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


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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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