A Writer’s Running Log, Day 6

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 6 – 4.1 miles

  1. I’m about to go out on my first run with my girlfriends…who are both marathon runners. And it just hit me – not wanting to run with them probably has less to do with me being a solitary creature and is in fact all about not wanting to embarrass myself. Either way, they’re not buying what I’m selling and have let me know that we are running together and there will be chatting.
  2. Can I really run 4 miles? Without stopping? Ummm…yes, in fact, I can.
  3. My girlfriends from above, the ones I was nervous about running with – during our run, one of them turned to me and called me “dangerous.” I love her.
  4. Also, I lied. I was totally chatty throughout the run. And it’s nice to run alone, but I think running with them upped my game. I averaged a 10:01 mile.

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A Writer’s Running Log, Day 5

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 5 – 3.2 miles

  1. Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On got into my bones during this morning’s run.
  2. I like running alone. Tomorrow I have my first run with two girlfriends who are already amused by my desire to wear my headphones and be non-social while we’re together.  I think they think I’m playing…
  3. Despite the treasured alone time, I must admit to always being aware of my surroundings and the fact I am very much alone as I run. It’s a woman thing – we are always on guard, we have to be. I shared this with a friend today and asked him whether he ever worries about being alone on his runs, already knowing his answer: No. Never.
  4. I decreased the time of my mile to 10:53. Not sure I can do much better – that felt really fast. Despite the fact it is not fast at all.

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#Writing Contemporary Romance: AMAL, Part 11

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I’ve been so caught up in The Keeper Series and promoting DUTCH and getting ready for the release of JUMA and mentally preparing myself to begin editing DEATH, that I completely forgot about my contemporary romantic threesome, Amal and Jackson and Andrew.

So while we wait for JUMA and all of her beautiful magic to land on folks’ eReaders, how about a little more Jackson and Amal and Andrew and whatever the hell they’re up to now…


CHAPTER EIGHT – ANDREW

Infidelity.

Cheating.

Adultery. 

Duplicity.

Immorality.

Deception.

You didn’t wake up one morning and tell yourself, you know what, today is the day I’m going to pull some really foul shit out of my ass and fall for another man’s woman. You didn’t walk down the street, listening to your music, thinking of ways to violate the silent promises made between two lovers. You didn’t stroll into a bookstore to buy the required reading for your last year of law school, expecting to bump into the most stunning woman you had ever seen in your life. And you sure as hell didn’t expect that woman to have a mouth and mind damn near as dangerous as her body.

It didn’t happen. Ever. Until it happened to me. And then everything that was moving so fast, light speed towards becoming the most brilliant attorney in a family tradition of attorneys, came to a screeching halt with three simple words: Amal Warrier Naipaul.

I don’t think I’ll ever remember what hit me first, her smile or her growl of a voice or her ass that demanded all of my attention and honestly, I don’t think it mattered. Because once she entered my line of vision, everything ceased to exist but her.

When she walked out of that book store without ever looking at me or telling me her name, I knew I would follow her and do whatever I had to do to get her name and number. Because even though I knew she had someone else — women like her always had someone else, it was an inevitability of being so fucking exquisite — I didn’t care, I didn’t think about them, they were inconsequential to my game plan. So when she forgot her syllabus, I snatched it off the counter and followed her up Broadway, finally catching her on the corner of 116th street to return it, even though I hated that motherfucker Professor David Andersen — smug bastard —  because I knew this was my chance. Now or never. Speak or forever be haunted by that stunning creature.

The funny thing is when she told me her name, her voice inched slightly higher and the pulse at her throat raced and I realized the slim chance existed that whatever I wanted from her, she wanted something from me as well. And yeah, I had that effect on women more often than not, but mostly because they knew my last name and the expanse of my family’s wealth, not because they were interested in me, as a person, separate from all of that money and prestige and upper east side bourgeoisie. 

It was different with Amal Warrier Naipaul. 

How could it not be different with a woman who insisted on giving me her full birth name when introducing herself? Who did that? No one but Amal Warrier Naipaul. 

She didn’t know me, she had no idea about my wealth, and she definitely did not know the numerous and storied branches of my family tree. There was no flicker of dollar signs when our eyes locked, no sadness mingled with pity when she recalled my mom’s death, no twitch of irritation when she tallied all of the women who shared my bed. There was none of that because she didn’t know me at all.

I had a clean slate with her, a blank page upon which to write a new story, and I had every intention of making sure that story ended how I envisioned: happily fucking ever after.

That was until I learned three other words: Jackson Rashard Davis.

And my happily ever after seemed a dim possibility.

“Did you contact Dr. Davis for dad’s fundraiser?” my older brother, Dax, partner at Maynard Brothers, whiskey connouisseur, serial betrother, asked all those weeks ago. 

“No, I did not,” I growled in response, my nose deep in an argument for my final moot court competition, “one, because I don’t know the man and two, because I don’t know the man.”

“You’re a Maynard for god’s sake,” Dax replied as he paced the room, “maybe here and there, instead of using the name to collect more pussy than is humanly possible to consume, titillate, and fuck, you could use the name for some good in this world.”

“Said the man who’s been married five times,” I laughed and closed my notebook. 

Dax tossed a stack of papers my way and grumbled about something or other, annoyed I brought up the wives, annoyed I was right about the wives. 

“What’s this?”

“Not what. Who? Jackson Rashard Davis,” Dax replied, “son of Dr. Davis. Sadly, he does not skateboard, mostly because he is older than thirteen and has some goddamned sense, but I’ve heard he’s nasty on the squash court and an outright killer at lacrosse. Perhaps the younger Davis is more up your alley.”

“Fuck you, man,” I laughed as I flipped through the photos, “shit, this guy’s perfection. His clothes, his smile, his fucking wingspan. I don’t want to be in the same room with him.”

Dax peeked over my shoulder and grimaced, “I’ve done it and trust me, these shots don’t come close to the magnetism that guy gives off. It’s sick. He’s smart, funny, charming, down-to-earth, and real. Ten times the man his father is, yet he dotes on the old man’s every last word.”

I listened to my brother go on about Jackson as I continued flipping through the photos until I came to one and froze. 

The woman from the bookstore. With the dirty mouth and body made for all kinds of sin. And that voice that made me hard just thinking about how it curled around everything, all low and sexy.

Amal. 

Amal Warrier Naipaul to be exact. Every perfect, brown, beautiful inch of her, wrapped around Jackson, her head tossed back, both of them laughing. They were stunning and breath-taking and for two seconds, I found it impossible to move. 

“Ahhh,” Dax caught a glimpse of the shot in my hand, “Ms. Naipaul. Amal Warrier Naipaul, of the Doctors for Hope Naipauls. Scion of her family, a writer instead of a surgeon, and Jackson’s one flaw.”

“This woman is no one’s flaw,” I shot Dax a look and he grinned.

“Oh yeah, she’s perfection, don’t get me wrong. She’s stunning, smart, and talented, with a body that makes everyone stop and take notice. Added to all of that is the fact that although she comes from money, she’s not good at this world, the charming, the buttering-up, the air kisses and fake friendships, all which makes her quite endearing,” Dax explained, “but Dr. Davis fucking hates her. And he makes it known he hates her. And let me tell you, it’s awkward to be around when the old man gets going, but I have to hand it to Jackson. For being the son who always yes-sirred his father, he’s stood his ground with that girl. He will not give her up.”

I knew I could find her if I wanted, mostly because as Dax so rightfully attested, I was a Maynard, meaning I could get someone to look under every rock necessary until I knew every last detail about her. And trust me, there were many nights I lay in bed next to some woman I met here or there or anywhere, listening to the quiet sounds of her sleep, all the while wondering about the woman in the bookstore and whether or not she was fucking David Andersen. Which I knew she was not, nor that she wanted to, but if I relegated her to that one moment, that one conversation about that motherfucker David Andersen, then I knew I wouldn’t fall into the abyss of wondering about her everything. This way I kept her contained, boxed in so to speak, and she didn’t overtake my entire life. 

Because she couldn’t.

As much as I wanted my life to be all about learning every last detail of Amal Warrier Naipaul, I knew that could not happen, would not happen. 

Because Amal Warrier Naipaul already had Jackson Rashard Davis. And because I was not the type to interfere with great love. 

So instead I won Moot Court, edited my last law review article, graduated number three in my class, and aced the bar exam. All things expected, but done with an intense fervor in hopes of wiping out any thought of the woman with kissable brown skin, a voice full of sex, and lips meant for all kinds of bad acts. 

And for the most part, it worked. I kept myself ridiculously busy, wrapped in other people and things, time sucks and fucks, mostly meaningless but distracting nonetheless. I started working at the family firm and teaching a class at the law school once a week, I bought a new apartment, I spent six weeks in Africa, I met a woman named Reese, I settled into adulthood.

I never once considered touching Amal Warrier Naipaul, I didn’t fantasize about her, I damn sure didn’t jerk off to her. As much as I could, I forgot her. 

Until. 

“Andrew, take one for the goddamned team,” my eldest brother, Theo, argued across the dinner table. 

Since I could recall, my family had eaten dinner every Sunday together at 7 on the dot. Our mom began the tradition when she noticed our dad getting sucked into his home office too often on the weekends and us boys running wild with various sports and adventures and no one ever having the time to spend ten minutes in each other’s presence. 

She announced it the night before Thanksgiving the year I turned ten in that way only Kate Maynard could do, steely-eyed and serious-toned with a hint of laughter underlying it all.

“Boys,” she began, “that means you, too, Brax,” which made us hoot and holler and point at our dad until she shot us a look that shut us up in seconds flat, “beginning this Sunday, we will come together as a family every week to have dinner at 7, no excuses tolerated.”

My dad and brothers began to grumble and grouse, one having a date, another needing to prepare for a meeting, another needing to study for an exam, but mom wasn’t hearing it. She let them go on for a bit, buttering her bread and passing me some green beans with a wink, then tapped her plate with her knife and demanded quiet. 

“I said no excuses and I mean no excuses,” she picked up her fork and continued, “you will all be here, you will all be on time and that is final.”

And so it began because quite frankly, when Kate Maynard decreed anything, the world listened. 

When she died four years later, succumbing to the aggressive ovarian cancer that stole her from us in under ten months, my aunt stepped in and made sure we never missed a Sunday dinner until my dad was ready to make the tradition his own. It made us all feel closer to mom in those immediate months following her death and probably saved us as a family, forcing us together during a time of such extreme duress. More than one of those dinners turned into full-blown emotional breakdowns, but the four of us broke down together, sobbed and raged in each other’s presence, then calmed and moved forward as a unit. Without being there in the flesh, rather like some guardian angel watching over her boys, mom saved us all. 

It was so very Kate Maynard.

“Fuck the team, Theo,” I cut my steak, swigged some whiskey, and groused, “I’ve got plans and even if I didn’t, it’s your turn.”

We attended so many galas and functions and charity events, that we put ourselves on a schedule, each taking turns spending the evening with dad and one of his million and one pet projects. 

“I realize it’s my turn,” Theo pushed his glasses up his nose and pointed at me with his knife, “I just need a favor. And fuck your plans.”

“Theo, that’s no way to speak about Andrew’s conquest for the evening,” dad caught my eye and joked. 

“Come on, dad. Not you, too,” I set down my knife and fork and poured another drink. 

“Just stating facts, Andrew,” dad laughed, “and the fact is you have more women in one month than the three of us will know in one lifetime. I get exhausted watching you.”

My brothers laughed and even I couldn’t help but smirk. It was rare dad commented on our personal lives, feeling it was mom’s domain and out of respect for her memory, he hardly ever trespassed the invisible line created in the sand with her death. Did we miss some sage advice over the years, could it have helped Dax avoid his trail of bad marriages or Theo his broken heart at the hands of a beautiful French woman? Possibly. Would it have made a difference with me and my used and abused mattresses? Definitely not, but that didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the moments dad wandered into the advice-giving arena. 

“But since you apparently have the stamina of sixty men, then you most definitely can handle your date and my fundraising event. We’ll go together,” he pointed his knife at me and winked, “I’ll see you tomorrow at 6:45 sharp.”

Theo smirked while I leaned back in my chair, sipped my drink, and silently cursed my brother.

“And cover the tattoos, Andrew. It’s a respectable function, I expect you in your tux.”

Which explained how months after crossing her path in the Columbia book store, I came to be in the same room as Amal Warrier Naipaul.


Oh Andrew, he’s so respectable and yet…

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Love Magic Reckoning – JUMA – 6.6.17

JUMA
The Keeper Series Book Two

6.6.17

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JUMA, the second book in The Keeper Series, continues the thrilling, sexy urban fantasy saga that began with DUTCH.

I work for Death; helping her cross the dead back to the living. I am the best at what I do, and I fear no one.

Then I cross paths with Dutch Mathew and all I hold sacred is turned on its head.

Dutch is an uncontrollable force of nature, and I want nothing more than to wrap myself around him for all of my lives. Our love is desperate like a sickness, blinding in its madness, suffocating in its intensity. Together we are light and laughter and all things beautiful, but we are no fools. We know darkness looms. Dutch has tried to topple an entity he cannot hope to wrangle alone. Death is ever-demanding in her quest to control and bend me to her will. And a new, darker threat has erupted and runs amok, bringing with it dread and terror and a fight like no other; one where the stakes are high and the winner takes all. In this game of lives, Dutch and I need each other to stand strong. But first we must be strong enough to stand together.

It’s difficult for me to put into words how excited I am for this book to release. Written during some of the most tumultuous moments of my personal life, the pages of this novel are covered in my blood sweat and tears. Every breath matters, every touch is timeless. And by the time you close its cover, I hope to own your soul.

Because yes, I am evil like that.

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Pre-Order Now:
HERE for Amazon
HERE for Kobo
HERE for B&N
HERE for iBooks
HERE for Google Play

A Writer’s Running Log, Day 4

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 4 – 3.4 miles

  1. After mile 1, the pain in my heels disappears
  2. I improved the time on my mile by 11 seconds
  3. People and dogs in the running path are loathsome. I’ve always felt that folks who run with dogs are assholes. Now that they are in my way with their dogs, I know for a fact they are assholes
  4. I need a playlist with lots of Jane’s Addiction. That thought popped into my head as I passed an asshole with his dog. I don’t know why, but it did. And I do. Need a playlist with lots of Jane’s Addiction.

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A Writer’s Running Log, Day 3

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 3 – 3.1 miles

  1. Shoes really do matter. I laughed at my friends Meisha and Mei as they talked to me about shoes and where to get them and how much to spend. But the fact of it is they were right – shoes make a world of difference. I bought some New Balance on Thursday from Super Runners World in midtown, near my office, and used them for the first time this morning. They’re the first new sneakers I’ve purchased in years and if I keep up this running thing, I can see how sneakers are going to become one of my main expenses. My run felt so different this morning with my feet well-cared for in these babies. 
  2. My mile is slow AF. I started using the Map My Run app during this morning’s run and at every mile, the woman’s gentle voice interrupts my music to let me know I’ve completed another mile. Slow. As. Fuck. Is she mocking me? That thought crossed my mind and I seriously contemplated it because I am quietly a competitive motherfucker and the possibility of being mocked by my app kind of got a little under my skin. Right now my mile is at 11 minutes. I would like to think it’s because I (foolishly) took the scenic route through my neighborhood and all of the hills slowed me down, but it matters little. 11 minutes is 11 minutes is 11 minutes. It sounds horribly slow.
  3. The hills. As much as I abhor the suburbs and living out here in West Orange, it is gorgeous. Stunning. The trees are magic. And running around here is a treat for the senses. That said, I should have thought it through a bit better this morning when I ventured off my path and headed up up up Walker Road. UGH. The hills around here are a bitch.
  4. Kanye West was a beast. Music is my thing, which by no stretch of the imagination means I listen to good music, only that music I love can motivate me like nothing else. Kanye West’s Black Skinhead is such music. I haven’t heard that song in a hot second and forgot just how get-off-your-fat-ass-and-move it is. Those drums, that beat, the chanting – total super hero theme music that had me running hard for it’s entire 3:06 minutes.

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Five Randoms About The Keeper Series

The Nine Hash Marks: when I began developing The Keeper Series in 2015, I figured like The Sanctum Trilogy, I would self-publish it. So as I neared the final chapter of DUTCH, I touched base with my magic friend, Michele Mason Holmberg, that brilliant woman who designed my covers for The Sanctum, and asked her to put something together for DUTCH. I told her I wanted it to be both dark and sexy and I needed a symbol I could use on all three covers. I also mentioned that Juma had nine lives and Dutch had to end each of them. Michele came back a few days later with her dark sexy cover and these babies – the nine hash marks. They’re ominous and full of foreboding and I love them like nothing else. So much that I insisted St Martin’s use them on my covers. So much that they’re tatted on my right inner forearm. They are Dutch and Juma. They are chilling. They are perfect. Thank you Michele. For everything.

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Kash Kalish:  the soft-spoken Keeper too kind-hearted to keep – is based upon my favorite uncle. In my mind’e eye, Kash is tall and handsome, with a meticulously maintained beard, twinkling mischievous eyes, and a laugh that makes you want to join in on the fun. In other words, my uncle to a tee. Much of my personal life is interwoven in the passages of The Keeper Series, sometimes purposeful – like the first chapter of DUTCH – sometimes by accident, like Kash. It’s probably what every single person who is friends or family with a writer fears, but in the case of Kash, I can say with confidence, were my uncle ever to read his character, I know he’d be proud.

Poochas: my parents are from India. South India to be more precise. Trivandrum and Calicut to be exact. They both speak Malayalam, the language of their state of Kerala. Dutch Mathew and his family live in Kerala, inhabiting the halls of Trivandrum’s Kowdiar Palace with their special brand of fuckery. But I digress because I’m not here to talk about Dutch, but rather Juma and Poochas. I came up with the main premise of The Keeper Series one day while walking up the street in my old neighborhood, thinking to myself how the word for cat in Malayalam is “poocha”, and cats have nine lives, and wow – I could create a character who has nine lives and another character who has to kill her nine times and she can be called a Poocha because it’s a cool name for a character type and a subtle shoutout to my folks and my roots. Soon after, I started plotting and planning and the rest is Keeper Series history. Also, the way my brain works…yeah, there’s that…

Old Scout bourbon: my dark nasty sexy Keeper, Dutch Mathew, lives on a steady diet of sex, cigarettes, and bourbon. Old Scout bourbon, if you’re keeping score, because trust me, he is. I’ve had plenty of folks email and message me, wondering whether Old Scout is real and if so, where can they get some because they want to try it. It is very real, straight out of Appalachia’s Greenbrier County, it is very amazing, and if I could, I would live on the stuff. But since I cannot, I let Dutch do the honors. Distilled by the good folks of Smooth Ambler Spirits, who also make a mean gin, Old Scout is 99 proof perfection and I highly recommend finding out whether a store near you sells it. If they do, go grab some and thank me later. (full disclosure: my girlfriend’s husband is Smooth Ambler’s President of Sales, which means when she visits, we get bottles of all kinds of deliciousness.)

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Juma’s name: a few months ago, while thinking about Dutch and Juma and writing The Keeper Series, I experienced a random epiphany about the way my writer’s brain works. I was describing my character, Death, to my publisher, and realized with a start that she is kind of a brown Uma Thurman. Somewhere deep in my brain, I always knew this because every time Death saunters onto the page, I see a brown-skinned Uma in that yellow jump suit and that killer body from Kill Bill. But with her Pulp Fiction hair. Because that hair – gah – I always loved a good bang. Even though Death seems so Uma, I really didn’t put two and two together until that conversation with my publisher. It was then I also realized Juma, as in the name not the character, might be an homage to Uma as well, as in Uma + J. Because for real, I love me some Kill Bill and The Bride. Not quite like my love for Rihanna and her everything, but pretty freaking close. Close enough that Uma is probably all up in my writing without me even knowing it.

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Books I and II of The Keeper Series are available now, so grab your copies and get lost in the dark magic that is Dutch and Juma: 
HERE
 for Amazon 
HERE
 for Kobo 
HERE
 for B&N
HERE for iBooks
HERE
 for Google Play

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#NationalPoetryMonth – Day 29

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DRESSING ROOM

today I walked into
my dressing room
looked around at all of the
sequins and tulle and
beautiful raw silks
touched vintage dresses
and handmade saris
ogled hangers draped with
favorite shirts and
skinny jeans
and then donned
the armour of
The Badass
and as I stood
before my mirror
ran my hands over my
hips and thighs
spun around in a circle
and smiled
I realized
this outfit right here
the one that is pretty and smart
chic and sophisticated
and screams
do not fuck with me
even if you know
my soft spots
this outfit
has always been
my favorite


April was National Poetry Month – one of my favorite times of year, despite the fact this year I failed in my goal to post a poem everyday. I wrote them, I just never quite caught up on the posting part. The lawyering is crazy and I’m selling my house and shit happens. Today’s goal, as was yesterday’s, as was the day before’s: FINISH.

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#NationalPoetryMonth – Day 28

FreeWrite.SOLITUDE

SAY MY NAME

my name
on his
lips
is
elysian


April was National Poetry Month – one of my favorite times of year, despite the fact this year I failed in my goal to post a poem everyday. I wrote them, I just never quite caught up on the posting part. The lawyering is crazy and I’m selling my house and shit happens. Today’s goal, as was yesterday’s – FINISH.

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#NationalPoetryMonth – Day 27

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WHILE YOU SLEEP

5 am
the witching hour
of words and blues
and rhythm and fire
poetry
when sleep lives
on the lips
of lovers
and the calm
is palpable
and my solitude
has a name
full of
wondrous
dance and frolic
that thrums a
beat in my blood
and gets lost in
the mellifluous sound
of my
quiet


April was National Poetry Month – one of my favorite times of year, despite the fact this year I failed in my goal to post a poem everyday. I wrote them, I just never quite caught up on the posting part. The lawyering is crazy and I’m selling my house and shit happens. Today’s goal, as was yesterday’s – FINISH.

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