Newly Released Novel from Laid Off Secretary Written in Four Days
Diverse Arts Collective helps woman turn job loss into an opportunity
to follow her dreams
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) May 14, 2012
"Married in the Nick of Nine," a newly released novel published by Diverse Arts Collective, officially launches on June 9, 2012. The company is
excited about the book about a woman who wants to meet, fall in love with, and marry "The One" within nine months. But what's equally interesting
is the novel's inception.
Not too long ago, Alretha Thomas was a secretary at an investment bank. On a Tuesday afternoon, her personnel manager asked to see her
right away. “My stomach did a million flips. I whispered a prayer and headed to the conference room like a woman on death row,” Alretha said.
Her fears were well-founded: After twelve years with the same firm, she was let go.
Alretha packed her belongings and called her husband with the bad news: She had joined the ranks of the unemployed. But according to Alretha, she
had an ace in the hole, and that was her faith. When she prayed for guidance, it dawned on her she was now free to write. A graduate of USC with a
degree in journalism, Alretha had always fantasized about a full-time writing career. In fact, she’d gotten an idea for a book earlier that year about
a woman who wanted to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” before her thirtieth birthday. “I didn’t really believe anything would happen with
‘Married in the Nick of Nine.’ I had two-self-published novels and I didn’t want to self-publish a third. At the time, I had no hopes of getting a deal. I
only had about thirty pages written.”
On a Friday, three days after being laid off, Alretha decided to do a test query. “I never expected to get a bite, especially not from my first query.
But lo and behold, the agent responded immediately. I was shocked.” When the agent asked to read the entire manuscript, Alretha was filled with
a mixture of glee and dread. “I thought about how long it would take me to finish the manuscript and worried that, by the time I was done, the
agent would no longer be interested. So I got busy. My husband thought I was crazy.” For the next three days, from four o’clock in the morning until
one the next morning, Alretha wrote nonstop. On the following Monday, she received another email from the agent asking if the manuscript had
gotten lost in cyberspace. “I couldn’t believe it. By now I was close to finished. I had nearly seventy-thousand words; the book had practically written
itself. I felt like Bradley Cooper in the movie “Limitless,” but instead of the fictional drug NZT, I was using faith and prayer to complete what I thought
was an impossible task. I emailed the manuscript on Tuesday, September 27, 2011— four days after I started writing the novel and one week after
I was laid off!”
Alretha received great feedback from the agent, but did not receive a deal. Encouraged, she began querying other agents and receiving more
requests for the manuscript. However, after several passes, she decided it was time to let someone other than an agent read her work. So she
reached out to Renni Browne at “The Editorial Department.” “I was told that my concept was great and my writing solid, but ‘Married in the Nick of
Nine’ needed more work to get to the next level.” Alretha took in the feedback she received from Jesse Steele, an editor assigned to her novel and
diligently worked on her book. After being laid off for four months, Alretha’s manuscript was ready for resubmission.
Alretha resubmitted her novel, and received positive reviews about her writing and the concept, but was told countless times by agents, that because
of the sluggish economy and her status as a first-time author, they would be hardpressed to sell her book. Determined to introduce her story to the
world, after several months, Alretha decided to self-publish through Diverse Arts Collective.
“Married in the Nick of Nine” is now available on Amazon.com.
Nationally Recognized Book Club Names Top 25 Summer Reads of 2012
Conversations Book Club includes "Married in the Nick of Nine" in its Top
25 Summer Reads of 2012
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 13, 2012
Alretha Thomas, author of the new novel "Married in the Nick of Nine" was glued to her computer as she blogged, participated in book discussions,
and answered a deluge of email. However, it was an email from Cyrus A. Webb, an award-winning artist/author/poet and president of the nationally-
recognized book club Conversations that gave her pause. The subject read: First Look: Conversations 25 Summer Reads, 2012.
"Initially I was afraid to look," Thomas said when she opened the email. However, to her surprise and delight, her third novel "Married in the Nick
of Nine" was listed among the top 25 Summer reads of 2012. “An endorsement from Cyrus is huge. He’s a brilliant writer in his own right and an
equally talented interviewer. Cyrus has recently featured a variety of well-known individuals from all walks of entertainment on his radio show,
including the legendary Dionne Warwick, singer Kenny Latimore, and Darrin Dewitt Henson of ‘Soul Food,’ to name a few,” Thomas said.
Since its release in May 2012, "Married in the Nick of Nine," about a young woman who wants to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within
nine months, has garnered the interest of readers and book clubs across the country.
“WOW!!!! was the first word out of my mouth after reading ‘Married in the Nick of Nine.’ I sat down to read a few chapters of the book and four hours
later I had read the entire book. This book was intense. There was romance and mystery all rolled up in one. It kept me on the edge of my seat.”
Selatha Smith Circle of Friends Book Club (Ontario, California).
“This book was so good and so entertaining; I literally got mad when I got to the end. I laughed and I cried. I really enjoyed this book and highly
recommend it to anyone who's looking for a great love story!” V.J. (Inglewood, California).
"I enjoyed the third book by Alretha Thomas, ‘Married in the Nick of Nine,’ and read it in about 3-4 days. It is an easy read and the main characters
are very believable.” Rozalin D. Williams (Detroit, Michigan).
“This is the first book that I have read by Alretha Thomas and I must say it was a wonderful book. In ‘Married in the Nick of Nine’ you will find love,
humor, betrayal and so much more.” Mz. Tiffany (Memphis, Tennessee).
"They say you can't catch lightning in a bottle and that lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice, but I think Alretha might be proving them
wrong. With three books under her belt and all three literary treasures, I think it's safe to say she goes 3 for 3 with ‘MARRIED IN THE NICK OF NINE’.”
CA Webb (Jackson, Mississippi).
“They say the third time's the charm, and this couldn't be more true of Alretha Thomas's captivating third novel, ‘Married in the Nick of Nine.’ Alretha
has hit the ball out of the park with her amusing-yet-convincing portrait of Cass and Nick, two not-quite-star-crossed lovers who struggle to defy obstacles
of time, distance, and skeletons in the closet.” Sheryl Sorrentino (Oakland, California).
‘Married in the Nick of Nine’ made me laugh, cry, get mad, and empathize with the characters. This is a must read novel. This is movie material.
Hey Tyler, check this one out!” Member Circle of Friends Book Club.TRA.
“I did not want to put the book down and I read it in three days. At the end of the story, I turned the page and wanted more!!” SR Sampson.
“While reading this novel I laughed, I gasped, I got angry, and I cried. Every emotion that a good book should make you feel!” SistahFriend Book Club.
“The way I was captured from the beginning to the end reminded me of how Author Sidney Sheldon's novels mesmerized me.” Amelia.
“I was given this book as a gift and could not put it down from the moment that I started I ended up finishing it in one day.” L. Hassan.
“Once I opened the book, I could not put it down, eager to learn the outcome of each predicament faced by the main character, Cassandra.” Chris.
Alretha says she’s blown away by the response her book is getting and wants readers to know it’s not just a summer read, but can be enjoyed year-round.
“One Woman, Two Lives”
By M. Jarrett Christensen on August 5th, 2009
The past may remain a distant companion, but it constantly creeps up on us, sometimes as an unwanted guest, sometimes, a ghost of what we
were. The dichotomy is how we perceive it: friend or foe? These are some of the themes explored in One Woman, Two Lives penned by
Alretha Thomas. Thomas’s focused intent is on illuminating the bonds of family, and how those bonds only strengthen when it is threatened.
This is story of how the power of honesty opens the path for redemption for all involved.
The story opens with the beautiful Samantha Cooke (a charismatic Kellita Smith) caring for an equally beautiful and close family. Her husband
Jonathan (Keith Bossier) is a well-known reverend who has an earnest devotion to his ministry. The house is really run by his mother, wily Edna
(a glorious Esther Scott). She may impose her will on Samantha, but truly has the family’s best interests at heart. Their neighbors, Michael &
Belinda Grey (Sammie Wayne IV & Sharon Munfus) also are closely tied to all matters of business and heart. All seems well until Melvin Foster
(an absolutely magnificent Billy Mayo) pays a visit. He opens the wounds of Samantha’s past that she has successfully kept hidden. But not anymore.
This production is top-notch. A clever use of stage and blocking allows the audience to be completely immersed in the world of the characters.
Denise Dowse’s direction opens authentic conviction from the performers. It is a sense of vibrancy that is deeply felt. This is a production that
has emotional grace. Highly recommended. “One Woman, Two Lives” runs through August 23 at The Imagined Life Theatre, 5615 San Vincente
Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019. Call 626-858-1907 for more information or visit www.onewomantwolives.com
Alretha Thomas, Author of Daughter Denied, Returns to Bay Area to Inspire
Next Generation of Writers
"We're excited that Alretha is coming to speak," says Vidrale A. Franklin,
principal of Bret Harte. "We need more role models reflecting the aspirations
of our student body," says Gilbert Cho, principal of Martin Luther King
Academic Middle School.
PRLog (Press Release) - May 15, 2008 -
Women from Homeless Shelter Form Special Bond with "Daughter Denied" Author Alretha Thomas
Posted September 19th, 2008 by fazilahmed
Los Angeles, CA, September 19, 2008 (PressReleasePoint) -- At first glance you could easily imagine “Daughter Denied” author Alretha Thomas being cast in a Hollywood movie as a attractive, bright and well put together attorney or perhaps a stand-in for Michelle Obama. However, the women
who reside at A Brighter Future, a YMCA shelter that houses women and children in Hollywood, California, soon learned the true meaning of the adage looks can be deceiving. Never would they have guessed that Thomas, a successful playwright and author, had once been homeless herself. Thomas revealed this information and more as she shared her troubled past wherein she battled anorexia, bulimia and addiction.
"I want the women of A Brighter Future to not give up five minutes before the miracle,” she said when asked why she was so forthcoming during a presentation she made at the shelter on September 15, 2008 to more than a dozen women who had recently formed a book club after being donated copies of “Daughter Denied” by gospel singer Anna Moore. You could hear a pen drop as Thomas talked about growing up poor and abused in a San Francisco housing project, the death of her mother at the age of 14 and her drive to overcome obstacles. Thomas shared with the women how she graduated salutatorian of her high school and received a scholarship to attend USC where she graduated with a degree in journalism. However, it was her subsequent descent into eating disorders and addiction that drew rapt attention and tears from the women. Following her presentation she was bombarded with questions ranging from “How do you get over the death of a love one?” to “How do you help someone get out of an abusive relationship?”
The women expressed how they were able to relate to Earnestine, the mother in “Daughter Denied” who’s caught in a cycle of drug addiction and co-dependency. One resident shared how she could understand how the fictional character Earnestine found herself stuck repeating the same actions expecting different results. She went on to express how people misconstrue her stoic exterior for strength. “I have been abused all my life and oftentimes I’m hurting inside and then when I express this I’m told I’m a strong black woman and to get over it,” she went on to say through a cascade of tears. In spite of their frustrations many of the women stated that they were grateful to be a part of A Brighter Future Program and that Thomas’ visit and presentation was enlightening and encouraging. “It’s good to see and hear from someone who has gone though a lot and has come out successful,” said a young woman who participated in the session with her baby in tow. A Brighter Future Director of Social Services, Cynthia Arreola, echoed this sentiment as she expressed her gratitude to Thomas for being so open with the women. “Your visit and discussion has really inspired the women of A Brighter Future,” she said as Thomas signed copies of “Daughter Denied.” “The women at A Brighter Future and their children deserve all that life has to offer and I am living proof that with help, hope, and perseverance, these women can realize their dreams,” Thomas added. Thomas knows a little something about dreams being realized. She says it was shortly after graduating from college that she began to act out as a result of underlying pain and anger that had been simmering since childhood.
In 1993, after hitting bottom, Thomas says she joined a 12-step program and never looked back. She returned to church and began writing plays for her church’s Liturgical Fine Arts Department. The plays were so well received that her plays were produced outside the church as well. Prior to her foray into playwriting, Thomas says she was inspired to write “Daughter Denied,” a family saga centering around a precocious 7-year-old girl named Tina who’s trapped in her mother’s world of co-dependency and addiction. However, it took 10 years of putting ”Daughter Denied” on the shelf and taking it off the shelf before Thomas ignored her over 100 rejection letters and self published in May of this year. “Daughter Denied” has received praise from book clubs across America and has inspired Thomas to encourage others who have a dream to write to do so. Thomas concluded her visit at A Brighter Future with hugs, kisses and whispers of encouragement as she passed out her business cards and urged the women to call her at anytime. “I plan to stay in touch with them all,” she said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “I got more out of this than they did,” she added as she waved what she said would not be a final goodbye to the women of A Brighter Future.
Alretha Thomas' Debut Novel "Daughter Denied" Makes Conversations Book Club's Top 50 Fiction Books of 2008
Author of New Novel "Daughter Denied" Thankful for Literary Acknowledgment
Los Angeles, CA, October 29, 2008 (PressReleasePoint) -- On Saturday October 25, 2008, Alretha Thomas, author of the new novel “Daughter Denied” was glued to her computer as she perused literary websites, participated in book discussions and answered a deluge of email. However, it was an email from Cyrus A. Webb, an award-winning artist/author/poet and president of the nationally-recognized book club Conversations that gave her pause. The subject read: JUST IN: Conversation Reveals Its “Top 100 of 2008.” The list was broken down into three categories; top 25 non-fiction titles, top 25 Musical Performers and top 50 fiction titles. “Initially I was afraid to look,” Thomas said when she opened the email. However, to her surprise and delight, her debut novel “Daughter Denied” was listed among the top 50 fiction titles of 2008. “I count any recognition from the literary community as a blessing and an honor,” Thomas said as she read the other titles and authors that were listed. “I’m in good company,” Thomas added.
Since its release in May 2008, “Daughter Denied” a family saga inspired by Thomas’ childhood, told through the eyes of a precocious 7-year-old and her mother Earnestine, who’s caught in a cycle of drug dependency and a co-dependent relationship, has garnered the interest of readers and book clubs across the country.
“Alretha Thomas delivers a gripping tale with Daughter Denied.” A Place of Our Own Book Club.
“It's so hard to tell an adult story through the eyes of a child, but Alretha Thomas is flawless in her execution. In a lot of ways the book reminds me of great 70’s films like "Claudine." Alretha Thomas writes like a chef. She gives you just enough tragedy, just enough realness and just enough hope for a full plate of great literature.” Award winning author Andre Coleman (California).
“Awesome!!! Definitely will have you up late at night and taking breaks at work to read. Emotional roller coaster. I definitely recommend others read, cause it is a page turner. Awesome job Alretha.” Ararojax Literary Group Inc. (Florida).
“Daughter Denied is riveting and a superb drama with extraordinary characters and an intense original plot. Daughter Denied has the makings of a bestseller.”
Arc Book Club Inc. (New York).
Ms. Thomas created a compelling portrait of a dysfunctional family who in the end finds hope and redemption. I enjoyed watching the main character Tina, a young girl of seven come of age over the ten year span of the story. I cried at her struggles, admired her feistiness and cheered at her final triumph over her circumstances. I am sure many will find Ms. Thomas' book an interesting read.” Ladies of Color Turning Pages (California).
A wonderful read, one that captivates you from beginning to end. Alretha takes the reader on a riveting journey through the eyes of a child (Tina), whose strength and resiliency is amazing. The canvas of Tina's life is painted with skillfully chosen words and images that are poignant, compelling and buoyant. Alretha's acute character development acumen as a screen writer is completely evident in this work. Alretha hits a home run and writes a work that lends itself to the big screen. Oprah take notice! Veronica Hendrix, Syndicated Columnist.
© 2013 Alretha Thomas. All Rights Reserved.