Friday, July 23, 2010

An Inconvenient Friend by Rhonda McKnight

About the Book

I've been completing quite a few online interviews about An Inconvenient Friend so I decided to put together this short question and answer session about the novel. Click to listen.

Available wherever books are sold on August 1, 2010. Learn more about Rhonda at and scroll down to read and/or listen to chapter one.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Inconvenient Friend by Rhonda McKnight

Now the first chapter.

Click below to listen to Part 1 of the excerpt.

Click below to listen to Part 2 of the excerpt.

An Inconvenient Friend


Rhonda McKnight

Chapter 1

I stepped into the classroom marked “Women’s Bible Study” with a mission in mind that had nothing to do with Jesus. I was going to get to know more about my man’s wife and use what I learned to steal her husband. This place they called holy ground was about to become a battleground. The plan – “Operation Steal Greg.”

“Is this classroom C?” I made sure to add just the right mix of airhead and sweet church girl to my voice. The door was clearly marked, but I had to say something, because I was late and all the real church sisters were already seated and staring.

A plump chick in her late thirties jumped to her feet like someone yelled happy birthday and she was popping out of a cake. “Yes, sister, come in. Have a seat,” she said swaying an open palm in the direction of the chair she’d vacated.

I smiled, tight, took two steps to the left and away from the over eager beaver. “Thanks.” I crinkled my nose and pointed. “I’ll take something over there.”

Big girl looked disappointed, but my choice of seating was strategic, so I wasn’t giving in to sad puppy eyes. I flicked a lock of my hair over my shoulder and did a visual sweep of the occupants. Twenty or so women were dispersed throughout the room in small groups that reminded me of cliques in the high school cafeteria. I could tell they were the kind that chewed you up and spit you out like the mystery meat that followed Tuesday’s spaghetti.

Since they were staring, I put a little extra motion into my well practiced jig. Forty eyeballs followed the rhythmic gliding of my hips as I made my way to what I thought would be the perfect seat to make observations; the vacant back row. I rested my Dolce Gabana handbag on an empty seat, picked up the Bible that lay in wait for me, and as a final gesture for the royal nosies, wiggled down into the chair and crossed one knee over the other.

Try that, I thought, noticing more than half the occupants in the room were overweight and hard pressed to cross any extremity over the other.

I turned my attention to the woman behind the podium whom I figured must be the Bible study teacher, if that’s what you called the presenter at a thing like this. The only study groups I’d attended were for school. Church wasn’t my thing. I had never quite figured out the purpose for it all and as far as I could see most of the hypocritical, nasty, back biting Christians I worked with everyday hadn’t either. Nah, I’d taken a pass on the church thing – until now.

“Hello.” The teacher met my gaze. “I’m Sister Green. Welcome to women’s Bible study.” Then, with an uncomfortable cough, she dropped her eyes to the book she was holding.

So much for introductions.

“Let’s go to the sixteenth verse and if you would Sister Hawkins, read down to verse twenty-one for us,” Sister Green continued.

A wiry woman not too far from me stood to her feet and began reading, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful…”

I tuned her out, after all that wasn’t the reason I was here. I craned my neck left and then right looking for the person I’d come to see, but she wasn’t here. I’d only seen Greg’s wife once, from a distance, when I’d lurked outside a charity event he’d slipped and told me they were attending. Angelina Preston had long hair that fell in an angled bob down her back. No one’s ‘do’ fit the bill from where I sat, and because I was in the back I couldn’t see any of their faces. I hoped I hadn’t wasted an evening coming to this gathering of stuck up, sanctimonious, women for nothing. I snapped the Bible closed I’d had open across my knee and began tapping my heels impatiently. Just when I was about to call it a wrap, the door opened.

Angelina Preston swept into the room looking like an African-American corporate Barbie doll in a chocolate St. John suit, Jimmy Choo sling backs and matching handbag. I let my mental calculator go to work. The woman was wearing close to a thousand dollars worth of gear and that didn’t include the rocks in her ears or the one that for sure was weighing down her left hand.

I squirmed in my seat. I wanted to curse, but remembered I was in a church, so I bit my tongue. Talk about a bad sister. I uncrossed my legs and watched Angelina glide across the short space and slide effortlessly into a seat, her featherweight hair billowing like smoke behind her. She turned to the women on her left and right, offered them a few words and a quick smile through perfect teeth and looked to Sister Green.

“Sister Preston, we’re glad you’re here. I’ll turn the lesson over to you.” Sister Green moved away from the podium like someone had told her there was a bomb underneath it. From the awkward way she had been conducting herself before Angelina showed up, I could tell she wasn’t one for public speaking. Her role as teacher really had me wondering about the church thing already.

Angelina stood and peeled off her jacket as she made her way to the front of the room. “Good evening, ladies.”

Her voice matched her corporate persona. It had that Demi Moore husky quality that was great for business, but also sexy to a lot men in the bedroom. “Hmmm, something else to hate about her,” I murmured under my breath.

“Thank you for excusing my tardiness. It couldn’t be helped. As most of you know, I’m on the board for the Department of Youth and Family Services and thanks to the media, you’re probably also aware that we had a child death last night that necessitated an emergency board meeting this afternoon.”

“How is the family, Sister Preston?” One of the women asked. A solemn pallor had fallen over the room. I vaguely remembered hearing something about a three-year-old foster child dying from an unexplained fall. I shuddered at the thought.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the new reports. The family is outraged, understandably, but I’m not able to discuss the case.”

The women seemed to understand that. I had no idea Angelina was affiliated with child welfare. What thankless work for someone who – well – didn’t have to work at all.

“We can pray for the family after the meeting.” She closed the subject neatly. “Let’s pick up where we left off last week.”

“Sister Preston.” Big Girl stood and careened her neck in my direction. “We have a guest.”

Darn, I didn’t need anyone pointing me out. I was trying to be incognegro, but it was not to be so. Angelina wasn’t going to be rude and ignore a sistah like her predecessor had. She tilted her head ever so slightly and her mouth eased into a smile that was full of sincerity. “I apologize for not noticing. I’m Angelina Preston, the women’s adult education coordinator for Greater Christian Life. Welcome. Please tell us your name and anything else you’d like to share with the group.”

I wasn’t sure how introductions were handled in church, so I stood to my feet and stated the lie I’d prepared for this moment. I hesitated for a second, wondering if I was supposed to call myself sister. But then I realized Angelina hadn’t put “sister” in front of her name, so I nixed it.

“Good evening, ladies. My name is Rae Burns. I’ve been coming to the church for a few weeks now. I live in Roswell. I’m single and I work as a healthcare consultant.” I plopped down in my seat, shocked that perspiration had dotted my top lip.

That coming to the church a few weeks part was not true. Tonight was the first time I’d stepped foot in this church or any church that hadn’t been for a wedding or funeral. I was thinking with nearly two thousand members that no one would know this was my first visit. I was obviously wrong, though, because a few of them looked between each other, comparing mental notes, shaking their heads that they had not seen me at their service. I ignored them. I only cared what one woman thought and that was the one who was looking directly at me.

“We’re glad to have you with us, Rae.” Angelina’s delivery was warm, sincere. “We hope that this evening is the first of many journeys into the Bible with us.” After an appropriate pause for welcomes and nods from other women in the room, Angelina resumed her discussion of the lesson.

I resumed my studies also. From her appearance to her public speaking skills, the way she threw her hair over her shoulder and the classy way she held her swan-like neck. Every word, every movement, every thing about her was so polished. Her persona seemed to be perfected to convey one resounding message. I am the hotness with a capital “H”. Don’t mess with me.

It was starting to get on my nerves, because I was going to mess with her and I hated the fact that I was starting to feel intimidated. I mean as far as looks, she was predictably what I expected. A doctor’s wife – classy. A handsome doctor’s wife – beautiful. But I did notice one thing that I wouldn’t have guessed, not based on Greg’s old southern money, Louisiana upbringing. Angelina wasn’t from the south. This surprised me, because the southern gentlemen usually married the belles who understood them, but northern she was.

I had studied a lot of accents. She spoke that clipped English that well-to-do black folks from up north chirped in their superior northernly way. My guess was this diva was from Jersey or Connecticut. Greg and I had never talked about it. The one thing he was unwilling to talk about after his romps with me was his wife, which was a big “why” for me. Why no complaints like most married men? The complaints were what usually soothed their dogged guilt. His lack of flack about the Mrs. made me wonder how Greg soothing his? Surely he had some.

Angelina Preston was attractive, classy, well bred, and my guess would be educated. But obviously, as my mama always told me, all that glittered wasn’t gold. Her husband was in my bed.

I let out a long sigh. I was no fool. I understood how the cheating husband thing worked. Most men didn’t leave their wives, because they actually loved them or something like that. Chicks on the side, I had learned early on, fell into one or two categories. The first was what I called “something different.” This would be a woman that was completely different from the wife; usually a real freaky-deak who probably traveled with handcuffs and a portable pole. She was willing to do the things wifey had never done or didn’t respect the Negro enough to do anymore. But she was a distraction. A way to make the man feel better about his boring home life.

The second category and the one I preferred to be was “the new model.” That was simply a younger version of the current wife. From my experience, more often then not, the younger version was more common, at least amongst the upper middle class men I spent my time with. Their wives didn’t stroke them in the right places anymore. First and foremost, the ego and then…well let’s say most of the married men I’d dated didn’t think they were getting enough sex. I liked being the new model. It held more promise. After all, who was going to actually leave their wife for a freak? You couldn’t take a freak to a business dinner or a charity affair, but you could take the new model anywhere and everywhere and that’s what I had in mind. My future.

I squinted for a better view. Now that Angelina was really close up I could see the similarity; same complexion, bone structure, height – heck, did we get our hair wrapped at the same salon? I thought, patting my shoulder length tresses. Add ten years and fifteen pounds and I was already Mrs. Gregory Preston. I clucked my teeth. I didn’t like what I saw. The woman was darn near perfect, which meant this might be more difficult than I’d originally thought. But I was up to the challenge. Nothing in life that was worth having came easy and getting my claws into a successful surgeon like Dr. Gregory Preston would be worth whatever I had to go through, including this boring study lesson. Besides, starting over with another man was out of the question. I needed big money, soon, or I was going to lose everything I had.

An Inconvenient Friend is available August 1, 2010 wherever books are sold.

Learn more about Rhonda at and

Thursday, July 08, 2010

An Inconvenient Friend by Rhonda McKnight


In Secrets and Lies, Samaria Jacobs tried to seduce Dr. Jonah Morgan. Now she’s back in An Inconvenient Friend. Her creed is “If at first you don’t succeed, try…try…again.”

Samaria Jacobs has her sights set on Gregory Preston. A successful surgeon, he has just the bankroll she needs to keep her in the lifestyle that her credit card debt has helped her grow accustomed to. Samaria joins New Mercies Christian Church to get close to Gregory’s wife. If she gets to know Angelina Preston, she can become like her in more than just looks, and really work her way into Greg’s heart.

Angelina Preston’s life is filled with a successful career and busy ministry work, but something’s just not right with her marriage. Late nights, early meetings, lipstick- and perfume-stained shirts have her suspicious that Greg is doing a little more operating than she’d like. But does she have the strength to confront the only man she’s ever loved and risk losing him to the other woman

Just when Samaria thinks she’s got it all figured out, she finds herself drawn to Angelina’s kindness. Will she be able to carry out her plan after she finds herself yearning for the one thing she’s never had . . . the friendship of a woman?

The book is available for pre-order by clicking HERE.


Rhonda McKnight is the owner of Legacy Editing, a free-lance editing service for fiction writers and Urban Christian Fiction Today, a popular Internet site that highlights African-American Christian fiction. She’s a member of Faith Based Fiction Writers of Atlanta. When she’s not editing projects, teaching workshops about writing or penning her next novel, she spends time with her family. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for twelve years. Visit the author online at

Would you like to become an influencer for this tour? You will become eligible to win a Bath and Body Works Spa Bag that includes:


an autographed copy of An Inconvenient Friend by Rhonda McKnight

an autographed copy of Secrets and Lies by Rhonda McKnight

an autographed copy of A Woman’s Revenge by Tiffany L. Warren, Sherri Lewis and Rhonda McKnight

a $25 Gift Card courtesy of


an autographed copy of A Woman’s Revenge by Tiffany L. Warren, Sherri Lewis and Rhonda McKnight

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Holy Rollers Blog Tour - Day One

ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a national bestselling author of 19 books, all published by Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books. In 2000, after numerous rejections from publishers, ReShonda stepped out on faith, established her own publishing company, and self published her debut novel, My Brother’s Keeper. The book caught the attention of one of the country’s top literary agents, who secured a deal for ReShonda with megahouse publisher, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.

The rest, as they say, is history.

ReShonda went on to sign one deal after another with Simon & Schuster and to date, is considered one of the country’s top inspirational authors. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, is being made into a movie of which she is Executive Producer and actress Regina King is the director. ReShonda’s literary career is such a success that in 2007, she was able to leave her job as a reporter with Fox 26 News in Houston to write full time.

ReShonda has appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list more than 20 times, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Ebony Magazine Bestseller’s lists. Her books include The Devil is a Lie, Can I Get a Witness, The Pastor’s Wife, Let the Church Say Amen, Everybody Say Amen, I Know I’ve Been Changed and My Brother’s Keeper. Her inspirational teen novels include Nothing But Drama, Blessings in Disguise,With Friends Like These, Getting Even, Fairweather Friends, Friends ‘Til the End, and Caught up in the Drama. She has one non-fiction title, Help! I’ve Turned into my Mother. ReShonda has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition, one of Rolling Out Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Houston and H-Texas Magazine’s Top Professional.

ReShonda’s upcoming projects include Holy Rollers (July 2010), Say Amen, Again (July, 2011), the teen novel Drama Queens (Fall 2010), and two travel suspense novels. The Houston native also serves as a freelance editorial and marketing consultant. She has ghostwritten four fiction projects and five non-fiction projects. She is married with three small children and does not hide her addiction to Reality TV and Facebook.

She welcomes readers to her websites at

List your published books.

Adult Fiction:

 Holy Rollers

 Let the Church Say Amen

 The Devil is a Lie

 Can I Get a Witness

 The Pastor’s Wife

 Everybody Say Amen

 I Know I’ve Been Changed

 My Brother’s Keeper

Teen Fiction

 Caught Up in the Drama

 Friends ‘til the End

 Fair-Weather Friends

 Getting Even

 With Friends Like These

 Blessings in Disguise

 Nothing But Drama


 Help! I’ve Turned Into My Mother


 Have a Little Faith

 Four Degrees of Heat

Which book did you find the hardest to birth?
The first one, My Brother’s Keeper. I worked in television news so I was trained to leave out all of the details and just write the story in the simplest terms. So the first draft of my book was like 100 pages. I had to go back in and retrain my thought process when it came to writing stories.

Which book is your current favorite?
That’s hard to say, it’s like saying which child do you like the best. Although I do have a personal connection to I Know I’ve Been Changed, which is about a television news anchor from Arkansas who moves to Houston, hits the big time and tries to forget her country, trouble-filled family. (By the way, that’s not my story, even though I was a news anchor from Arkansas!)

How would you describe your writing style?
I love storytelling. But I need a fast-paced story that keeps my attention, so that’s how I write. You’ll almost always find a dose of humor in my writing.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
No. For some reason I can’t write with music playing. While I’m editing, I love listening to soft R&B.

Tell us anything about you as a writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
I’m not too interesting. People often tell me they think I’m very funny. The crazy thing is I don’t think so at all. Maybe because my mother is hilarious and I just grew up with her witty ways so it seems second nature to me. One of the things I do know is I’m a note-taker on life. So if we’re sitting and holding a conversation and I break out my pen and paper and start jotting down some stuff you’re saying/doing, don’t be surprised!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Stop talking about why you don’t have time to write and write. And please don’t approach writers for help/advice and start the conversation off by saying, “I never read anything you’ve written but could you explain the publishing process to me from A to Z,” which believe it or not, I get all the time. And most importantly, don’t stand in judgment of others because you think you “have a better story.” What God has for you is for you.

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know. Have you found that to be the case with your writing? Absolutely. You can tell your best stories writing about what you know. But at the same time, I don’t think writers should limit themselves to writing only what they know. They’re so much to discover in this world and through the Internet and research, so much to be learned. A good writer can do their homework on a subject they don’t know too much about and still tell a compelling story.

About the Book

Looking for Love . . .

Lifelong friends Coco, Nita, and Audra have spent years looking for love in the arms of flashy pro athletes, hoping to land a baller but ending up with a stream of failed relationships. The beautiful and demure Coco has endured years of physical abuse from her boyfriend, Sonny, while Audra, a single mother, has dated her fair share of cheaters and yearns for a stable companion who will be a father figure to her son. And feisty, seductive Nita is tired of being the million-dollar mistress and wants to settle down—if she can find someone worth coming home to.

Changing the Game . . .

Now that the women are approaching thirty, they’re finding it harder than ever to compete with the pro groupies. Determined to change the game and find some worthwhile men, Audra hatches an outrageous plan. Soon the trio is "holy rolling," masquerading as God-fearing churchgoers at a local conference for young ministers in the hopes of snagging a prominent pastor. But will their big gamble pay off? Men of the cloth are still just men, after all. As the three friends meet their potential life partners, they will have to decide how far they want to take their holy rollers scheme—each risking heartbreak while taking a chance on finding a reliable, responsible man to love and cherish, flaws and all.

View the blog tour schedule at

Click Here to Order the book on Amazon.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Destined by Pat Haley - Book Review

Destined is the second in Patricia Haley’s Chosen series. Inspired by the biblical kings David and Solomon. The battle for power was started in Chosen. In Destined, brothers Joel and Don Mitchell battle for control of their late father’s multimillion dollar ministry, DMI. Don is the eldest son on Madeline and the late Dave Mitchell. Dave and Madeline built their forty year old ministry together, and Madeline continues to work for the ministry. Don, Dave and Madeline’s eldest son, was groomed by his father to one day run the family business. Joel, Dave’s son with second wife, Sherry, also worked for the company. As Dave’s health quickly falters, he appoints Joel as CEO of this ministry. This comes as a surprise to everyone, but Dave contends that God spoke to him and instructed him to appoint Joel. Don, feeling robbed, hurt and betrayed, flees to South Africa and starts his own business, which quickly thrives.

Joel, driven by power and wealth, quickly puts the ministry at risk. Don returns from South Africa to help his mom save the ministry from Joel’s path of destruction. Along the way, there is romance, broken hearts, and a marriage of convenience or in better terms a business marriage.

Destined is a must read. This was my first time reading Ms. Haley’s work, but it will not be my last time. However, before you read Destined, I would strongly suggest reading Chosen, so that you will have the background information on the characters, their relationships, etc. I am anxiously awaiting Broken, the third book in the series. I highly recommend this book, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Purchase Destined by clicking HERE.

Reviewed by Deniece C. Shelman

About the Reviewer
Deniece Shelman is a member of SistahFriend Book Club and the Site Leader for the Greenwood, SC branch of the club. She is married and has three children. To learn more about SistahFriends visit their site at

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the review purposes.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Destined Blog Tour - Day One

PATRICIA HALEY is the trailblazing, #1 Essence bestselling author of seven faith-based, novels, including Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, No Regrets, and Chosen. She’s a project manager with degrees from Stanford University and the University of Chicago. She is a born again believer and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Patricia lives with her husband and daughter in Philadelphia.

Visit her on or become a fan of Author Patricia Haley on Facebook.

Hello Pat, list your published books. List your published books. Destined, Chosen, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Still Waters, Blind Faith, No Regrets, Nobody’s Perfect.

Which book did you find the hardest to birth?
Once I decided on my storyline, all of my books flowed during the writing process. I’ve never had writer’s block. However, if I had to select one as the hardest to birth, it would be my second novel, No Regrets. I figured the first book might have been a fluke and was wondering if I could do it again, write another. Fortunately for me I finished number two and five more since then.

Which book is your current favorite?
Of all the books that I’ve written, there is no personal favorite. Like a proud parent, I love each of my literary ‘babies’ in a special and unique way for different reasons. I can, however, say unequivocally that my husband loves No Regrets. The touching ending puts it in the category of a tear jerker, and my husband longs for the day when it will be made into a movie.

How would you describe your writing style?
Easy, modern day storytelling with a clean, faith based twist that always has an element of humor, forgiveness, family bonds, and real life challenges.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
I personally love jazz and listen to Miles Davis, Marcus Roberts, Sherry Wilson-Butler, and sometimes Billie Holiday and Minnie Riperton.

Tell us anything about you as a writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
An interesting bit of information about me is that I am a huge basketball fan. I can probably name the championship winners all the way back to 1988. I didn’t play on the team during high school but I sure love going to the amusement park or Chuck E Cheese with my daughter and heading straight for the basketball games. Believe it or not, I do win sometimes.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The best way to get started as a writer is to get the first word on the page. Commit yourself to doing the hard work of drafting your manuscript, editing, and improving but never forget to enjoy the journey. Don’t measure your success, financial compensation, or goals with those of other people. Everybody writes for their own unique purpose. Each writer has to figure out theirs.

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know. Have you found that to be the case with your writing? I believe that writers definitely write what they know in the beginning. However, the concept of ‘what you know’ might come from life experience, research, dreams, speculation, stereotypes, stories from other people, and so on. In the beginning, I guess I wrote what I knew to a large degree, but as my grasp of the craft evolved, I learned to focus on creating dynamic characters and let them tell their story, expanding beyond the realm of ‘what I know’.

About the Book

Destined by Patricia Haley is the second novel in the Chosen series, inspired by the popular biblical kings David and Solomon.

Don, the eldest son and rightful heir to the ministry, returns from South Africa after three years of self-imposed exile. With a renewed zeal to reclaim the leadership of his late father’s multi-million dollar ministry, his plans are short-lived when a stock transfer agreement goes wrong, rendering Don powerless. Don’s little brother Joel continues as CEO, careening down the path of personal, professional, and spiritual demise, as he drags the ministry down with him. The only hope to save their father’s legacy is Don’s intervention, and so clinging to his self-worth and faith, Don is torn between fighting for a company he wasn’t chosen to run and fleeing back to his South African refuge, a place where his peace, his growing relationship with Naledi, and his dignity aren’t in question. After much soul searching, Don comes to realize that his destiny is inescapable and that his future lies in his family’s legacy.

Combining spiritual themes with family tension, corporate intrigue, and romance, this series is an exciting addition to the faith-based fiction market.

View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at