• A young girl is orphaned by the tragic death of her middle class parents (Kalina Denise Harris aka Kali Sperling) and banished from her rural, southern town because of the scandal left behind.
• Violently attacked by her aunt who thinks she is trying to steal the uncle who had just tried to rape her, she flees her new home and hits the streets where she is saved by a well-dressed man who seems kindly and concerned. (Billy Sperling)
• He takes her to work for his wealthy, elderly father who appears innocuous and just looking for companionship. (Jordan Banks) But, Jordan isn’t just a Grammy award winning jazz musician; he is a clandestine pimp for the rich and famous.
• Jordan introduces Kalina to his grandson, a married man named Ashton Taylor Sperling who guides Kalina into womanhood and steals her heart as he sets her up for a life in the Sperling controlled household of powerful men, but he has a hidden agenda.
• Just before Kali graduates college, she almost loses her life to an enraged and determined Ashton who takes something from her that she can never get back. She flees.
• On the run for almost two years, Ashton has mellowed. He longs for a happy family with Kali. He seduces her back into his life by using the one thing she can’t resist as bait and their lives take an even more dangerous turn caused by jealousy and deceit.
This unconventional romantic suspense novel is the first of at least three about the Sperling Family, a group of powerful men who have always had their way. This young woman, Kali, introduces another element to the family. She is a woman whom Jordan, the patriarch, has grown to respect and love, not characteristics synonymous with the traits carried by the seven Sperling men. Kali will rise to become the matriarch and a very powerful woman during this series that is filled with situations mirroring those that women have experienced from the dawn of time, the dark and the light side of love. This is not type of love made of fairy tales and happy endings, but about how one woman adapts to bring sanity to her life and stability to her family while riding through turmoil and uncertainty.
Dilsa Saunders Bailey has been writing as a hobby since she was thirteen years old. Her first short story was The Long and Winding Road, a suspense-filled story involving two teens lost on a road. It was a writing assignment for the eighth grade and she received an A+. She was thrilled creating life with the written word, but eventually decided not to pursue writing as a career. Bailey has always been involved in writing newsletters, business plans, and policies, etc. for her employers and as a member for various clubs and organizations. She has since changed her mind about a career in writing and has netted a nomination by the Georgia Writers Association for Georgia Author of the Year Award-First Novel Category in 2010.
Her careers in retail management, sales, and health care have taken her on many paths, but back to her first loves writing and speaking. Dilsa is a manager for a large Medicare Advantage health plan, a career that has spanned twenty years. She is a former Georgia realtor and a public speaker who loves to motivate others to pursue their goals by making the right choices. She has earned a Toastmaster of the Year Award 2007, a Competent Communicator Award in 2007, and a Competent Leadership Award in 2009 from Toastmasters International.
Her favorite past-times these days are tweeting, visiting with friends on Facebook, blogging on www.simplydilsa.com, and working creatively on many soon-to-be published works, including and the sequel to Dreams Thrown Away creating the series, The Sperling Chronicles. She originates from South Carolina, has spent most of her life in the Northeast, and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, and a guinea pig.
Dreams Thrown Away is her first published novel. The Shadow Shorts Trilogy was her first published e-book that will be released again in 2011. She is currently working on two sequels and a movie script for Dreams Thrown Away.
EXCERPT FROM DREAMS THROWN AWAY
by Dilsa Saunders Bailey
Kalina’s skin was crawling with fear. She pushed the kitchen door open and heard another loud boom. She froze. The noise was coming from inside her house. Her hand held the doorknob tightly as her mind raced madly. What was going on and what was she supposed to do? The kitchen was empty and neat as always.
Her mother would never allow a dish or a glass to sit dirty and unwashed, not even for a second. Everything was in its proper place. Everything looked normal. The white metal chairs with the yellow cushioned seats were in their proper places. The salt and pepper shakers sparkled in the afternoon sunlight that crept past the bright yellow kitchen curtains.
“No!” she heard her mother scream. “No, Preach! No!”
Kalina let go of the doorknob and ran through the small cramped living room. She had always complained that the furniture was far too big for the room. She bumped her knee squeezing past the coffee table and the console television set her father had just bought. Then she heard another piercing scream.
Kalina’s feet hit the bottom stair, and she stood still as she heard her mother pleading. Then Kalina moved up the stairs toward her mother’s voice as silently as she could.
“I did it for you and for her!” Charlotte’s voice choked with tears and dread about the money in the drawer she had just earned.
“I did it for you. Preach, listen to me. He paid me. Put the gun down, Preach. Please, Preach! Put the gun down! Let me explain!”
“Once a whore. Always a whore. That’s what Momma told me when I brought you down here. She said you would make me rue the day I laid eyes on you!”
Kalina heard him clearly. Her parents’ bedroom door was open. She was less than ten feet away. She stood stock-still and listened.
“Preach, Preach. Come on, Preach. Think about our baby. Think about Kalina. You don’t want to ruin her life because of our mistakes,” Charlotte reasoned.
“What do you care? She could have come home and been the one to find you with that man in our bed. Charlotte, how could you?” Her father’s voice was calm as it echoed through the hallway to her standing on the stairs of the small brick cottage. Then Kalina heard the sound as Preach primed the shotgun.
“Preach, you made her promises you couldn’t keep. We can’t send her to school in Pennsylvania. That scholarship money won’t cover enough, and you know it. I was just trying to help,” Charlotte offered. “Put the gun down, Preach! We need to get Deke some help. He’s losing a lot of blood.”
“He’s already dead, Charlotte,” Preach said so calmly that Kalina’s entire body shivered. “I never ever would have thought you would have betrayed me – not trusted me. I had faith in you, Charlotte. Why didn’t you have faith in me? I took care of you, of Kalina, the church, my job, all my obligations to everybody. What was it that made you do this to me?”
“I was lonely, Preach. You didn’t look at me with that love in your eyes no more. The only loving eyes you have are for Kalina. But, that’s not why I did it. I wanted to make sure she didn’t have to want for anything. Not the way I did. That’s how I ended up down the wrong path. I didn’t have anything. Nothing. My parents weren’t there for me. You know that. You helped me. Preach, you know I always loved you for that,” Charlotte was measuring her words.
Kalina absorbed everything, but she didn’t want to understand what she heard.
“I took you off the street, and after all these years you bring the street to my bed, my home that I built for you.” Kalina heard her father take a couple of steps.
“You built it for us,” Charlotte’s voice became shrill, “for us! For Kalina. For us. Don’t throw it away, Preach! Not like this. We have got to stay strong for our child. You have to help her reach her dreams, Preach. Don’t throw those dreams away. Please don’t throw us away!”
“I could have asked the same of you, Charlotte. I can’t let you destroy me like this. You’re right. That’s why we both have to go. Kalina. She’ll be all right,” Preach began to sob, and Charlotte began to moan loudly.
“No!” Kalina tried to yell as her feet became unglued from the landing of the stairwell, and she started toward her parents’ bedroom door.
“No!” she tried to scream again, but nothing was coming from her mouth, or maybe it did but was drowned out by the deafening sound of the gunshot that silenced her mother’s excruciating cries for mercy.
She reached the door just in time to have it blown shut in front of her. She heard the impact of her father’s body slam against the door as he had put the second shot to the bottom of his chin. Kalina was thrown against the wall by the force of the door. She slid onto the floor and sat there for a few seconds. The house was deadly still. The smell of sulfur permeated the air.
She found it in her to jump up suddenly and started pushing frantically against the door. She used all the strength of her one hundred pound frame to get the door slightly open. She saw her father’s legs stretched out across the carpeted floor. They were sprayed with blood.
“Daddy!” she screamed. “Daddy, let me in!”
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1) Tell us about your novel.
a. Dreams Thrown Away is a mixture of literary, romance, and suspense. It begins the series with a young woman who suddenly finds herself alone in the world. She is raised to believe that she can have the best in life. So she is not prepared for the tragedy that leads her far away from a safe rural haven she has been dying to leave to the harsh big city where people have hidden agendas. She is lured into a life not quite what she dreamed of having, but can live with because she is seduced by the man of her dreams and all the luxurious trappings she had once thought were at the top of her list. It doesn’t take long for the reality of her situation to settle in when she realizes she was merely a pawn in a cruel game initiated by the love of her life, the favored son of a powerful family in Philadelphia. She flees in fear of her life. But when her lover realizes she was more than a tool he used to get what he wanted. He will do anything to regain her love and trust.
2) Where did you get the idea for the storyline and do you plan to continue its development?
a. The story just sort of dropped in my head. I have been working on it for about a decade. I have always been interested in real life situations that never are as they appear to be. The characters’ lives appear to be perfect, and the male characters appear to be upstanding citizens, but they are definitely not. A real close up character study of this group could easily become a soap opera. That’s my goal. After completing the series –about four books total- I will start writing scripts for the television series.
3) Do you have anything in common with the characters?
a. The only thing I have in common with one of the characters, Kali, is that I grew up in a small town in South Carolina. Again, observing behavior is my favorite thing to do. As a result, I noticed that small towns and cities have their own personalities. I moved from that small town to attend Temple University in Philadelphia and eventually lived there for 13 years. For me, that was definitely a culture shock, one that I shared in the character’s reactions. But, that’s where it ends.
4) What inspired you to write a novel?
a. I have been writing stories since I was 13. And I love to read. Working in a demanding career as I do, I am behind on a lot of great novels, but I am playing catch up. But, whenever I get a chance to read, I always think I can do this. So I decided to stop waiting. I decided to just do it. I wanted to take my stories to another level, a full character study and not just a glimpse.
5) What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting published?
a. Have no fear. Write. Write. And, write some more. Then pursue it. I didn’t query for this novel or try to go through the traditional route. I was so excited to finish it, I headed straight toward self-publishing. There are many options out there now, so do your research. Remember publishing is like any other business. It’s a numbers game; never consider yourself a failure no matter which route you take. Always be prepared. Write, polish, and submit if you want to go the traditional route, over and over and over. Write, polish and publish if you want to go the self-publishing route. And, please either route you take, utilize the services of a good editor.
6) Where can we purchase your book?
a. My book is available in a paperback format and a Kindle format on www.amazon.com. It’s also available at most online retailers and my websites, www.dilsasaundersbailey.com or http://outskirtspress.com/dreamsthrownaway.
7) Are you available for speaking engagements, events, or book signings?
a. I love to speak and share what I have learned over the years. So, yes. I am available for speaking engagements to share self-publishing tips because I made a lot of mistakes along the way and I don’t want anyone else to go that route. I am also available to speak to groups about my concept Lather, Rinse, Repeat-Making the Right Choices. I recently refocused my blog to this concept which entails learning, assessing, and practice, practice, practice to help move you forward and prepare you to make the right choices.
I am also available for book signings and book club visits. I love to talk about the characters in my book. I think both Kali and Ashton could benefit from a good psychotherapist. The book clubs I have visited are really good at analyzing their motives. Neither of them were angels, and one of them was definitely very dangerous. Frankly, if I were a man I would Kali a wide berth. Tragedy seems to befall everyone she loves.