Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear 2013 There's Something I'd Like To Say Before You Go

On this 31st day of December, I sit here gazing momentarily at the New York skyline. The pen swerves coiling on the page as I pen this emotional open letter. It’s been a momentous year; I’d vowed to slow down, write less and enjoy the day-to-day beauty that I tend to miss out on while I’m hunkered down in my writing cave. Needless to say I failed miserably at this task, my creativity and the anxious minions in my head wouldn't allow it. In the end, I released more books than I had the year before, six. In light of this, I've decided not to limit myself or stifle my creativity. Doing so would only fill me with dread; I’d drown in myself. So in 2014, I've decided to write as much as I want to, whether I share it with a reading audience or not. As I've said before, “Writing is my oxygen; it’s my therapy, the very thing that saves me from being lost in the abyss of myself.”

As we say goodbye to 2013, I’d like to thank each and every person who’s played a part in my journey; you've made this past year bearable: Tonya Kappes, thank you for contacting me at a critical moment that gave me hope when mine was in short supply; your gesture saved me that day. You encouraged me in the very moment when I was unsure of what worth I’d have in the industry.

Barbara B., my beloved sister, I've looked up to her throughout my life. She went beyond being supportive, investing time and money despite her hectic schedule to read and give me feedback, even with the children’s books. Thank you for being the closest thing to a twin that I’ll ever have, for making me laugh and for loving me. Then, there’s my best friend of twenty three years Evelyn, who’s been no less than a sister to me and has made the low points high ones and has been the wind in my sail when I feel I've reached my limit. Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me and telling me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. I thank you and appreciate you. 

Summarized, it’s been said, “What hasn't been revealed to the wise and the prudent has been revealed to the babes and the suckling,” and it’s true. My sidekick, unofficial twin, critique partner S.J. Dennery has played an instrumental part in my evolution as an author. She was fifteen years old when she started working with me and it’s been an epic journey. S.J. Dennery pushed me beyond my limits and when I thought that she was through with me, she pushed me further. There’s been times when she was arguably hard on me and I’d go into my writing cave and bury my head in the folds of my arms. I was discouraged but anyone who knows me knows that I have a determined spirit, even when I feel as though I’m ready to wave a white flag, my personality won’t allow it. I put my big girl pants on and revisited whatever the issue was and I came back to her admittingly nervous. Thankfully, I rebounded every time impressing her more I had on the last project. There is always room for improvement, I’m a work in progress and I will continue to strive to improve my craft. S.J. Dennery, I’d like to thank you for being at my side during my journey in the publishing world. I can’t imagine being on this excursion without you. I love you with all that I am or ever will be.

Ilia Smith
Her best friend and partner in mischief, Ilia Smith has been influential from the start. She’s an avid fan, the kind that would wear team colors if I had one, she’d stand in line for tickets in the rain if I played on an athletic team…I am flattered. In a past life, she was probably my daughter, but I’d adopt her in this life in a heartbeat. Thank you for being a friend, neighbor and a rebel with a cause.

Mostly, I’d like to thank The Pump Mila A. Ballentine Up, PR Team. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. With the exception of a few of you who I know outside of cyber space, your support and encouragement baffles me. Honestly, I get teary-eyed when I reflect on it. You've shared my links, written book reports for school about my books, bought, read and reviewed my books. I’m writing this open letter and can’t help but cry. I’m not sure how you've all heard of or found me online but I’m grateful. I’m honored and blessed that I've gotten encouraging feedback but it didn't end there. In one of my books Thin Skin Soul Pinned there were names inconsistencies and you saw beyond it, saw the story for what it was, a good story that could be great with a re-edit. She encouraged me to find the lost file and revisit the story. Like S.J. Dennery, Cristina Gutierrez gave me a push in the right direction. It’s amazing what constructive criticism can do, although I wouldn't say in this case that it was criticism; it was 100% loving encouragement. Thank you for believing in the story and its message, for sharing my links and for being someone that I look forward to hearing from no matter the occasion. I hope the sequel lives up to all of your expectations.

Benjamin Yon Floyd, I must thank you for reminding me that visuals are equally important. You’re awe-inspiring. I hope you keep writing, the group as a whole enjoyed reading your stories and we anxiously await your novel. Also, the character that you helped to mold in The Legend Of Turtle Pond lent a special quality to the story. I look forward to reading one of your novels.

Michelle Kinsley, it’s been a pleasure to know you. Thank you for making me laugh, sharing my links and supporting my craft. You have a spirit that transcends the computer screen. I wish I could read as much as you and Cristina do. You two are true die hard book worms and I love you both for it. When I’m searching for the next book to read, I look at what you and Cristina are reading; I’m never disappointed.
Jill David, thank you for sharing my links and your love of photography, family photos, and allowing me to use your husband as a character in the sequel of Thin Skin Soul Pinned.  I truly wanted to capture his true personality and I hope I have done him justice.

Genevieve Scholl, you've inspired me to learn more about photo manipulation and I smile when I reflect on the countless times that I've read a food scene of yours and had to stop because you made me hungry. I’d like to thank you for featuring me on your website, for the creative advice and for sharing my links. I wish you continued success in all that you do.

Special thanks go out to Authors To Watch, The fabulous: Ava Lenoir and Tonya Kappes for featuring me on their websites and all of the bloggers who participated in the On The Isles of Mozambique Spotlight Blitz Tour.

So as I leave 2013 behind I am thankful and baffled that friends, family and strangers who have become friends has taken this journey with me. I am emotional and even though this letter is penned in ink, it is truly written in tears, happy tears. I am overwhelmed that I've been able to share the plots blooming in my head with an audience. My initial goal was to have my book included on the shelf alongside famous authors that I've shelved for years during my employment as a library assistant. I've been on the shelf for a few years now, but I never imagined that anyone would want my autograph…I pause to wipe a trail of tears, …want an autograph of a girl who grew up in a country setting catching butterflies for fun before moving on to the big apple, the youngest in the family, a day dreamer, a survivor of a natural disaster and a survivor in general. As I say goodbye to 2013, I pledge to live more, pause to smell the flowers, watch a stream flow, and take it one day at a time. It’s been quite a journey but I’m ready to say goodbye to 2013; hello 2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Review of THE STAND by Stephen King

Rating: 5 Screams

The Stand isn’t for the faint-hearted, the umbrella of political correctness was out to pasture. King is no doubt mischievous and likes to rile readers but it’s for a greater purpose. I think he wants to draw attention to the unfortunate labels that are prevalent in our and many other societies.  It’s not a coincidence that the heroines in many of his books are often individuals that society looks down on. He’s advocating in a subtle, yet clever way. I respect that.

The characters came to life in such a way that it was an intimate affair. I use to think Stephen was all about the scare but he’s a funny guy and it comes through in just about all of his books. My favorite scene was with Stewart and Tom near the Christmas tree. It brought tears to my eyes. By then, I knew them as if they were my neighbors in the free zone. The most terrifying part of the story was when Flagg and Nadine commenced. It was disturbingly delicious in the most diabolical sense. One could only wish to have the skill to describe something so horrific in such a way that makes the reader want to crawl out of themselves to escape the image budding in their minds.

He has a knack for honing in on the things that makes one’s blood crawl, and scrapes terror from the bowls of one’s imagination with the stroke of a pen. And that's why I wouldn't want him to read me a bedtime story.

Until next time, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On The Isles of Mozambique--- Spotlight Blitz---Book Tour

Book Blurb:

Samira McAllister, an aspiring writer working for The Seasoned Traveler magazine is offered an opportunity. She takes advantage of the chance to jump start her career, hoping to make a mark in the writing industry. 

Unforeseen hurdles threaten her ability to follow through with her plans, and life as she knows it becomes a memory. From that point onward, every choice she makes will seal her fate.

Inquiring minds want to know...
Why should I read On The Isles of Mozambique?

On The Isles of Mozambique is more than a mystery story, it's an intimate look into the life of a young woman with aspirations. Monkey wrenches occasionally find their way into the spokes of one’s life but it’s how the character deals with the situation is what drives On The Isles of Mozambique, a story that illustrates the power of the human spirit when all else fails.

Allow me to lure you into my literary labyrinth.

Available for purchase at


You can stalk, I mean follow Me here


About the Author

Mila A. Ballentine is a mystery writer who doesn't shy away from writing about things that grasp the core of her imagination. She studied Creative Writing and Communication Arts at a City University of New York. Her writing is an extension of her mind’s eye and there is always an element of truth in each of her books. When she's not writing, she enjoys traveling or doing anything that allows her to put her creative energy to use.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Mysterious Adventures of Best Selling Author, S.J. Dennery: A Day In the Life of a Road Hound by: S.J. Dennery

A Travel Blog: Part One

Are you ready to go on a stupendous journey to New York City? It’s been a while since I've been there, a place with the latest fashions, and a plethora of exotic cuisine, but it’s also a place where strange things happen. You can expect the unthinkable, deviance is expected but detested and there’ll be lots of things to tickle your fancy.

        Everyone took their seats on the bus while a lady, I’ll call Nancy rushed to the bus just before the door closed. Nancy looked for a seat in the back of the bus but she didn't find one. She looked to her right where rays of sunlight rested upon an empty window seat.

     “I’d like to sit there,” she said to the woman sitting in the aisle seat.
     “You can't sit here. Can't you sit in the back?” Rue said crankily.
      “I need a seat. Can you please move your stuff?” Nancy replied with a stern swift tone as she pointed to a blanket lying on the chair.
     Rue moved her stuff begrudgingly, eased her feet into the aisle and Nancy sat down. Rue turned her back to Nancy and looked stoically into the aisle at other passengers. From that point onward, Rue and Nancy were mortal enemies. During the ride, Rue complained to the bus driver that the woman next to her was touching her inappropriately.
   “Get a grip,” Nancy belted out. “I'm just reading my newspaper.”
      “I don't roll like that... I am a married woman. I believe in God.” Rue snapped back as she amped into full-on bitch mode.
     I cringed in my seat. Don’t bring God into this. He may not approve of your behavior. Despite the occasional disturbance we continued to our destination.
The bus took a short break along the way; everyone got off. I stayed on the bus. After the break was over, a slew of passengers loaded the bus.
   “Is anyone missing?” The driver asked. No one responded. 
   I looked across the aisle. “Yes, there's a women missing.” 
  The bus driver waited for five minutes. Nancy hustled to the bus. Rue shot a nasty glare my way, I bottled it and opened a novel I brought along to chase time. I glanced at the landscape outside; it was beautiful and the temperature was toasty but inside the bus was freezing. On another stop, I got off the bus and bought a pack of Duplex, not so yummy low-grade cookies.

    A few hours later the bus pulled into 42nd Street, Times Square. The streets of New York City are unlike any other city. It comes with a unique smell, feel, and a smorgasbord of interesting people. It’s a delectable multicultural environment with a unique groove and there's lots of eye and ear candy. I looked up at a cluster of skyscrapers; I was able to distinguish one of them, the Empire State Building. Just about anyone could, even if you've never visited the city before.

     There was a moment when I swore I’d spotted the missing link. A guy lovingly stroked the mustache of his lady, and another had the hairiest back-bush I've ever seen. I’m thrilled to be out of the bus, but I’m moving on to another means of transportation, the train. It’s the fastest way to get around the city but it can try one’s patience at times. Thankfully, the ride doesn't last long. I’m above ground walking on the lean and at the moment anti-climactic streets.
    I approached a street vendor who had a display of adorable baby turtles in small aquariums for sale on the Avenue. I’m fond of turtles; maybe I can bring them with me when I leave New York but I've heard that they aren't safe, so I won’t entertain that thought any further. I continued walking; a lot of people walked by. Many things have changed since I've last visited this area; some for the better, others, for the worse. For example, my favorite restaurant is no longer in the area. I’m disappointed but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

    I was distracted while window shopping by a women wearing a white T-shirt as a dress in front of a store I was about to enter. The shirt went down to just above the lower half of her buttocks, leaving the cusp out for the entire world to see. She was a pretty girl too. Somewhere her mother’s eyes are burning. I tried to delete the image from my mind, walked into the women’s store and browsed until I found the bra section. I found a cute bra and stood in the line at the register.

     While I waited in line, a guy at the end of the line started shaking a can of Planters nuts for about a minute. The shaking stopped abruptly; the black of my eyes traveled to him. He shook the can again and it slipped from his grasp. The can fell on a baby sitting peacefully in a stroller. The baby shot him a 'really?' look. The baby’s mother craned her neck, piercing the man who'd dropped the can with her eyes. Her angry glare softened as she saw that the man stood on crutches with one of his pant leg folded and pinned back at the knee.
    “I’m sorry Ma’am,” he said, reached down, picked up the can and adjusted the crutch under his arm.
     Don't shake your nuts in public someone might get hurt. It was my turn at the register; five minutes later I left the store happy to be free of the nut-shaker. I’d built up an appetite after shopping; I crossed the street and entered Wendy's. 

Everyone stared at me when I entered.  Am I the first human being they've seen in months? The thought simmered in my head.


I wasn't amused. It was crowded, and noisy. I stood in line for a while before I placed an order. The food arrived but they didn't provide a straw for my drink or any napkins and there weren't any condiments or anything else that I needed in the lobby.
     “Can I have a straw and some napkins, please?” I asked. 

“Napkins?” “Napkins?” “Napkins?” 

The cashier didn't hear me the first, second, or third time.
My simple request morphed into a slow perilous Ferris Bueller’s Economics teacher kind of slur. 

 “Straw?” “Straw?”  “Straw?”


Feeling utterly ignored, I walked away and looked for a seat. Note to self: Never come to this Wendy's again---Ever! They should demolish this cesspool and start from scratch.

      I left my tray with a friend while I went to the bathroom but the bathroom was out-of-order. Livid, I walked back to our table, sat down, and ate. If the urge to lick my fingers came to mind, I’d hope that today wasn't the day. Dirty hands and food should never mix but I’m hungry. I lifted the  cover off my drink and drank.
      An older lady walked into Wendy's. “Can anyone spare a dollar? I need to feed my three children.”
She sang from the moment the door closed behind her and walked pass me asking any and every one for change. I finished my drink, left Wendy’s and walked to the subway station. My train was about to leave, so I hasten my steps.

      “Move your fat ass,” A guy shouted at a woman in front of him. He pushed pass her and ran ahead to catch his train. That was rude of him. I made it to my train in time and slid through the doors like Crispin Glover, the creepy ‘thin man’ in Charlie’s Angels. 

   An hour and a half later, I left the belly of the train and walked a couple of blocks to my hotel. I survived my first day back in the city. I can’t decide what I was most excited about, washing my hands or taking a nice hot bath. Either way, I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

                                      To be continued...

My thoughts: 

Thank you, S.J. Dennery for sharing your travel blog with us. I enjoyed reading about your time in New York City, a place I love despite its faults. It was extremely entertaining.  I can't wait to read part two. 

S.J. Dennery is the author of the young adult paranormal mystery, The Mysterious Musings of a Precarious Heart. She is also a junior in high school.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

****************Mila's Summer 2013 Beach Read*******************

The beach is one of my favorite places to be.  I love the feel of the sand beneath my feet, the cool water caressing my body and a tropical breeze brushing against my skin. I  don't live near a beach so, I look for books that will make me feel like I  am  relaxing on a beach  as the sea teases the shoreline.

My Beach Pick is, Wish You Were Here by Amanda McIntyre

The Blurb:

"A broken engagement.

Two BFF’s stuck in a tropical storm in the Keys.
There’s bound to be thunder and lightning.
But what happens after the storm passes?

Ever since certifiably geek Maggie saved the hide of Josh from a mean dog, the two were destined to be best friends. Social barriers kept them closet friends as Josh became popular and Maggie remained the brains that kept the brawn in academic good standing. Maggie carried her secret crush, only to be devastated when given the chance, Josh walks away, leaving her to suffer her unrequited fantasy of being with him.

Maturity reveals to Josh how badly he once treated Maggie. When she calls him then, to tell him of her engagement being cut off, it’s hard for him to be happy about his own wedding plans feeling guilty that Maggie is walking this road alone. Challenged by his bride to be that he may harbor unresolved feelings about his friend, she calls a break in their relationship, challenging him to find out and be sure of what he wants. Determined to prove her wrong, that he only cares for Maggie as a friend, he pays her a surprise visit where she’s gone to relax and recuperate.

He soon realizes that while the choices he’d made long ago were noble, the feelings he had for Maggie then were very real. One afternoon spent catching up with each other’s lives reveals what neither expected--that the embers once thought dead between them are still smoldering." ~Amanda McIntyre

**My rating:  Five flip flops and a Martini .**


Wish You Were Here, read more like...Wish I Was There! I truly enjoyed reading this book. The characters were easy to get to know and I felt their struggle of indecision. Decisions of that caliber are not easy to make and the author does an excellent job relating that. I would definitely recommend this book to others. It’s a book you’d want to have handy as you relax on a towel or chair at the beach. Reading this book made me miss being near the ocean, and the mood that often accompanies such a tranquil place. Wish You Were Here gave me a taste of that feeling and I will cherish it until I walk the sandy shores again.

Enjoy what's left of  the Summer weather. Treat yourself; get  a copy of  Wish You Were Here, and read it under a shaded  tree.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Goodbye Reality---A Paranormal Mystery

Genre: Paranormal Short Story
Cover Artist: Mila A. Ballentine
Release Date: July 25, 2013

Here’s the Blurb:

While on a road trip, two friends make a pit stop in a quaint town. They spend more time there than they anticipated. It’s debatable if they’ll ever reach their destination or if they’ll live.

Sometimes road trips can be hazardous to your health.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Great Expectations Come At No Cost

Imagine, Cathy wakes up, gets ready and heads out the door. She arrives at her job and starts to do her duties. She spends eight and sometimes up to sixteen hours working on a project before leaving for the day. That’s Cathy’s schedule for the next two weeks and at the end of it, she receives an envelope. She happily accepts it and leaves for the day. Cathy checks he mailbox when she gets home; it’s filled with bills. They always come on time, every time and they don't accept monopoly money...though it would be nice.

She goes through them before putting them aside. Cathy opens the envelope she received at work and her heart sinks when she reads the note tucked inside. F.Y.I: No charge, No pay! Cathy sighs. No business can survive under that business model nor can their workers. They’d go out of business. It may seem dramatic, but it’s a true representation of what many authors face. Yet, they still manage to offer books at discounted rates or at no cost.

In the real world, I enter the food court area in the mall and I look up at the restaurant signs. 

A lady approaches me with a platter of samples on a toothpick. She extends one to me. My forehead wrinkles, should I? I take the sample and eat it. The flavors dance on my tongue and I decide to order a plate of whatever that was from the restaurant. Hopefully, it’s not monkey meat. I have a funny story about that, but I’ll save it for another time. I ordered and the food was delicious. I make a mental note to eat there  the next time I’m there.

With that said, I’m not a fan of free even when I’m on the receiving end but I realize the benefits of providing samples. In light of this, I am releasing, Goodbye Reality, a short story that will be offered for $0.99 cents. During promotions featured on this blog, and other sites via Rafflecopter, Goodbye Reality will be  offered as a "Gifted" prize. Why will it be gifted on certain sites and not all? Honestly, I don't want to be bound by a lengthy contract that will limit my audience. Hopefully, readers will find my story appealing and will be compelled to come back for more.

Goodbye Reality, a paranormal mystery will be available on July 25, 2013. Get your copy on Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles and Smashwords.com.