successful career as an Engineer at a great company.  You could probably get any girl you wanted.  You told me it was because you didn’t hang out at the typical places that would allow you to meet someone and there was definitely nobody at your job who you be interested in dating.
It was amazing to me that I felt so comfortable with you right away, which was unusual for me.  It was like we knew each other forever.  After that first conversation, we talked on the phone almost every night for hours about various topics.  We talked about everything from work, politics, pop culture, music, relationships and so many other things, including what we expected from our significant other in a relationship.  During one of our conversations, you told me that you didn’t believe in traditional roles between a man and woman in a relationship.  You explained that you were looking for a partner and wasn’t planning on supporting anyone, anymore, after taking care of your ex-fiancée.  We discussed how you expected for whomever you were dating to help pay for the dates.  This would have normally been a turn off for me, but I actually understood what you were saying.  In my marriage, I was the one paying for everything, all of the time, so I didn’t mind contributing and helping to pay for our dates.  You told me that you didn’t mind paying for the first date but after that you would expect for me to pay for the second date.  You even told me a story about a girl you went out with and how she acted like she didn’t have money to pay for a second date that you were on and how you refused to pay.  The story was kind of funny, but I was horrified at the same time.
You told me that one of your biggest flaws was your temper.  You explained to me that you didn’t give people too many chances and that your first impression of a person was usually a lasting one for you.  You were very honest and told me that you were a stubborn person and you had no intentions of changing who you were.  You stated that either I liked you for who you were or I didn’t.  I appreciated the fact that you were honest and upfront about who you were.  I learned from my marriage that you can’t change people.  They are who they are, so I had no intentions of trying to change you. I felt if I couldn’t handle who you were, I would just end the relationship.
We were just talking on the phone for a little over 2 months when one night during our conversation, you asked me if we were ever going to go out on a date.  We were taking things quite slow, but I thought it was nice that we were taking the time to get to know each other before our first date.  The truth is, I was actually waiting for you to ask me on a date because I wanted to make sure you wanted to meet me like I wanted to meet you.  I was afraid of rejection, so there was no way, I was going to initiate that first date.  You asked me for a date that night and I definitely said yes.  I couldn’t wait to see if we had the same connection that we had over the phone, once we met in person.
We were so excited about our first date that we talked about it every day on the phone up until the actual day of the date.  You kept changing your mind about the plans for that night.  You asked me multiple questions about what I was going to wear, while you were trying to determine what you were going to be wearing.  I had my outfit ready as soon as you asked me to officially go out on a date however, I didn’t plan on telling you about what I was going to wear.  I just wanted you to see me in it.  I expressed to you that I was nervous about meeting you because I was the total opposite of the girls you were normally attracted to.  I was short, brown skinned, independent and very opinionated.  You explained to me that you weren’t worried about the fact that I was different from the girls you normally dated and that my differences were a good thing.  You never dated anyone who had a Master’s degree, owned their own home and was career driven.  You said you were looking forward to being with someone who had those qualities.
Our first date ended up being pretty low key.  We went to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we intended to watch the UFC fight.  I got there about 20 minutes early because I was so nervous and I didn’t want to be late.  I remember sitting there waiting for you to walk through that door.  When you came in you looked at me and smiled. I was relieved, because you looked just like your picture.  I went to shake your hand and you pulled me in for a hug.  That surprised me since we really didn’t know each other, but I didn’t mind it.  I had on a green and black asymmetrical skirt with a black body shirt and a camouflage jacket that matched the skirt, with some black boots.  I thought I was looking pretty good.  I hoped you liked my outfit because I did.  You were wearing a tan Nautica sweater with some dark khaki pants and black shoes. You were also wearing your glasses.  In your online pictures you were wearing contacts, but I liked glasses on you.  I remember thinking that you looked very nice.
I was so relieved that you were so friendly, especially with us meeting for the first time.  We were seated and the conversation flowed as smoothly as it did when we talked on the phone.  I felt absolutely comfortable with you. The restaurant was playing country music on the radio and I started to sing the song. You made a face and I asked you what was wrong. You told me how you didn’t like country music because of a bad experience you had as teenager working at a barbecue joint in North Carolina.  You told me about the racism you encountered at that restaurant and how that turned you against country music.
When our waiter came over to take our order he was very rude. I must have given him the “look”, because when he walked a way you told me to behave myself.  I didn’t realize that you caught my reaction until you mentioned it, so I began to laugh.  You would quickly learn that I could keep my opinions to myself, but I definitely couldn’t control my facial expressions most of the time.
During dinner, I mentioned how my oldest son wanted a dog.  This was a subject matter that you were well versed in so we spent a large part of the date, googling dogs on your phone. You were determined to help me pick a suitable dog for my son that would also serve as protection.  After the UFC fight was uneventful, you asked me if I wanted to go to the movies.  I don’t know what got into me, but I was following you to your car.  You said, “You’re going to get in the car with a stranger?” I said no and started to laugh again.  I was so embarrassed as I walked to my car.  I normally wouldn’t have even considered doing something like that, but I was just so comfortable around you.  It felt like I had known you all of my life.
We traveled to the movies in separate cars.  I followed you in my car, because I didn’t know the way to the movie theatre that we were going to.  We ended up seeing the Jennifer Lopez movie, “The Boy Next Door.” The movie wasn’t that great but the overall night seemed like a good first date.  We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.  You paid for the entire first date, however I was prepared to pay for the movies, especially since you told me how you felt about paying for everything. The next day, you texted me and told me that you had a good time.  Although you said you had a good time on our date, I was unsure about whether you would ask me out on a second date. During that week, you asked me out again.  We made plans to meet at Dave & Buster’s for our next date.
About the Author
Latesha Kellam is an author who takes her life experiences and puts them into words that will inspire others. She wrote her first story at the age of 14, about the events surrounding the unexpected death of her father. During the current phase of her life, she has the desire to not only write inspiring books but to help people, especially woman, recognize when they are in dysfunctional relationships. She lives by the old adage, experience is the best teacher, therefore she takes events from her own life to inspire her writing.
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Eating the Forbidden Fruit Tour

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Crime Fiction / Family Drama / Women’s Fiction
Date Published: March 30, 2020
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Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on true events in author Roland Sato Page’s life. The newcomer author delivers a personal journey into his rise and demise as a St. Louis City Police Officer. He takes the readers on a roller coaster ride of good ole family memories to the nightmarish reality of being a police officer indicted on federal drug charges. During his trial, he wrote memoirs as a testimonial of redemption. Roland’s case stems from the conflict of his childhood affiliation and his oath to uphold the law. What is certain is one can’t run from sin for karma is much faster.
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I will never forgive myself for turning my back on him (father). I wish I could turn back the hands of time. Thursday I told my father, “Go fuck yourself.” Saturday evening he passed away from a heart attack. Never had the chance to say “I love you pops.”



“Face down! Face down! Ordered to the ground with multiple knees on my back. The nightmare was in full effect. Early noon as a St. Louis City Detective I was booking in a suspect. Late that evening the FBI were booking me in on federal drug charges. 

About the Author

Roland Sato Page was born in Brooklyn New York in a military household with a mother from Osaka Japan and a combat trainer father with three war tours under his belt. He grew up in a well-disciplined home with five other siblings. As he got older his family relocated to St. Louis where the author planted his roots and also pursued a military life in the Army Reserves.
Roland married his high school sweetheart and started a family of four. Roland joined the St. Louis police department were his career was cut short when he was convicted of federal crimes due to his childhood affiliation.
After enduring his demise he rebounded becoming a famed a tattoo artist opening Pearl Gallery Tattoos in downtown St. Louis Mo. The company grew into a family business yet another unfortunate incident tested his fate. He was diagnosed with Lupus which halted his body art career. However, with tragedy comes blessings. Roland’s sons took over the business and propelled the shop to a higher level. Roland consumed with depression began writing to occupy the time. With a newfound passion, he traded visual art for literary art. 
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Seeking Glory Blitz

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Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Outskirts Press
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2019 CIPA EVVY AWARD – Merit Award Women’s Fiction
Life is never static. Just when you think you finally have everything under control, that illusion is shattered…and the life you once knew has spun off in unimaginable directions. Seeking Glory is an eloquent novel that explores the complexities of family relationships. With themes of loss, recovery, estrangement, and reconciliation woven throughout, it tells the story of a woman who seeks to uncover the truth about her young granddaughter’s origins.
Kate takes custody of her young granddaughter Glory after the death of Ally, her long missing daughter but soon discovers that Glory is mute and seemingly traumatized. To help her, she must try to solve the mystery of her granddaughter’s origins. As she struggles to deal with her own and Ally’s past she finds she is not the only one seeking Glory.
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About the Author
Patricia Hamilton Shook was born in Massachusetts and while she has lived there most of her life, she also spent twelve years in the San Francisco Bay area where she obtained a B.A.in Psychology and a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University. Soon after her marriage, Dr. Shook returned to Massachusetts where she obtained a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University while raising the their two sons and working part time. Reading has been a favorite pastime since she first began combining letters into words on a page and while her chosen profession has provided many opportunities to write, she has always dreamed of writing a novel. In writing Seeking Glory she combines her professional expertise with an interest in spirituality and mysteries–along with a love of Cape Cod that dates back to childhood–to inform her debut novel Seeking Glory.
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