I’m always happy to see authors branch into new arenas, and my fellow novelist (although I’m totally brand new to fiction) and sorority sister Victoria Christopher Murray, who I’ve featured on After the Altar Call before, is branching into new arenas! As announced on the Instagram page of Tracey Edmonds, she and her fellow co-executive producer are bringing Victoria’s novel “The Ex Files” to Lifetime!
There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak: she can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. In The Ex Files, four women find faith, friendship, and healing under the unlikeliest of circumstances.
Hailed as “an excellent storyteller . . . one of our best” (Eric Jerome Dickey), national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray proves it so with this powerful, faith-filled novel of four women and the different ways they handle heartbreak.
Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan each have an “ex” in their lives. Whether from a broken marriage, the shocking loss of a loved one, or a shattered bond of trust, the pain is real and the wounds deep. Will they ever heal? When their pastor asks the foursome to meet weekly for prayer, they can’t imagine they will have anything in common. Then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship? Or will prayer— and their circle of support—be enough to see them through?
Imagine you’ve entered into my prayer closet…This is what is what you will hear today…
Your child Kanye is back in the news again (not that I really needed to inform You of this because You are omniscient)…as if he has ever been out of the news since his first album “The College Dropout” dropped in 2004…I loved his song “Jesus Walks” Lord because it glorified your son and it was banging…And although he didn’t seem like a usual Christian artist based on his repertoire, I knew that song had to mean something to him. It was so in your face. And then he was dating a Delta at the time (“Through the Wire” – “She was with me before the deal she been trying to be mine. She a Delta so she been throwing that dynasty sign.) And he was cute.
And it’s true that his first album was his best album to me anyway, but everything ain’t for everybody and that’s fine. And then he dropped his woman who he was with before the record deal and the fame and fortune and got with different women. But you don’t have to be a famous and fortunate man to have a revolving door of relationships and with fame and fortune, the revolving door probably turns at whiplash speed. And I appreciated his outburst about Hurricane Katrina. It may have not been true, but I respect the sentiment behind his delivery…He spoke from the heart and used his platform to highlight a critical issue…
And then Lord, your child seemed like he was trying to return his first love…Your son Jesus…with his new Sunday Service. And yeah, I was a bit put off by the high-behind Sunday Service merch…(By the way, Lord, did you know that I was yesterday’s years old when I realized that ‘murch’ was actually ‘merch’ and short for merchandise. Why didn’t you reveal that to me sooner? All this time, when I would hear people saying ‘murch,’ I wanted to ask, ‘What is that?’ But I didn’t want to look stupid.) But on the other hand, nobody can force me to part with dollars unless that’s what I already wanted to do.
And then Lord, after your child took his Sunday Service on the road, he finally came to the capital of the Civil Rights, Atlanta, and brought his Sunday Service to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. I didn’t make it, but I read the glowing reviews. I heard your child had folk waitin’ in line for hours just get into church. Ain’t that somethin’ Lord?! That’s what you been tryin’ get us to do. Spread the word that Jesus is King. But we are so disobedient some time…And by the way, thank You God, he no longer refers to himself as Yeezus. Lord, You stay forgiving us when we falter… Lord, your hashtag should be #GraceandMercy…I kid Lord, You know and I know You’re above all of that, but I know You’re cracking a smile because I’m one of your favorites…Just kidding…all your children are all blessed and highly favored…
And then Lord, your child acted like he didn’t even visit the civil rights capital of the world when he made some controversial statements following his visit…Your child New Birth Pastor Jamal Bryant, who once welcomed your child Kanye to New Birth, had some thangs to say ’bout that too…although his “Jesus Is King” album is spreading your word in a way that many other Christian artists aspire too…I mean, when was the last time You saw, “Jesus is King” as headline in the New York Times?!! (Here’s the exact headline…Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Is No. 1)
And Lord, the American Bible Society has informed me that over 6,000 Bibles have been given away to Kanye fans!!! According to the society, his album generated more than a million queries on Google alone and prompted fans to search questions such as “What do Christians believe?” And now the American Bible Society will continue to give away free Bibles to Kanye fans through Nov. 22!!! Lord, I’m scratching my head on this one. What am I supposed to do with this? One one hand, he is making controversial statements that hurt the black community and on the other hand, he is reaching the masses for You…
And then as I was cooking this morning, I heard he performed in a prison on Friday and some of the prisoners became believers…(And You know that the average your child, me included, aine really standing in line to volunteer for the Prison Ministry)…I know You know this, but here’s the video anyway…
So…I’ma just end my prayer right here Lord. I’ma let You sort through it all. In summary, help mestay on the narrow way to Heaven because You know I want to wander off from time to time. And Lord, guide all of your children because You created them and know their ways and how they wander off. May we all make it there, some way, some how and some day…
Sorry I had to do it. Write in the third person that is. I just couldn’t figure out how to state the fact that I have written my first novelwithout being a little extra. And referring to yourself in the third person is as extra as you can get on a written page. So pardon me for being braggadocios. It’s just that I’ve written a novel that I’m extremely proud of and it’s finally time to tell you all about it!
When I first imagined myself as a writer at the adorable age of six, I saw myself weaving words into worlds as a novelist. Well, maybe not a quite a novel, but certainly a work of fiction. As I matured and began to grasp that writing was not as simple as it seemed, I gravitated toward journalism where real life (just the facts, ma’am) was written down and every story was thankfully short. I just didn’t think I had enough words to write a whole novel. But in my heart, behind the wall of fear, I wondered if I would ever summon enough stamina and skill to craft a world of words also known as a novel. In 2009, yes, 10 years ago, a real-life event took hold of me and demanded that I explore this topic as a novel. And it literally took me 10 years to learn how to write a novel AND get it published. So Destination Wedding written by Jacqueline J. Holness (oh so extra I know) will be released in December to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the real-life event that inspired me and captivated me enough to write a novel at long last! So below is the synopsis followed by my interview with 96Kix’s Kimberly Kaye, who interviewed me as I wrote Destination Wedding. (Read and or listen to the interview.)
Three successful best friends in Atlanta believe they are thriving in the Black Mecca. Bossy bank executive Senalda breaks down men from business to bed no holds barred. Hip hop PR guru Jarena praises the Lord and pursues married men with equal persistence. Famous and infamous radio personality Mimi fights with her fans and for the love of her on-and-off-again boyfriend.
But when an ABC News Nightline report, “Single, Black, Female — and Plenty of Company,” asks why can’t a successful black woman find a man? The friends are suddenly hyper-aware of their inclusion in the sad statistic: 42% of black women who have never been married. Like the women in the report, they are career-driven, beautiful black women living in Atlanta who have everything — but a mate. They resolve to defy the statistic by marrying in a year and have it all by tackling their goal as a project with a vision board, monthly meetings, and more. Project Destination Weddingis born. A “happily married” best friend Whitney is a project consultant.
But as the deadline ticks closer, the women wonder if they can withstand another year of looking for love in the media-proclaimed no-man’s land of Atlanta. Senalda wrests a marriage proposal from the male version of herself, but the proposal comes simultaneously with a devastating secret. Jarena unleashes hell when her call to ministry coincides with dating her married college sweetheart. Mimi faces losing her career and jail time chasing her boyfriend and marries another man in the process. Whitney’s power couple profile plummets when her husband, a pornography addict, announces he would rather pursue photography than be an MD.
Inspired by an actual Nightline report, Destination Weddingcharts four women’s journeys as they discover that love is not an experiment easily confined to a timetable.
These are the four main characters as I saw them in my mind as I was writing- Jarena, Mimi, Senalda & Whitney…Can you match the women to how they actually turned out on the cover?
Kimberly: 96 KIX. On the line with me, I have Jacqueline Holness. How are you Jacqueline?
Jacqueline: I’m great. How are you Kimberly?
Kimberly: I’m wonderful. Welcome back to the show!
Jacqueline: Thank you so much for having me!
Kimberly: You know the last time you we talked it was all about ‘After the Altar Call.’ Now, what have you been up to? I know I always read your blog. Always.
Jacqueline: Thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate that. You never know who is reading. Thank you so much.
Kimberly: How is it working with the blog?
Jacqueline: Well, I love to write so it’s a creative outlet for me. And I’m always surprised when people actually respond to what I write because it’s not something that I get paid to do. I just love to do it. Even if people didn’t read it, I would still write.
Kimberly: You said, regardless, you’re gonna blog!
Jacqueline: Yes! Definitely.
Kimberly: Now, how do you pick your topics to know what to blog about?
Jacqueline: Well, the most important aspect of my life is my faith so I always want to talk about my faith and whatever area I choose to talk about whether it be pop culture or whether it be more serious issues, I always try to look at it through the lens of having faith in God and how God would want us to see certain things that play out in our society.
Kimberly: Right, well that’s great. Now, also I saw that you are getting ready to write another book for us.
Jacqueline: Yes, I grew up reading fiction books, but when I got older, I just veered off into non-fiction books. But recently, I rediscovered my love of fiction and I decided to write a fiction book about three single black women in Atlanta.
Kimberly: Alright. Can you give us a little bit more? Or is that all you can give us?
Jacqueline: (Laughter) I’ll tell you a little more about it, but I’m not finished yet. But basically, I’m not sure if you saw the ABC News Nightline special that came on in December 2009 where it was quoted that 42% of black women have never been married?
Kimberly: Wow! That’s a high percentage.
Jacqueline: Yes, a very high percentage and they featured black women in Atlanta who had everything but a mate. And from there, there was a debate that was held in Atlanta. Steve Harvey was here. Sherri Shepherd. A lot of notables came in town to debate this issue in Atlanta. So as a black woman, I was single at the time, I’m married now, it really impacted me. And I thought what if I wrote a book about black women, fictional black women, who saw this report, and decided to defy the statistics and get married in a year.
Kimberly: Now you live in Atlanta?
Jacqueline: I do live in Atlanta.
Kimberly: Do you see that problem?
Jacqueline: Well, I see it all over. When I travel, I meet a lot of single black women, but for some reason, Atlanta seems to be the epicenter I guess of single black women. And because I was single and just got married at 40 years old, I know what it’s like to be single and I know what it’s like to wonder, ‘Why aren’t men choosing me?’ So I decided to write a book from my own personal journey and do it through the lens of fiction.
Kimberly: That sounds great. Do you know when you will be finished?
Jacqueline: Well, I hope to have the rough draft finished very soon. I’m going to work on it for the next few months. What interested you when you read, I know you read the blog post about me working on this book. What interested you? I’m just curious.
Kimberly: Like you said, we have a lot in common, Jacqueline. I got married when I was 40. Same thing.
Jacqueline: Oh really?
Kimberly: Yes, we have that in common. I was going through life, and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna ever get married.’ But once I quit thinking about it, dwelling on it, it happened so that’s what kind of intrigued me. It takes a lot. You wonder, Am I doing something wrong? Is it me? Why didn’t I get married when I was in my 20s or in my 30s? So that’s why I was interested.
Jacqueline: Wow! So I’m so glad we have that in common. We may have to talk off the air later about that as older women who have gotten married. That’s a category in itself – older brides. I may have to write something about that.
Kimberly: (Laughter) Yes! Well, I’m anticipating it.
Jacqueline: Yes, well, please go to my website AftertheAltarCall.com and you will see updates about the book. I’m really excited about, and I hope it will be on bookshelves as soon as possible.
Kimberly: And that’s also why I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to spread the word about your blog. I think it’s just terrific, and I want everyone to be aware of it.
Jacqueline: Oh, thank you so much!
(Note: There is just a minute or so more left of the interview, but I included what pertains to today’s blog post.)
Below are some advance reviews I have received about Destination Wedding!
“Jacqueline J. Holness has penned a delightful read that puts a new spin on the age-old dilemma of the beautiful, successful, single black woman finding a mate! Did I say beautiful and successful? Set in the Black Mecca – The ATL – Destination Wedding will have you asking, “Why is this so hard?” I found myself in the moment, rooting for these women – and thoroughly enjoyed their journeys to happily-ever-after.” – Monica Richardson, author of the Talbots of Harbour Island series
“In need of a getaway? Destination Wedding is the read you need. Filled with characters that will remind you of your girlfriends and unexpected adventures, it’s the perfect vacation read.” – Chandra Sparks Splond, author and blogger
“In Destination Wedding, Jacqueline J. Holness takes readers on page-turning twists and turns that hijack several friendships on the path to love. If you’re eager for an entertaining read that will leave you rooting for the characters as if they’re your friends, pick up your copy today.” – Stacy Hawkins Adams, multi-published author of Coming Home, Watercolored Pearls, The Someday List and more
So Destination Wedding will officially debut on Dec. 3, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound and Target right now! And I’m not gonna be shy about this: I want this book to be a best-selling book so your pre-orders will help me achieve that goal! As a matter of fact, I will be offering some free gifts if you pre-order so come back here often for updates!
Finally, if you would like to be a member of my book launch team which means getting a FREE advance copy of Destination Wedding, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and I hope and pray you will be reading my first novel Destination Weddingvery soon!