Thursday, July 16, 2015

Love & Happiness by Ben Burgess Jr @Ben_Burgess_Jr ~ Author Interview, Tour and Rafflecopter #Free #Giveaway

Love & Happiness - Banner


TITLE – Love and Happiness AUTHOR – Ben Burgess Jr. GENRE – African American Fiction/ Urban Fiction PUBLICATION DATE – April 24th 2015 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 240 Pages PUBLISHER – Self Published (CreateSpace/IngramSpark) COVER ARTIST – Leah Friday

Love & Happiness - Book Cover


Karen has it all: a handsome husband, beautiful twin daughters, a lovely home and a great job. Karen also has a secret; she’s cheating on her husband, with not one man, but two. On the outside her life seems perfect, but on the inside Karen feels neglected, bored and unappreciated. Yearning for affection and excitement, she falls into the arms of first Raheem and then Tyrell. Out of fear of losing her husband and breaking up her family, Karen ends the affairs but things don’t turn out how she planned. When Karen’s dirty secrets are revealed she must fight to keep her family together. Chris is doing all he can to hold his marriage together. He loves Karen but she grows more distant every day. When she starts coming home later and later, he suspects she is being unfaithful. When Chris accidentally takes her cell phone what he finds changes their lives forever. When tragedy strikes, Karen must decide if she should sacrifice her happiness for her husband’s love, and Chris wonders if he should stay with Karen because he still loves her despite her infidelity. But if they do stay together, will they ever find love and happiness again? Sexy and relatable, insightful and inspiring, Love and Happiness shows us both sides of Chris and Karen's story, and reminds us that sometimes to have it all, you must first lose it all.

Love & Happiness - 3D Cover


Love & Happiness - FB Banner


When we got home, I decided to put all our bickering aside and make love to my husband. While Chris pleased me sexually, our busy work schedules had reduced our lovemaking to mundane quickies. I knew if I was bored, he must be too.
To spice things up, I’d read magazines, watched porn, and gathered tips from my friends. He loves lacy lingerie, so I wore my black bustier, black French-cut panties, and fishnet stockings. I lit scented candles and put on soft jazz to set the ambiance in the bedroom. Chris walked in. 
“Damn!” he said. 
He tugged on my lingerie to take it off. I couldn’t hide my smile. His hands hungrily roamed my body. 
“Easy, baby. Enjoy what you’re looking at.” 
I felt self-conscious as he groped me because his earlier comment about me looking chunky, kept replaying in my mind. 
We made love. I used a lot of the new ideas I learned to spice things up, but he didn’t seem to notice. Chris always has the decency to make sure I cum, but again we ended up having another quickie because he had to wake up early the next morning. He rolled over on his side and went to sleep almost immediately after. I frowned, shook my head and stared at the ceiling. Was it me? Is this how marriage was supposed to be? Had we both gotten too comfortable? 
I decided I’d start going to the gym and get a personal trainer. I hoped working with a trainer would change me enough that even Chris would have to say something positive about it. I didn’t imagine how much it would change me.

Love & Happiness - Author Photo


Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and the new novel "Love and Happiness" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and his novel "Monster" are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management, and a MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities. Twitter: Ben_Burgess_Jr

Love & Happiness - Full Wrap


Muffy Wilson Interview Questions
Author: Ben Burgess Jr      
Date of Birth:  September 22nd
Date of Interview:  July 13, 2015
Place:  My Family’s Heart Book Tour/ New York
The Book:  Love and Happiness

Which living person do you most admire?
The person I admire most would be my Mother. My biggest inspiration/motivation is my daughter. As a parent, I want nothing but the best for my child. I look at her as an extension of myself. I didn’t have a great childhood. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, I was insecure about myself, I lived in poverty, and I missed out on opportunities due to a lack of funds. While my childhood wasn’t the best, I had a great role model, my Mother. I watched my Mom struggle to pay bills, work two jobs, put herself through school all the way up to her doctorate, and moved us out of the bad neighborhood we lived in into a house in the suburbs. She did all of these tasks on her own. My Mother did the best she could to push for me to have better opportunities than she did. She pushed me to want more out of myself and to become the best person I could be. 

What is your greatest fear?
I’m scared that I’ll be a one hit wonder or, in this case, a three hit wonder. I never want to lose my hunger to produce great books or to put out books that people can’t relate to and hate. No one knows this about me, but I beat myself up, editing and second guessing myself every day. I have a good “poker face”. I do well at acting like I’m confident and calm, but in reality I worry that readers will not understand the messages I’m trying to relay, or they just won’t care about my books altogether.

Which book have you read the most in your lifetime? Why?
I’ve read Richard Wright’s “Native Son” the most in my lifetime because I love how his character “Bigger Thomas” was so flawed. He was far from perfect and was on the cusp of being both the protagonist and antagonist. As a reader, I hated Bigger Thomas and felt sorry for him at the same time. The book played on my emotions and I loved that a book could make me feel emotional.

What quality do you most admire in a woman/man, lover/spouse or influence/boss?
I like a woman that is strong, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I love women that is driven and ambitious, someone that will push me to be better.

What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
That author for me would be author Eric Jerome Dickey. What attracted me to his work was the fact that it was different from most of the other Urban/ African American Fiction authors that I had read. I have spoken to him personally, and he has encouraged and supported my writing career. He has influenced me to not be afraid to be different. In the bonus section on my new book “Love and Happiness”, I actually made a poem in honor of him.

A teacher that influenced me would be Mrs. Marcus. When I was in her 8th-grade class, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son”  I read that book, and it was life changing for me. I knew I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a poetry book. I continued to write throughout high school and college.

My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.

Which are your three favorite books? Top Favorite authors?
My top favorite authors are Richard Wright, Eric Jerome Dickey, Zane, and Carl Weber. Three of my favorite books are: Richard Wright’s “Native Son” Eric Jerome Dickey’s Cheaters and Zane’s Addicted.

Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
I get my ideas for writing just from living life and observing the world. I love to people watch, and I’m constantly thinking. When I’m developing my characters, I like them to be layered. I don’t want to make perfect characters because no one is perfect. I develop characters that have strengths and flaws because I feel that makes it easier for readers to connect. I put pieces of myself in every character, but I also look at the personality traits of strangers, family, and friends to inspire me for my character development. I like to do research also by interviewing strangers to get different perspectives on topics.

What is your ‘Writing Routine’, if any?
I write whenever I have the time or as soon as I have an idea. I have a Samsung Note 4 so if an idea comes to mind, I literally write it down or use the voice memos to record my thoughts and write them out when I get time. I try to write something every day, even if it’s only paragraph. I’m a huge perfectionist, so I’m constantly editing and re-editing while I’m writing. Once my project is completed, I edit again to try to make my work the best it can be. When I’m writing, I can have music or a movie playing in the background, but I totally zone out and focus on writing. I turn the internet off when I’m working on my laptop because honestly, I usually end up looking at Facebook or checking out stuff on ESPN. To include my daughter in my writing process, she puts her desk next to mine while I’m writing and practices writing her letters and/or doing her homework.

How can readers connect with you online?
Readers can always email me at, or they can go to my fan pages and website to stay in touch or learn more about my works.

Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
My next project is titled “Daddy’s Girl” Which will be a story of the trials and tribulations of a single father raising a bi-racial daughter on his own. The daughter character in this book will be “Lynn” from my first novel monster. Here, you will see her origin, and learn more about her character.

*Bonus Question: What are your Top (10?) Writing Tips? Writing Advice?
There will be lots of times when you want to give up. There will be times when people will talk bad about your book or sales might be low. Never give up. Believe in yourself and believe in your work. Listen to critiques and push your pride to the side. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you believe you are, you can always improve. There will be those who will not be fans of your writing, but you should never give up. Keep improving and learning your craft. Edit and re-edit. (*always have your books professionally edited. You want people to take your book seriously and not feel that it is amateurish.) Learn from your mistakes, take classes and read other authors. Research the industry. Two of the most important things to do are: 1. Find a credible editor and 2. Promote, promote, promote. You have to put your heart and soul into your work. While it will be hard, and you will go through trials and tribulations, in the end it’s worth it when your book is entertaining people, and it’s successful.


Love & Happiness - Teaser 


(5) Five paperback books to (5) selected winners.

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