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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Alicia Singleton, author of Dark Side of Valor

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Alicia Singleton's Dark Side of Valor Virtual Book Publicity Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book.

About Alicia:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel. Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Alicia!

Alicia has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.

Alligator’s Crack-houses and Rats…Oh My! - The Boring Life of an Author?

How does an author spend their day?  Up at dawn, start the coffee brewing, then sit down to type page after page of the characters’ lives that are buzzing in their mind.  They break to pop a frozen diet meal in the microwave, wolf it down, then back to the typing grind. 

Boring, right? 

Not so.  An author’s life can be solitary, but, it can also be filled with adventure, intrigue and unseen dangers.  Not the, ‘Darn it, I just broke my nail on the keyboard.’ danger.  I’m talking about the kind of danger that can get you shot, scared spitless or eaten.  How can this be, you ask?


Research, deliberate or accidental, can be as docile as reading an article or as perilous as standing in a crack-house.  The research for my recent novel, Dark Side of Valor, provided me with both types of experiences.  Studying the Sudan, the jungles of the Congo, interviewing child advocates, even pulling from my experience of working in a homeless shelter as a nurse, seemed mundane compared to some of the crazier things I’ve done for the sake of a novel. 

Research for the most harrowing scenes from the book came totally by accident.  Some years ago, my husband and I were interested in buying rental properties.  We’d venture into boarded houses with our real estate agent.  The strong smell of rodents would stop me near the front door.  On a good day I’d make it to the living room.  I was more afraid of the rats then standing amid the litter of needles, syringes, broken crack pipes, piles of trash or looking through the splintered floor boards wondering if I were going to fall through.  Going to house after house, the heroine, child advocate Lelia Freeman’s encounters became crystal clear.  I thought, ‘This is what Lelia sees when she is going into the crack-houses to save her children.’ Through those experiences, I was able to infuse the emotions I felt, the things that I saw, the smells I smelled, into the story. 

More perilous times lay in store for my husband and me on a research trip to a former rice plantation, turned bed and breakfast, in South Carolina.  It was about 11:30 pm when we got near the location.  We passed the entrance to the plantation several times before we saw the plank signage, turned onto the dirt path, then stopped underneath the sign to stare into a hole cut into the woods.  When the inn keeper told us that the bed and breakfast sat about a mile and a half off of the road, I had no idea that it sat ‘off the road’ down a single dirt path, cut through very thick woods.  Did I mention that there were no street lights, no moon light and that it was 11:30 pm?  My husband said, “Uhhh, are you sure about this?” To be honest, I was ready to turn around to try to find a Holiday Inn, but in my mind I kept chanting, ‘bestseller’s list, bestseller’s list.’  Gritting my teeth, I said, “Let’s do it.” and we drove on.

About a half a mile down the road, I was about to ask my husband to turn around and find that Holiday Inn when he decided that it would be fun to turn off the headlights!  Driving 35 to 40 miles per hour isn’t fast, but when its pitch black and you can’t feels like warp-speed.    

In stressful situations, I’m a fairly calm natured person and generally don’t cuss, but that night was not a ‘generally’ night.  I was yelling at him to turn the lights on, he was saying how awesome it was driving in the dark and all of my previous thoughts of being a bestselling author went out the window. 

We finally made it to our room, had a de-stressing sleep and started the next day by  venturing all over the plantation.  It sat on 500 acres, most of which used to be rice patties, river beds and swamps.  Behind the plantation’s main house, there were acres of tall grass, paths and cut-outs in the tall grass.  Each cut out had a trench furrowed in the ground that led down to the river.  I thought about the amount of rain it took to hollow out the trenches and was fascinated.  I knelt down to examine the river at the top of each trench, had a wonderful time being one with nature.

The following day we had the delight of meeting Captain Sandy, our tour guide.  We told him about walking though the grass and the trenches.  He told us, “Yep, those trenches are where the gators slither down into the river.  They lie in the grass waiting for their dinner to come along, catch them in their snouts, then drag them down in the water.  Hold them there till they drown.”  Of course, we didn’t venture back into the tall grass for the rest of our stay.

So, on any given day, the life of an author isn’t boring.  It can take you to the streets of the inner city to the perils of the vast outdoors.  It all depends on a willing heart and the pursuit of the ultimate prize, a great story.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Alicia!

There is not one but TWO giveaways! Be sure to keep scrolling for Giveaway #2.

Giveaway #1

One lucky winner will win a paperback copy of suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.

Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.

Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.

Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the Dark Side of Valor.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below. 

This giveaway is open to Canada/US addresses only until 12:01 AM EST on June 14, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2:


~ ~ ~$100 VISA CARD GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Pump Up Your Book and Alicia Singleton are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $100 Visa Card (Canada/US only)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Participants

Monday, June 4

Tuesday, June 5
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz

Wednesday, June 6
Book Review at Bookin’ It Up

Thursday, June 7
Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook

Friday, June 8
Book Spotlight & Book Giveaway at Sweet Southern Home

Monday, June 11
Interview at Between the Pages

Tuesday, June 12
Book Review & Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at The Bookish Dame

Wednesday, June 13
Book Review at Cindy’s Love of Books

Thursday, June 14

Friday, June 15
Book Review at Ashley’s Bookshelf 

Tuesday, June 19
Book Review & Book Giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Wednesday, June 20
Book Review & Guest Blogging at My Book Addiction and More

Thursday, June 21
Book Review & Book Giveaway at Books in the Burbs

Friday, June 22
Book Review at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Monday, July 2
Book Review at The Solitary Bookworm 

Monday, July 9
Guest Blogging at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, July 10
Book Review at Martha’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, July 11
Guest Blogging at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, July 17
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey  Girl Book Reviews 

Friday, July 27
Interview at SheWrites 

Wednesday, August 8
Book Review at Words I Write Crazy

Monday, August 20
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life


  1. Saving troubled teens is extremely important to me because they are our future.

  2. Hi, Darlene! Fantastic post today! I loved how you touched on every angle. Great presentation of this really good book. Deb/TheBookishDame

  3. saving my own teen is trouble enough but it is an important topic

  4. It very important because a lot of them do not have the guidance they need to make good judgement calls and end up going down the wrong path.

  5. So important! But honestly (speaking from experience) there is only so much that you can do. Watch out for them, guide them and hope they make the right decisions. Sometimes you have to let them fall on their butts to allow them to learn a lesson.

  6. Today's troubled teens could be our nations future hope so everything possible should be done to save them

  7. While barreling down the road at 40 mph in the dark sounds awesome, I'd have had nightmares for months after the gator report!

  8. I think it is very important to save today's teens since they are who will be running everything in decades to come.

  9. Very!! They are our future and many lack guidance and role models that have morals.
    I serve on our Mayor's Task Force on Youth Gang Prevention, people need to get involved.

  10. It's very important as our teens are our future

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

  11. Very important. They are the key to our future.

    Vivian M

  12. VERY important!! Thats what I do for a living. I am a drug and alcohol counsellor. I love my work and if I can help even ONE kid thats all that matters :)
    amymccarty at hotmail dot com.

  13. It is very important for me. I have made it my career, and joy, in life to work with teens in camps and churches.


  14. It's very important to me. I spent a lot of time on the streets myself as a teenager and I like to be able to help in whatever small ways I can.

  15. It's so important! If no one saves them what will our world be like in the years to come!?

  16. I have 4 children 3 happen to be teenage girls, one of those girls happens to also be my cousin who I took in when she was 12. She had been moved from home to home with her sister who was a few years older. When I took her it was because she was going to be put into foster care because her oldest adult sister could not handle her and the other sister along with her teenage daughter, those three girls had been out drinking,and doing drugs with older teen boys. They need guidance and direction with tons of love. My daughter/cousin is now a wonderful young lady who is getting great grades, is active in her church youth group, athletic, loved by everyone who meets her, and she has a plan for life.
    So yes I find it very important to protect and guide our children, all children.

  17. Saving troubled teens is extremely important since at that age, its very easy to feel alone in the world and that no one understands what you are going through. Making happy teens means successful adults.

  18. Thansk for a great giveaway.
    Saving troubled teens is extremly important and wish that there were more people doing it.

  19. It's very importante to me, especially considering that my daughter and her friends will soon be teenagers.

  20. Great giveaway! Saving teens is important, and a must for all of us, if you can't see it from sentimental an human side, you must see it from the economic point of view, every saved teen will turn out to be a productive citizen instead of a cost to our society.
    My heart breaks when I see a young life spoiled.

  21. Very important. Times are so different now and having successfully raised 3 to adulthood I can tell you I worried constantly about them. My daughter turned 16 today and I worry about her all the time.

  22. Very important, because they are out future leaders.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  23. The teen years are a very difficult time. You are not a child anymore but you are not an adult either. It is a time they need a lot of support.

  24. Very, since I will have two very soon. I know that a lot of kids need help.


  25. I think it is very important to help troubled teens. Those are very awkward and confusing years.

  26. I do think it's very important - it's a time when so, so much good (or bad) can happen.

  27. Being a teen myself, I know it's important because if someone didn't reach out to help me, I wouldn't be where I am today.

  28. Saving troubled teens is very important because they are the adults of the future and if we don't help them now, they will have to struggle even more as adults, when they shouldn't have to.

  29. It is very important; however, to be honest, it sometimes feels futile. A lot of them like the life they live. I think we can only help those who are willing to cooperate and to work. It is important we do this so that they do not become the criminals we learn to hate.

  30. It is very important! I think it's important to love on them when they are young so that by the time they are teens they know their worth.

  31. It's really really important! I'm a teenager myself, and when you're troubled, it really affects your life and everyone around you. Thank you for this giveaway btw!(:

  32. What a great post! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this blog! :)


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