Spotlight Wednesday: Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin

Sometimes hope has a way of changing everything…

Just hours after giving birth, Eli Bell is forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Devastated, she tries desperately to rebuild her shattered life.

Then, over thirty years later, Eli catches sight of her daughter. And she knows that she must do everything to find a way back into her life. Even if it means lying…

While her husband Tommy must grow to accept his own part in the events of her early life, he can only try to save her before her obsession with the young woman ruins them both.



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About the Author

Em muslin has worked in the film and television industry for over 20 years. She first fell in love with reading and writing after experiencing Judith Kerr’s ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. She hasn’t stopped devouring books ever since.

She loves words that capture an experience or emotion in a singular form: her current favourite, describing herself, is ‘nemophilist’.

Em’s writing focuses on the texture of domestic life, relationships, family and the pressures of social convention. Her characters are often fighting to become the hero of their own story, searching for hope, despite the adversities that life inevitably brings.

Book Blast Tuesday: A Chateau for Sale by Carrie Parker #giveaway

Kate is living an idyllic life in the Kent countryside until she falls in love with her new neighbour, Nick.  She still loves her husband, Alastair, and she doesn’t want to choose.  Inevitably, she has to, but escaping with Nick to his château in southern France proves to be the worst decision of her life.

The betrayal of her beloved husband, Alastair, leaves Kate racked with guilt, but things are only going to get worse. She never imagined how fiercely loyal Alastair’s best friend, Richard, would prove to be . . . nor the devastating consequences of his loyalty.

Instead of the new start that she’d hoped for, Kate’s life at the château descends into a nightmare, taking her to the brink of despair . . . and when you’re desperate you’ll do anything.

What starts as a romance soon takes a much darker turn as the dramatic and unpredictable plot unfolds, twisting and turning, always with the château at its centre.

The novel captures the essence of rural France, from the descriptions of the countryside and villages to the insights into the lives of the locals and in-comers alike.

An ideal holiday read, A Château for Sale is also a cautionary tale for anyone dreaming of starting a new life in the sun!




The Rye Bookshop, Rye, East Sussex, UK


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Born in Yorkshire, Carrie Parker graduated from Royal Holloway College, University of London, with a degree in chemistry and no idea of a career.  An extended road trip across Europe and as far east as Iran convinced her that the career had to involve travelling the world.  Eventually, after gaining a PhD in biochemistry and some time spent working as an editorial assistant on a science journal, she took a job in New Zealand.  Returning to the UK a few years later, via south-east Asia, she began her career in overseas development which lasted for over 20 years and took her all over the world.  On the first of many working trips to India she met her husband and in the late 1990s they moved to south west France where they lived for several years, working as consultants.  Returning to the UK, they split their time between East Sussex and Crete.

Writing has always been an important part of Carrie’s work and, whilst in Crete, she started to write fiction.  In 2015, now settled on the beach in East Sussex, she decided to write full time.  The result is ‘A Château for Sale’, published in early 2017.  Her second novel, set in New Zealand and Crete, is expected to be published early in 2018.


Goodreads Author Page:

Meet the Author: Interview with Nicole Falls

Visiting Authors & Readers Book Corner today is author, Nicole Falls. Falls is a contemporary Black romance writer who has “become the Russell Westbrook of Black Indie Romance” written on her vision board. She is also a ceramic mug and lapel pin enthusiast who cannot function without her wireless Beats constantly blaring music. Other things she loves include Trevante Rhodes, Kofi Siriboe; both of whom she’s willing to risk it all for. IT. ALL. When Nicole isn’t writing (or lusting after chocolatey actor baes), she spends her time trolling her friends and family while drinking coffee and/or cocktails or checking off yet another of these great United States visited in her quest to see some land! She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. She stopped to share her publishing experience and to share her current title, Smitten.

A&RBC: Tell us about your publishing journey.

It happened by chance. Well, not completely…but mostly. I’ve been writing and/or making up stories since I was a young kid. I had aspirations of being published by a major publishing house in high school, but resigned myself to it never happening in college. Along the way though, I kept writing. Whether it was academically, on my personal blog, or in various writing exercises with friends who were aspiring authors, the fire dimmed, but never was fully extinguished. In early 2016 I was listening to a Deborah Cox song “The Morning After” and an idea for a short story came to me. I jotted down a skeletal idea in an app I used for writing at the time and commenced to writing it a short while later. I shared the idea with a friend and she was intrigued.

While writing the short more and more things about these people were revealed to me, so I decided to not put restrictions on its length and just kept writing. What resulted was a novella length work. I shared (most) of it with exactly three people. They really liked it, but they were also my friends so I felt they were contractually obligated to say they did, LOL. The same friend with whom I’d shared my initial short idea was killing it in the indie publishing lane, so I got on board with releasing this via Amazon very quickly after conversation with her. After some hemming and hawing (& a profanity laced threat from more than one friend), I hit publish and Nicole Falls was born.

I’ve only been published for just under a year now and honestly? It has been one of the most rewarding periods of my life. One of my love languages is praise, so it is very exciting to have people read my work and let me know that they enjoyed it. Readers of indie black romance are some of the toughest critics and to know that they’re rocking with me? It’s a high not easily replicated.

A&RBC: What genres do you write in?

For now, I only write contemporary romance. I’ll probably dabble in women’s fiction at some point when I have a bit more time to focus on longer projects.

A&RBC: What are 4 things you believe every writer should have when starting a writing career?

– The desire to tell a story: This seems so basic, but if you are not writing because you were led by a gnawing desire to tell a certain person (or people’s) story then what are you even doing here?

A well-stocked bookshelf: It doesn’t have to be plentiful, but it should be varied. A mix of fiction and non-fiction, a variety of genres and writers. You should be exposed to many writers and varied writing styles. This will be key in helping you develop your own style, imo.

An unwavering faith and confidence in yourself: This is something with which I struggled at the beginning of my writing career. I’m talking about before even completing and finishing my first work. It took way longer to come out than it should have due to me not completely being confident in my place in the literary landscape. Be sure you know who you are and what you want to attain via writing. This will help sustain you if/when you receive bad reviews, ahaha!

Writer Friends: I cannot even put into words how it is important to have a community of peers around you. Non-writers don’t always get it. Having people around you who understand the “voices in my head”-ness of it all keeps me sane. It’s also aspirational when you see your writer friends outchea killing the game with each release. There are so many who inspire me to keep going and push through when I feel like throwing the towel in.

A&RBC: Do you believe every author should be an avid reader?

Absolutely, as the proverb says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” As I stated earlier, I believe that reading writing across a broad variety of genres greatly enhances a writer’s skillset.

A&RBC: What has been the most challenging and rewarding thing for you as a writer?

The most challenging thing has been beginnings. I often go into a project knowing the meat of it, but not really where it all began. I’ve actually been stalled on a project because I tried starting it in several places and none of them seemed to be right.

The most rewarding thing is complete strangers connecting with my words. It’s one thing if your friends and family read your work and compliment it, but when someone who doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall identifies with your characters or says such and such part made them feel any range of emotion…there’s no greater high. My favorite thing ever is being tagged in social media posts or receiving messages from readers.

A&RBC: Tell us about Smitten.

Smitten is a typical boy meets girl story. Coming off of Adore You, I wanted to write a story about strangers with undeniable chemistry connecting and seeing what came of it. Celena made an appearance in AY and she stuck with me, so I knew her story would be next.

A&RBC: Tell us about Celena Payne.

Celena is the anti-Nicole, LOL! I told so many friends that she really caused me to stretch the bounds of my writing because some of her actions and reactions are so unlike how I’d comport myself in similar situations. She is sweet, unflinchingly loyal, and ultra-forgiving.

A&RBC: Tell us about Karim Holt.

Karim is a boss. There’s no hesitance in his actions. He’s a man who is sure of himself and what he wants for his life. He adores his mama, but isn’t a mama’s boy. He’s remarkably solid, self assured, and compassionate.

A&RBC: What new projects are you working on?

I’m in the process of putting together a semi #sekrit project that will hopefully be out in the world by the end of this month. If you’re following my website, you’ve gotten a small taste of what’s to come. I wanted to challenge myself to do a certain thing and then it spawned an idea for a whole project.

I’m also plugging away at Celena’s sister Pat’s story. She and her hero are giving me a bit of a hard time, but I’m hoping they’ll be ready for y’all by the end of Q3 of 2017.

A&RBC: Tell us where readers can find you.

Currently on social media hiatus right now, but you can find me on the interwebs at. . .

More on Smitten

Celena Payne was heartbroken. Ghosted by her most recent ex, she was over the whole “romance thang”. Instead she was focused on her career, family and friend, until…

Karim Holt had recently moved back to his hometown to help his mother care for his ailing grandmother. Between family obligations and opening a new business, he was a busy man, with little time for socializing. A spontaneous night out led to…

A chance meeting. Sparks flying. Romance brewing. Celena and Karim’s undeniable chemistry alter their lives in ways neither could have imagined.

Sneak Peek of Until Ray by Cheryl Robinson #giveaway

Two people in the same city but worlds apart.

Until Ray is an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.


He lives in northwest Detroit with his mother. When he’s not at home, he’s either at the mall selling women’s shoes or in the club. In both places, he’s focused on one thing—picking up women. Only now he’s ready to make a change but isn’t sure how to do it.


At twenty-four, she has an MBA, is a CPA, and works in upper-level management at GM. But all that success comes at a cost: she’s lonely and craves the one thing she’s never had—attention from men.

Dive into a love story filled with soul-searching drama told from two very different perspectives. Until Ray, the first book of a trilogy, is set in the mid-eighties in Detroit, where the author was born and raised.

Excerpt Chapter One


 “If it isn’t Raymond Saint. What’s up, man?” I hear a familiar voice coming from behind me as I pose in front of a floor-length mirror in the women’s shoe department at Hudson’s admiring the suit I just got out of the layaway at Man-oh-Man. I have two more to get out next payday.

Joseph Morris steps into my view, and I turn to face him. “Joe, man, what’s up? I haven’t seen you since we graduated.” We share a brotherly handshake. “How’ve you been?”

“Couldn’t be better, honestly. Life is real good. I’ve been in town for about a week, visiting family. I’m actually flying back tomorrow. I was just picking up a few things before I go.”

“You moved out of state?”

“Yeah, after I graduated from U of M. I’m starting my second year of law school at Stanford.”

I’m pretty sure Joe’s father is an attorney or a doctor, one of the two.

“Man, good to hear that.” Joe was part of the crowd I hung with at Cass Tech. I’ve been out of high school since 1980. Six years now. Damn, that’s a long time to still be doing nothing.

“I see you’re still staying sharp.” Joe brushes my lapel.

“Trying to.”

“So, man, what are you doing these days?”

“You know, the usual. Right now I’m just waiting for my girl.”

He nods. “Where did you end up going to school? It’s hard to keep up with everybody. Cass is so big, and we knew everybody, didn’t we?”

I place one finger up to signal for Joe to wait, and then I unclip my pager. “This is my girl paging me right now actually. I need to find her.” I’ve got to get rid of him before he finds out the truth and every Cass Tech alumni knows that the guy voted most likely to succeed is now selling shoes. Why am I in denial? I’m sure most of them already know.

“Really, that’s cool. I was on my way out. I got what I came for.” Joe raises a Hudson’s shopping bag.

“Ray,” I hear the forceful voice of a female. I turn to see Cynthia Meyers. This has the potential to get real ugly, real fast.

“What are you doing here?” My eyes lock on Cynthia, and Joe disappears— even though he’s still standing here.

“It’s a mall, not your house. I don’t need an invite.”

“You need one if you’re coming to talk to me. What do you want?”

“Why did you stop calling me and stop taking my calls?”

“Well, man, ah, it was good seeing you,” Joe says. “I’ll let you handle your little situation.”

“Little situation?” Cynthia eyeballs Joe. “I’m a lot more than that.”

Joe nods at me and quickly leaves.

“Well, why haven’t you called me?” Cynthia asks again.

“I’ve been busy.” I work my way between two of the tall clearance racks, seeking some privacy. Luckily, my manager won’t be in today. But there are three female customers browsing.

“Busy doing what? Selling shoes?” Cynthia flips one of the size-seven pumps off the rack. “Hudson’s doesn’t stay open twenty-four hours, seven days a week.”

“Please tell me why you’re here.”

“Why I’m here?” Cynthia snaps. “Because I want you to tell me why you stopped calling me.”

“Do we have to talk about this here? I’m working.”

“You won’t talk to me any other time, so yeah—we do have to talk about it here. Unless you’re ready for me to act a complete fool at your job. If I’d known you were going to act this way after we had sex, I never would’ve slept with you.”

I shake my head as I stare at her. S.omeone so pretty acting so ugly“I don’t believe that, ” I say.

“I don’t know why not!” she shouts.

“Please lower your voice,” I whisper and watch two customers walk out of the department, leaving only one woman trying on shoes. “Because you had sex with me and didn’t even know me. That’s why.”

“So?” Cynthia has a hand on her hips.

“So? All you had was my first name and telephone number scribbled on the back of an Olga’s receipt.”

Read the first 4 chapters here:

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About Cheryl Robinson

Cheryl currently resides in the Sunshine State with plans to return to her hometown Detroit shortly. For the past fifteen years, she has been busy writing contemporary women’s fiction. While writing is her first love, making delicious green smoothies is easily her second. She also enjoys spoiling her miniature Schnauzer and whipping up healthy meals from recipes she finds online.