The Book Club depicts the lives of eight women, brought together through their participation in a book club. The story portrays the trials, trauma, triumph and redemption of ordinary women trying to navigate through extraordinary circumstances. When one of the women suffers a brutal attack, the ladies of the book club rally together to provide support, but their personal secrets begin to be revealed and threaten to expose the mask that each of them have been wearing.
Carol’s Return, the Book Club 2
Carol’s Return, The Book Club 2 is the continuing story behind the lives of the “Ladies of the Book Club”. It’s been a year since Carol’s brutal attack. While Carol lays in a hospital room fighting for her life, her sister-friends are fighting through some challenges of their own.
Carol’s Return gives the reader a deeper insight into what makes each women tick. The second edition of the Book Club series will have the reader on the edge of their seats and they peek into the hearts and minds of their favorite book club character.
“Carol’s Return” will evoke a range of emotions that may range from cheering, screaming, crying, and laughing to finally celebrating the bond of sisterhood created among the ladies.
I sat in the living room, waiting for Tony to get home from playing tennis, or at least that’s where he said he was going. I poured myself a glass of scotch, made sure there were no distractions, and sat there thinking about how I would tell the man I have shared my life with that it was time to go. Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but it took me this long to finally begin to realize that I deserve more! He deserves more! Hell, we all deserved more than this pretense of a marriage. As I got down to my last sip of scotch, Tony came walking through the door. He looked surprised to see me waiting up for him. I had long since put that tradition to rest. I was usually upstairs snoring by the time he would finally make it in the house. Tonight, I sat here, swirling my finger around the melted ice and staring at the door.
“Hey, what are you doing still up?” he softly muttered.
I looked over at him, made a deep sigh and said, “Can we talk?”
“Sure, Jazz, what’s up?” He called me Jazz, short for Jasmine when he was trying to be sweet. Little did he know, this was not a sweet kind of night.
I started out by telling him how much he has meant to me over the years. “Tony, thank you for being such a great father to the kids, I’ve felt lucky to have someone embrace my children like their own and raise them with so much care and love.” I reminded him of the first time we met; I thought he was so funny and charming. He charmed his way into my heart. I brought up the story of when he conned me into eating that potato salad the night we first met. We both laughed, reminiscing over what used to be. “When I first met you, I felt like you were everything to me, but it was unfair of me to put that much weight on any one person. I know you tried to make me happy and tried to be what I wanted, but Tony, the fact is that I have not been happy in years and I know that you have not been happy either.” He stood there, looking at me but not saying a word. Then I said, “Remember that day when I made all your favorite meals, ran your bath and left that note on your pajamas? I told you in that note that I didn’t ever want to talk about what I found out that day. Well, it’s time to talk about it.”
Tony’s eyes got so big; I thought there were going to jump out of his head. “Don’t worry; the weapons are still locked in the safe,” I said sarcastically with a straight face. “It’s time that we’re both honest about what this wasn’t.” I walked over to the chair where Tony was sitting and put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s time to live in our truth, Tony. It’s time to stop playing a role for other people while we suffocate on our own lies, knowing that we are killing each other a little more every day. Now, I’m not going to say that I understand what you are going through, or that I don’t still feel a little rejected and angry, but what I do know is that you have got to be who you are. Who you are is a gay man that loves other men. You have the right to love or to not love whoever you chose.” Tony sat there, still blank, but listening intently to every word that came out of my mouth.
“You have to stand up and walk in the life that you want and stop hiding behind me and the kids. I have to find the courage to let you go. I have to stop caring about what people will say about me, about you, about us and start caring about discovering who I am. I have been selfishly holding you hostage to the vows that you made to me. I am wrong for that. I can’t blackmail someone into loving me and I certainly can’t blackmail someone into being who they are not. I apologize for everything that I have ever done to you. You don’t deserve to suffer for my inability to be honest with myself and with you. It’s time for both of us to move on. That time starts tonight. You need to go upstairs, pack your things and move out. We can meet this weekend to talk about how and what we are going to tell the family. Whatever we tell them, we need to stand together as a united front and let them see that we support one another. You tell me how much or how little you want them to know. I will respect how you want to handle it. I also want to be fair about alimony. You have taken good care of our family throughout the years. Even though I threatened you in that letter, you know that I’m not the type of woman to take advantage of a man financially out of spite. I was angry then and using the only weapon that I had at the time. It would be trifling of me to use your life choices to blackmail you into staying with me for money. I am fully capable of taking care of myself.”
Tony stood up. “Wait, Jazz! We don’t have to do this. We can make it work. I don’t want to lose my family. I can’t lose you. I’m not ready to tell people. Don’t do this. Let’s just—”
“No!” I interrupted. “Let’s just be honest! For once in our lives, Tony, let’s be honest with people…with each other… Damn it, with ourselves! I have made up my mind. This has to end and it has to end tonight!”
“Please, baby; you don’t know what it’s like.” Tony hadn’t called me baby in years; he must have been terrified, but I had to stick to my guns. I had to make him leave, even though it was killing me inside.
“Stop being a coward,” I shouted. “This is not about you wanting to be with me. This is about your fear of saying what it is! Say it, Tony! Say it! You are a gay black man! Say it!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
“Alright, alright, fuck it! I am a gay black man!” Then, Tony fell to his knees and began to weep. That weeping turned into a loud moan, which then turned into a loud wail.
My family and I are “Expression Artist”, who have a mission to support positive expression, as a vehicle to uplift, promote, encourage, and motive people to be their most creative self.
Valerie is the author of, “The Book Club” and “Carol’s Return, The Book Club 2” She co-wrote her first Anthology, entitled, “Make Pain Pay”, in 2018.
Get to know the author:
- What inspired you to write The Book Club Series?
I was inspired by my experience of being a part of a book club for women. I participated in the book club for several years. Our bond of sisterhood got us through some of the most difficult times in our lives
- When did you write and publish your first book?
I published my first book in 2017. I did not initially plan on writing a book. I moved to Boston and really missed my friends in the book club. I sat down one day and created a few characters based on our personalities. A few years later, I moved back to Virginia. I read the chapters to my sister. She was so excited that she literally locked me in a room during a snow storm and made me finish the book. In April of 2019, I completed and published Carol’s Return, The Book Club 2.
- Did you self-publish your book or did you send it to a publishing company?
I self-published both of my books. It was challenging when I first started out because I was a novice at being an author. I learned more about my craft by networking and surrounding myself with others who had self-published their manuscripts.
- What was the hardest part of self-publishing your books?
The hardest part of self-publishing was creating public interest and marketing. I was an unknown author in the field. I had to put myself out there so that people could begin to associate me with my work. The reason why I decided to create a Youtube webseries is because I believe that people are mostly visual. I wanted to bring my bookclub characters to life on the screen.
- How has your life changed since publishing your first book?
My life has changed in so many wonderful ways since I published my first book. I have met and worked with some amazingly talented individuals. I wrote, directed and produced my first webseries. The webseries is based on my two books. I plan to put out parts three and four of the webseries in the fall.
I was asked to participate in an Anthology with twelve other authors. It is called “Make Pain Pay”. It was published in 2018.
I am currently finishing a new Anthology with fifteen other writers called, “The Corona Chronicles”. I am also working on a documentary titled, “Tired”. It is about the black experience in America.
I organized and facilitated, “Mask Down, Rise Up” in the fall of 2019. The event is an empowerment workshop that provides support and tools for healing wounds that keep women in bondage.
I hosted a local radio show on Rejoice Radio for two years. My segment, Sistah-talk with Valerie, featured local entrepneurs, writers, activist, and other local talents in Richmond, Virginia.
I started two businesses with my two daughters, Generational Words LLC and Eyes of Your Heart Entertainment. The mission of Generational Words is to support positive expression as a vehicle to uplift, promote, encourage, and motive people to be their most creative selves. We accomplish this mission through music, film, events, and writing.
- You sound like a busy lady. What do you in your spare time to take care of yourself?
In my spare time, I spend time with my family and friends. I also love to listen to music and take long drives.
- What’s next for you and your career?
I plan to continue to create programming that supports women in healing the wounds of the past. I am working on new content with my daughters to put films out that entertain and educate. Lastly, I plan to enjoy the gift and life that God has given to me.
Get to Know the Author & the Book:
Buy the book on Amazon.com