Book Spotlight: Monday Morning Blues by Ernestine Rose

     Monday Morning Blues is a grown folks’ love story. I wanted to write a really good love story that would appeal to women my age and reflect life as I knew it, unlike historical romance.  What I found in the African American market was usually urban fiction: action-packed stories about gangsters and their women, or fast single women going out to clubs with girlfriends looking for a hook-up.  There were more books about cheating husbands and scorned wives, but they just didn’t appeal to me.  They were written for a younger reader and the characters simply did not hold my attention.
      I wanted a love story about a woman who was at least forty who had been married at least fifteen years. I wanted her to face the complacency that comes with marriage over time, and to deal with common issues that we all face, like infidelity and taking each other for granted.  I wanted her to take into account how her decision to leave or stay would affect her children, and more importantly, how it would impact her own heart.  I wanted, in essence, to write “a grown folks” love story.  Like all my books, it is about the importance of love and family. Even though I’m retired, it’s hard to focus on writing now in the pandemic. 

    I also enjoyed working in dialogue from her Spanish-speaking best friend Carla and from the nosy sister-in-law, Lucille.  I wanted to add some comic relief to what could be a very sad story. The challenge was developing the character of Val, how she would respond to her problems, and how she would decide whether or not to forgive her husband. The battle between love and pride is hard.       Here is an excerpt:    Jeff had to stand his ground. “What else can I say, Brenda? It’s over!” Jeff replied, a little louder than he had planned.      Just then he saw a familiar head turn towards him from the counter up front.Her mouth was wide open.       “Jeff!”      He cringed when he heard that voice. He’d know it anywhere. It was his brother’s wife, Lucille. Of all the people to run into at Starbucks. It had to be that Bible-toting, scripture-quoting sister-in-law who would run back to Val before he could drive home.        “Jeff, what’s going on?” she demanded.     Brenda looked at her, clearly wondering if this was his wife and if they’d been caught together. She didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything. She’d been there before.        Brenda moved towards the back, coffee steaming in one hand, big purse dangling in the other.         “What’s going on, Jeff?  Does Valerie know you’re here with this…”         Lucille was the only one in the family who referred to his wife as “Valerie”. Everybody else just called her Val.          “It’s not what you think, Lucille. I can explain later. But I’ve got to finish this conversation.          “Well, okay. I’ll just wait.” And with that, she pulled up a chair and sat smack down at the table next to Jeff and Brenda.          Jeff looked at the man already seated at the table. He put both hands up as if to back off. He wasn’t touching that conversation or either woman. Jeff was clearly on his own. What could he possibly say next with Lucille sitting there staring him in the face? He wondered how much she had actually heard.          “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” Lucille said with a sneer.          “Lucille, this is Brenda Harris. She’s one of my co-workers. Brenda, Lucille, my sister-in-law,” Jeff said in a monotone without taking his eyes off Lucille.          Brenda looked relieved that it wasn’t his wife, but it may as well have been. She assumed the woman was his wife’s sister. She gave a weak smile as Lucille stared her up and down.

Here is an excerpt:
Jeff had to stand his ground. “What else can I say, Brenda? It’s over!” Jeff replied, a little louder than he had planned.
Just then he saw a familiar head turn towards him from the counter up front.Her mouth was wide open.
“Jeff!”
He cringed when he heard that voice. He’d know it anywhere. It was his brother’s wife, Lucille. Of all the people to run into at Starbucks. It had to be that Bible-toting, scripture-quoting sister-in-law who would run back to Val before he could drive home.
“Jeff, what’s going on?” she demanded.
Brenda looked at her, clearly wondering if this was his wife and if they’d been caught together. She didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything. She’d been there before.
Brenda moved towards the back, coffee steaming in one hand, big purse dangling in the other.
“What’s going on, Jeff? Does Valerie know you’re here with this…”
Lucille was the only one in the family who referred to his wife as “Valerie”. Everybody else just called her Val.
“It’s not what you think, Lucille. I can explain later. But I’ve got to finish this conversation.
“Well, okay. I’ll just wait.” And with that, she pulled up a chair and sat smack down at the table next to Jeff and Brenda.
Jeff looked at the man already seated at the table. He put both hands up as if to back off. He wasn’t touching that conversation or either woman. Jeff was clearly on his own. What could he possibly say next with Lucille sitting there staring him in the face? He wondered how much she had actually heard.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” Lucille said with a sneer.
“Lucille, this is Brenda Harris. She’s one of my co-workers. Brenda, Lucille, my sister-in-law,” Jeff said in a monotone without taking his eyes off Lucille.
Brenda looked relieved that it wasn’t his wife, but it may as well have been. She assumed the woman was his wife’s sister. She gave a weak smile as Lucille stared her up and down.

After teaching English and theater 36 years, I started writing. Within two years, I published three books: 7 Tips for a Successful Marriage, Raising the Roses, and Tales from the Family Tree. I later published a romance novel, Monday Morning Blues, and a memoir of the year before and after the death of my husband, Seasons: My Journey through Grief. All my books deal with family. I believe in the power of language, love and family.

Book trailer:. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs8f-9pWvEo

Link to my Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Ernestine-Rose/e/B00AZ6VL5M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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