We are joined this month by Wilnona Marie and Jade Dee, a dynamic writing and producing duo also known as the And I Thought Ladies! I came to know Wilnona and Jade when they interviewed me for their podcast and You Tube channel. Their vibe is so infectious I had to know more. Learn more about The Ladies, their books and their projects, and follow along with on my own publishing journey in this edition.
With the launch of A DEAD MAN'S EYES behind me, it's time to look forward. Here is a description for book 2 in the Lisa Jamison Mystery/Suspense series, NEVER BROKEN, releasing from Level Best Books in April of 2022.
By Lori Duffy Foster
The near-corpse of a stranger had no idea where he’d been, how long
he’d been there or who had kept him captive. But one thing intrigued
journalist Lisa Jamison even more than his story: recent memories of a
woman named Chandra Bower.
Seven years had passed since Chandra disappeared from Seneca
Springs without a trace. Police investigators still compared DNA records
whenever an unidentified body appeared, hoping to at least bring her
family closure. Lisa still chased down leads from desperate family and
friends, being careful to hide her investigations from an editor who
thought she’d become obsessed with a woman who was clearly dead.
But this man had just seen her, sewing designer clothes in a dark,
filthy basement with about forty other men and women under conditions
unheard of in the United States since slavery was abolished in 1865. And
the sweatshop workers all had one thing in common. They were black.
A split-second decision to help the man takes Lisa on a race against
time. His captors want him back, there is evidence someone on the police
force might be involved and the man knows that if he were recaptured,
they would torture him until he revealed the names of the two people who
helped him escape: Lisa Jamison and Chandra Bower.
Lisa promised her teenage daughter she would stay away from the
dangerous stories ever since her job had nearly gotten them both killed
two years before. But she no longer has a choice. She must keep the
stranger hidden while she gathers enough evidence to turn the case over
to city police or the FBI. At least three lives – her own, the
stranger’s and Chandra’s – depend on it.
Meet Wilnona and Jade, also known as the And I Thought Ladies!
photo by Greg Patrick
A conversation with Wilnona and Jade
Q:How do you two know each other and how did you end up collaborating?
Wilnona: We always say that Jade was born and we became friends. Jade was my best friend from four years old.
Jade: We have been best friends forever.
Q:Tell us a bit about your books and the inspiration behind them.
Wilnona: We write literary life guides with pop poetry. We found that we were not fully prepared for life, so we wrote with women from 25-72 about life. We meant to have only one book, but the series grew into the And I Thought Series and The Miss-Fit Guides.
Jade: We are inspired by life. Sometimes, we meet people while traveling who have such interesting stories or engaging conversations that we feel impelled to write about them.
Wilnona: Jade wrote a poem about an unusually aggressive seventy-plus-year-old man. I wrote about an extremely rude young man. We have good poems about people also.
Q:You seem to have a foot in everything: nonfiction, poetry, podcasts, your TV channel, social media. What gives you the most joy our of all those pursuits?
Jade: We are always expanding our brand. Wilnona and I constantly are on the lookout for another way to introduce people to our books. I like writing the books and designing the merchandise. I also love putting together the 25 Hottest Indie Authors magazine. It’s an enormous undertaking every year.
Wilnona: My slogan for the continuous expansion is that our fans should be able to interact with our brand however best suits them. As for my personal favorite pursuit, glamour-wise, it was the reality TV show, or documentary. Theclothing lineis another favorite.
Q:Why did you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?
Wilnona: Most literary agents don’t take poetry submissions. We are relegated to small presses and literary magazines. I’m never happy with the status quo. I wanted a career similar to genre authors, so we went the indie route with a clear path and destination for our career. I want a movie to be made of our poetry book.
Jade: Our books are unusual. We have a story as chapters/sections, cocktail recipes, a resume, or directions to a honeymoon spot. In between these we have our poetry. We have chatted with many agents and they all say, you had to self-publish those books because no one would have taken a chance on them.
Q:Who are you when you are not writing, interviewing and editing?
Together: Still Wilnona & Jade but without the fancy clothes and make up.
Wilnona: I mostly just work on the next book, the movies, the next big idea, which is an album by the way. We are working with a producer to do an EP.
Jade: I’m a cat lover, so I am normally reading, doing household chores, and hanging out with my cat.
Together: I fear we live the stereotypical writer’s life when it’s all said and done. Oh yeah, you can always catch us at the community beach.
Q:What advice would you give struggling writers based on your own experiences?
WIlnona: I was published for the first time at ten years of age and I haven’t had the career I dreamed of until now. It wasn’t in the way I wanted it to happen, or the genre I hoped for but I’m here now. I said that to say keep pursuing your dream of writing. Also, be flexible with your creative path.
Jade: Sometimes you have to make your own way and hope others join you on the path. If no one does, at least you did it.
This is where you will find me virtually and in person!
(For the always-updated website version, click here.)
June 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,Ways Garden Art Show,
Williamsport, PA. Join me for this awesome event sponsored by the Bald
Eagle Art League. Local artisans will display their work and some will
offer demonstrations. Get some yummy food across the street at the
annual Strawberry Festival. I will be signing and selling books, but I can’t wait to check out all the artwork!
June 16, 6 p.m., Bradford County (PA) Library, virtual. I will be talking about my books and answers questions during this Zoom presentation. Registration details to come.
July 3,Cupboard Maker Books,
157 N. Enola Road, Enola, PA. Noon- 2 p.m. I will be among several
authors representing multiple genres selling and signing books
throughout the weekend. It should be a lot of fun! Come join us!
The World Mystery Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana. Come join
hundreds of authors, fans, publishers reviewers, booksellers, and
editors for five days of panels, parties, and pure mystery fun at the
world’s premier annual crime fiction event. I will be there. I hope you
will be there, too!
Spring has brought babies and birds to the Foster homestead in North Central Pennsylvania. This my first-ever sighting of a Baltimore Oriole, which also happens to be my husband's favorite baseball team.
What's up with my books?
I have been so focused on the launch of A DEAD MAN'S EYES that I almost forgot the second book in the series, NEVER BROKEN, releases in April of 2022. That might seem like forever away, but it's not. I have to turn over the manuscript for its first round of edits in October. I wrote the book a few years ago and I have grown as a writer in that time. So I know I will need to give NEVER BROKEN a summer's worth of attention. With that in mind, I have set a deadline of June 30th for finishing the first draft of book 3 in the Lisa Jamison Mystery/Suspense series, NO TIME TO BREATHE.
Hold me to it!
What's up at home?
The official start of summer is still a few weeks away, but our household is itching to get an early start. The twins have to be reminded constantly that they still have nearly three weeks of school left. The older kids are searching for summer jobs. My husband volunteers to barbecue every chance he gets.
Why are we so excited this summer?
By the time school gets out, our entire family will be fully protected from Covid-19, even the twins. Things are opening up again and we can enjoy the warmth and sunshine with a sense of comfort and security that we haven't experienced in more than a year. We can visit family and have friends over for bonfires.
And (the best part) we can hug them again.
Happy writing and reading. I hope you enjoy A DEAD MAN'S EYES!