We're back on Monday with our regularly scheduled bouge but in the meantime... Book Club, anyone?
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Bougie Book Review
Monday morning dawned bright and early with emails from my publisher and agent: my little book, Heard It All Before, was reviewed by Publishers Weekly and they liked it. The book was picked up for sale by Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble to name a few… allow me to take a moment to say, "WOO HOO!"
From Publishers Weekly:
Grant's scorching debut follows the pursuit of love and happiness for Dallas girls Jewellen Capwell and Renee Nightingale and their possibly very significant others, Roman Montgomery and Gregory Samson. Marriage appears to be the golden goal, but, of course, the path to their respective altars is strewn with obstacles. For Jewel, a North Dallas girl of some privilege, it's her ex-boyfriend and Roman's preference to live in Big D's South Oak Cliff "hood" close to his clingy ex-wife and his son. Renee and Greg's Achilles heels are their roving eyes, leading to big trouble when each finds someone else to pique their amorous interest. Grant depicts their dilemmas with a pitch-perfect voice, delivering funny yet believable stories embellished with a gusto that readers who enjoy Carl Weber and Mary Monroe will relish.
So if you haven't taken a moment to visit Michele Grant's World to register for news and updates, check it out! And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…
Meet my publishing mate – Deidre Berry. She's written a fun and quick read about the bougie and beautiful Tori Carter. The Next Best Thing opens with Tori Carter, a super-fabulous event planner, on the day of her wedding. She has planned every detail down to the nth degree and it promises to be the black-n-bougie event of Kansas City. As she's standing in the church, she receives a text message from lowdown Roland informing her that he is actually in love with a girl that up until that moment he swore was "just a friend".
When it rains it pours: shortly after this blow, Tori is the victim of nepotism at her job and summarily forced to leave. So our girl Tori is man-less, jobless, living in a building chock full of drama and surrounded by meddling family and friends. Her neighbor Nelson is a hottie with serious culinary skills but is he all he appears to be? As Tori struggles to discover who she is, who's on her side and what real relationships are all about, we're treated to a great story of self-realization and empowerment mixed with plenty of laughs and romance to boot.
Here's a review from Booklist:
Tori Carter is a woman who knows what she wants down to the smallest detail, which helps her when she's planning her expensive, over-the-top, picture-perfect wedding. Everything goes according to elaborate plan until, an hour and a half after he's supposed to be at the church, her fiancé, Roland, sends her a text message telling her the wedding is off because he loves another woman. Shattered, Tori throws herself into her work as an event planner and very slowly eases herself back into the dating pool. It's hard going, especially when every date turns out to be a bum, a druggie, or some other form of lowlife; but with well-meaning friends and a large, concerned family, Tori is able to put her life back together. At least it seems so, until Roland comes back into the picture. With a strong, powerful female lead and feisty, tough women as her support, Berry's first novel is a fresh, vivid portrait of one woman's trying experience.
Four Purple Pumps! If you get a chance to order this or scoop it up, do so (it's available at the OneChele Amazon Store)– it's worth the read! Read any good books lately?
OneChele: Ms. Grant, thank you so much to agreeing to this interview today!
Ms. Grant (giving side-eye): Umm, sure but you realize that you are me and I am you so really we’re just sitting here talking to ourselves.
OneChele: You just referred to two sides of yourself as “we” so who is the crazy one here?
Ms. Grant: Moving on…
OneChele: That’s my line.
Ms. Grant (sighing): Let’s just move on.
OneChele: Yes, let us... we… me… nevermind. So, you have written a brilliant work of fiction entitled Heard It All Before. What kind of book is it and what is it about?
Ms. Grant: This is fun, relationship fiction. It’s about a bougie chick in Dallas-
OneChele: I’m shocked.
Ms. Grant (sucking teeth): ANYway, it’s about a bougie chick named Jewel in Dallas who literally bumps into a guy named Roman who lives in the hood and how with all their friends, family, and exes constantly dragging them into drama, they try and make a relationship work.
OneChele: So Rome and Jewel, is this a twist on Romeo and Juliet?
Ms. Grant: You know when I first dreamed up this plot over fourteen years ago, it really was. But the plot and the secondary characters just grew until I just decided to keep the names and work the book around them.
OneChele: So tell me more about Roman and Jewel.
Ms. Grant: Jewel owns her own home in North Dallas and runs her own temporary agency. She took a break from dating after her ex-fiancé decided to go back to his ex-girlfriend. She’s a little bit jaded about the relationship thing but she is immediately drawn to Roman.
OneChele: I take it Roman is fine.
Ms. Grant: Of course Rome is fine. Rome owns a landscape architecture company and his own home on the Southside of Dallas. He comes from a large Cajun family, was married once before and has a young son named Chase.
OneChele: Talk about some of the other characters.
Ms. Grant: Well, there is Renee – she’s one of Jewel’s best friends. She had a rough childhood and overcompensates for her insecurities by plotting, scheming and running game. A large portion of the story revolves around her game-playing with Gregory, the ultimate Bougie Buppie. There are also some fun characters like Jewel’s friend Roni Mae (who has taken to calling herself Veronique) and Rome’s brother Beau who is trouble in a pretty package.
OneChele: Sounds intriguing. How long did it take you get published?
Ms. Grant: Over ten years and twenty reject letters. The last letter I sent out, I had already decided would be the last letter… if it was rejected this time I would know I wasn’t meant to write professionally. Thankfully, the good folks at Kensington loved it and within four weeks of sending that letter I had a three-book deal.
OneChele: So there is more to come from Michele Grant?
Ms. Grant: Much more! And of course now that you, we, I… whatever! are having such a great time with the blog, there might be a book in some of these experiences too.
OneChele: So are the characters in the book based on people you know?
Ms. Grant: No and yes. First of all, I know no men like Roman or I would have clubbed him over the head and dragged him to the altar. Also, I tried to create unique and individual characters from scratch. But I will admit there are some definite thoughts, sayings and actions of my friends and family that creep into my characters.
OneChele: Did you put yourself, us, into the book?
Ms. Grant: Again, no and yes. A few OneChele-isms are in there and a few patented Michele looks and attitudes snuck into the plot.
OneChele: So when is the book due out?
Ms. Grant: Publication date is January 2010 but it is now available for pre-sale on Amazon with a late December ship date so – holiday reading!
OneChele: Any more sides/names of us?
Ms. Grant: Might be one or two more Michele-entities out there, you never know.
OneChele: There is one last thing I ask all of my interviewees: On the Sliding Scale of Bouge from Ghetto to Rarest Bouge, where do your characters and where do you fall?
Ms. Grant: Rome is regular, Jewel is a lil bouge. I tiptoe up and down the scale on a regular basis but usually hover around bougie.
OneChele: Well thank you for the interview, I look forward to reading the book.
Ms. Grant: I’m going to assume my BnB Bougie Book Review will be favorable?
OneChele: Don’t get ahead of yourself; we are strict here in BougieLand.
So now that you’ve read me talking to me, any questions for either of me? J Seriously though, if you like the blog –order the book! More details about the Michele Grant of it all can be found at my other “all business no bouge” website: www.MicheleGrant.net. Enjoy your weekends!
When she meets a Morehouse man, Jamison Taylor at a Spelman College dance, her whole life changes. Even though they come from different backgrounds (Jamison was not born with a silver spoon), their love for each other grows. They both plan on careers in medicine. They were going to be the perfect bougie couple. Despite the fact the neither mother approves of the match and Kerry can't seem to get accepted to medical school, they get engage and plan for the future.
Ten years later, Kerry is pregnant with their first child, when she discovers that Jamison is having an affair. She confronts the situation head on and winds up spending the night in jail for assault. Jail for Bougie Black Barbie? It's unthinkable. As their picture-perfect life shatters around them, Kerry and Jamison have to think back on their life choices and decide where it all went wrong and whether they can make it right.
I give it 3.5 slingbacks out of 5.