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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weeks Ending 10/6-10/13/07

The 2007 Virtual Book Tour for Dark River wraps up today, but you can still post comments to any of the posts for the next few weeks. The latest poll results show a 3-way tie for the leading men, so the mystery continues over who is the overall choice. Thank you to all who emailed comments and who continue to support the novel. I am contemplating releasing a 2008 edition of the novel, which includes the sources I used to write the book, along with the great reader comments I've received over the past year. Help the cause by also posting your comments on, which keeps me in their top rankings. Watch out for another book tour in 2008!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week Ending September 29, 2007

Finally, let's meet Briane, Celeste's enemy. Seemingly harmless at first, Briane comes to play a major role in this saga. She comes to the Fontaine estate just as Celeste's and Louis' foray into summer love ends, as Celeste realizes should could not love a man who owns her. Louis' father, Bennet, has decided that in order to save their failing farm, Louis must marry Briane Hubert of Montreal in an effort to infuse some funds. Louis is outraged, for he loves Celeste and does not want to marry someone he doesn't know. Louis' love for Celeste turns out to be terrifying, for he will not lose his precious possession.

Briane, tall, lanky and clumsy, finds herself in a marriage to man who hates her, and that makes her hate Celeste even more. Briane goes out of her way to do great bodily harm to Celeste, wanting Louis all to herself. After one final humiliating incident with Louis, Briane goes to the ultimate lengths to put an end to Celeste.

Remember that next week is the final installment for this year's Virtual Book Tour, so don't miss it!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This Week (9/22)

It's been a great week for Dark River, as it was featured on a live podcast with theG.R.I.T.S., an outstanding group dedicated to showcasing African American literature. The host, Ann Brown, shares my view African American authors have so much more to offer the literary world than gansta lit and erotica. I strongly recommend getting in touch with this national group, which also has a national book club. To listen to my podcast, go to .

Character Profile: Douglas
Douglas is one of the mysterious characters within the novel, as he is a part of Isabelle's past, and wishes to play a role in her future. Douglas is extremely ambitious, having risen from a shameful poverty to become one of early Detroit's "players"--he has a stake in the new riverfront development along the Detroit River, which includes hotels. When Isabelle questions his connections to a shady group of investors, however, Douglas shows her a side she had never seen before. Douglas wants to move up into the world, and he wants Isabelle at his side. But what price will she have to pay?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This week, let's meet with the powerful men of this story, Michael and Jacques. In the present time of the story, Dr. Michael St. Vincent first meets Isabelle on her first ferry ride to Detroit. To Isabelle, Michael, an American, seems to be a little too observant of her state of mind, that is, her anxiety about coming to Detroit, among other things. Michael does not let on what he does for a living. Isabelle finds herself immediately attracted to Michael. By the time they dock in Detroit, however, Michael's demeanor changes--he's appears angry to be coming to Detroit. Before she can find out anything else about him, he quickly disappears off the boat. She presumes she will never see him again, but Michael will play a significant part in her life later.
Jacques Benesche plays a riveting part in the parallel to Isabelle's story, as he "haunts" Isabelle in the present, even though he seems to be from the past. Isabelle will eventually understand that Jacques believes Isabelle is her great-grandmother Celeste, the love of his life. Jacques was a free man of color from the Seychelles Islands, and was the captain of his own ship. He is kidnapped and sold into slavery by the French. Even though he is in chains, he still considers himself a free man and will do whatever it takes to be free again. Once brought to the Fontaine farm, he encounters Celeste, and both are forever changed. Jacques is willing to give his soul to protect Celeste, and that desire will override everything else.
Sharon's Question of the Week:
Who was your favorite hero, Michael or Jacques?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dark River Online Book Tour Week #2

Welcome Back!
This week, let's meet with the two characters on which the entire novel hinges: Isabelle Fontaine and her ancestor, Celeste. These two relatives are separated by 100 years, but connected by a mysterious murder.
Isabelle Fontaine is a professional pianist, a celebrity in her native country of Canada. She is alluring with fair features, dark hair and fine French attire. She has inherited the Fontaine estate across the river in the city of Detroit in America; the house is one of the last great estates when the city was under French rule in the 1700s. Isabelle is glad to go to the city to claim the house, because she wants to get away from her life in Canada for some reason. Isabelle has an uncanny resemblance to her ancestor, Celeste. Little does she know, but she may not leave the Fontaine alive.
Celeste, Isabelle's ancestor, is a stunning beauty who died 100 years before at the Fontaine. She was the property, an engage, of Sieur Bennet Fontaine, the owner of Maison Fontaine, one of the houses along the Detroit River deeded to colonists from France by Detroit's founder, Cadillac. Despite her being a slave, Celeste is a talented piano player (taught by Bennet) and captures the eye of Bennet's son, Louis. Celeste and Louis share one passionate summer, but Celeste is troubled by her position as the family slave. Louis is obsessed with Celeste and is defiant when Bennet tells him he must leave Celeste alone and enter into an arranged marriage with Briane from Montreal. Louis eventually agrees to marry Briane for the sake of a financial alliance, but he is determined to also have Celeste as his own.
Celeste realizes her mistake in caring for a man who owns her, and wants to be free of the relationship. Enraged, Louis turns into a violent captor. In the meantime, a mysterious slave is brought to the Fontaine estate to save it. His name is Jacques, and he is like no other man. Strong and proud, Jacques is a master boat builder from the Seychelles Islands. The minute Celeste and he lock glances, they fall deeply in love. Later, this love will be their undoing, but also their salvation.
Sharon's Question of the Week:
For those of you who have read Dark River, what did you think about Bennet as both Celeste's "Pere" and owner?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome to Our Online Book Tour for Dark River!

Welcome to what we hope will be a fun and exciting way to discuss Dark River: A Novel of Suspense. Many of you want to share what you like about the book with a larger group of fellow readers who share the same interests.
Say "Hello" to Sharon Stanford, Editor

Sharon Stanford will post one big Question of the Week for discussion, but feel free to ask your own questions as well.


Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, 1736

“Unknown Negress, October 1736.” Evangeline mouthed these words slowly as she struggled to read the small headstone. She had not come this close to crying in forty years. For Evangeline, this “unknown” woman was the closest thing to a daughter she ever had.

“Everyone knows who you are. Sleep, child, and forget about us all,”
Evangeline muttered prayers and curses in the chilly October air, her labored breathing making icy puffs of air. Her ankles were cold, but she was only concerned about getting to the buggy and back home. Slipping off from the house, Evangeline left a dying Sieur Louis in his room; maybe he would make it through the night, maybe not.

Celeste was gone, and their twilight world was plunged into darkness. It was growing dark. Evangeline did not want to hear that sound again, the sound that comes from the river.

Hearing footsteps in the grass, then a sigh, Evangeline did not bother to turn around with her lantern. The sigh came from everywhere at once. She knew he would come here. Her heart beat faster.

“Go away!” she shouted, crossing herself.

He was back, the sad man who had lost everything.

“Celeste,” he moaned. “Celeste, my love.”

The voice grew more demanding as it chased Evangeline. She made for the road. Choking on a silent scream, the old woman ran the rest of the way. Silas, who had driven her here, was at the ready. Evangeline scrambled into the buggy and they took off down Rue de Ste. Anne at a full gallop. Her hands over her ears, Evangeline felt so sorry for him back there, but she could not help him.

No one could.

Poll #1--Sexy Leading Men

At many of the Dark River discussion groups I've attended, the question always comes up about who readers envision when they think of some of the characters. Unbeknownst to me, Sharon had the same leading man in mind as the image of Michael: Dennis Haysbert, President Palmer on "24" and Jonas on "The Unit."
For Jacques, I thought of Gary Dourdan of "CSI" and Michael Jae-White, a martial arts/sci-fi star. Which men did you think of? Post your comments here, and we'll reveal the results on October 6th.

Gary Dourdan, CSI

Michael Jai-White

Remember that everyone who posts comments are entered each week into a drawing for prizes.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Newest AQP Book a Success

The debut of our newest book, Eyes on Fire: Witnesses to the Detroit Riot of 1967 has exceeded our hopes. The book has been extremely well received, and our editors and authors have had a grand time sharing their remarkable words with a welcoming public. Thanks to an insightful column by Desiree Cooper of the Detroit Free Press, Eyes on Fire gained a notable media boost, enabling us to be recognized at events such as the “Moving Detroit Forward” forum and a feature on Fox 2’s website. Both major booksignings, at Wayne State University and Borders Dearborn, were standing-room only events.

Wayne State University Event
The debut reading took place in the Special Collections Library at WSU, where Assistant Dean Barton Lessin hosted the editors and authors. A copy of Eyes on Fire with our signatures is now part of the permanent international collection.

At the Borders event the evening of August 8th all of the editors and authors were asked to autograph the store poster to hang in their office. The editors were touched by a young man in his twenties who expressed his gratitude to everyone involved with the project.

Sales of the book have been nonstop since its debut July 26th. It’s not too late to obtain your own collectable copy of Eyes on Fire, which is a 40th anniversary commemorative publication.

Dark River is a Bestseller

Dark River: A Novel of Suspense has been a summertime hit, topping the rankings, even over Dean Koontz.

Dark River at the Detroit Public Library
Visitors to the DPL enjoyed hearing a suspenseful excerpt from the novel, read by the author. After the event, the DPL purchased copies for every branch in the system!

Dark River is a Hit with Book Clubs
On the heels of a powerful endorsement from the Circle of Life Book Club of Detroit-Canton-Ann Arbor, Dark River has just been endorsed by Ella’s Book Club of Bloomfield Hills. In September, Dark River is the reading selection for the Fellowship Chapel Book Club. This fall, Dark River will be featured at the Henry Ford Village Book Clubs.

Make Dark River Your Own Book Club’s Selection
Michigan book clubs that choose Dark River during the 2007-2008 book club season are eligible for a bulk discount on orders of ten books or more, along with free shipping. Email or call (313) 515-8122.

Listen to the Dark River Podcast
Listen up for a 30-minute podcast featuring Heather Buchanan and Dark River by the very soon.