Nicole Dunlap

It is FOR and ABOUT authors.  Here we shine the light on authors who we’ve read, reviewed and recommend to others.  In this edition we are shining our light on another gifted author…

Nicole Dunlap holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Child Development and a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling. She lives her dream of counseling in the inner city of San Bernardino, motivating teens dealing with depression, pregnancy, gang membership, and abuse. But she admits to two passions – writing being her first love. She has been self-dubbed the “gumbo genre” novelist, because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. Her stories revolve around family and relationships, women’s issues, drizzled with drama, peppered with suspense, and finished off with aromatic notes of romance. The Shaw Family Saga pays homage to dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, with well developed characters that readers can root for; love them, hate them, cry for, and most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey.


Who is your favorite reality show personality and why?  Nene Leaks. She is momma hen to the other women on RHOA and an ambitious go-getter. She does her thang on The New Normal. And on RHOA she don’t back down; if she has drama with another housewife, she claims it.

What would you name the autobiography of your life? “It’s Real A Funny Story.” I actually told a close friend the real, uncensored me and she wanted to cry; heck, I just had to laugh it off. Now bits and pieces are within my family saga.

The best part of waking up is: Folgers in your cup *singing to the coffee commercial.* No, really the best part is the possibilities–on weekends only– when I can write without being bothered by my mini me’s or surf the internet for shopping coupons.

Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best? My apartment caught fire when I was twenty years old. My then boyfriend, five-year-old daughter, and I lost it all. I wore my laid back work clothes that day so it was real horrible. Not to mention all my daughter’s mementos. Yup, that took the cake. The good thing is, my dad takes thousands of pictures so I could salvage most memories. The best part is, my then boyfriend showed me how much of a rock he could be. We are now happily–mostly–married.

How do you want to be remembered? A lot of different ways to different people. I want my children, and my grandchildren’s children to remember me as someone they can look up to. I want readers to remember me as the gumbo genre novelist because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned. So when they read one book of mine, they have to read the rest because I flip the script with every story and change genres all the time.

What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you? I’ma have to get religious here. Jesus dying on the cross. That’s the highest level of compassion.

What is one of your favorite quotes? “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” ~Oprah

A chore that I absolutely hate doing is: Washing dishes. I hate it with a passion. Slaving over a pile of soapy, steamy water. Dry cuticles. I already don’t like to get my nails done so washing dishes just about kills me.

If your favorite restaurant named a sandwich after you, what would it consist of? Mmmm. Ham, turkey, provolone, spinach, tomato, bell peppers, extra olives, pepperchinis.



“I really loved this story. It was very well written and I couldn't wait to read the next twists and turns…I recommend this book for anyone who loves a great story.” -  Hot Eats and Cool Reads

“I gave this book five stars because it had me from the first page. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and didn't want to get off until I got to the end. As you get deeper in the book, you begin to love and hate some characters. That's how caught up you get in them. You begin to feel for them and understand their emotions…You will not be disappointed!!” - Janice Jade -

“I enjoyed the straightforward writing Nicole gives. She gets to the point with twists and turns without the long wait.” - Valinda J. Miller


“Nicole delivers great work time and time again and I already can't wait for the next voyage into her amazing story lines. I can't get enough of this story and I want MORE! Do not start reading until you have some time on your hands. You will not want to put it down! I am and will forever be a supporter and fan. I look forward to reading the next book!” - Brittany Carter

“My life could not stop so that I could get lost in this book, but oh man did I want to…Great Job Nicole, this is exactly the kind of books I love to read and I enjoyed the experience immensely. I can honestly say I am biting my nails because I need the next installment, like yesterday lol!” - Krystal Milton

“As a reader, I want to learn something new or experience something different when I read a book. I want laugh at a joke I've never heard, cry at a situation I could never imagine or, wonder what I would do in that situation. Miss Scandalous delivers on all points.” - Bee L. Kirk

Naked Pen

Stepping to the stage is: OOSA

LIE: OOSA is offering editing services.

TRUTH: OOSA is publishing a book.

LIE: OOSA offers video reviews by request.

OOSA is publishing a book. That’s right. But not just any book. An anthology. An anthology like you haven’t read before. Who are the authors? We don’t know. Maybe YOU!

What makes this book so different? OOSA is issuing a challenge to authors AND readers.

Challenge for Writers: Write a story in a genre or style you’ve never written in or published before.

Are you an author who has always wanted to write outside of the genre you currently write in? Have you been typecast as a *insert genre* author? Do you normally write erotica but want to take a stab at a thriller/mystery? Do you write street lit but want to write in another genre to show your versatility? Are you a Christian fiction writer who has always wanted to write romance? Have you always written in third person but want to expand to first person? Do you always write from the point of view of females and want to write from the mind of males?

Here is your opportunity to step outside of your writing box and try something different. Something new. And guess what? You can do it without readers knowing and prejudging you based on previous works. You can receive honest feedback and the opinion of the public on your change in style without your name being associated with it. That’s right. You will remain anonymous unless you wish to disclose your identity after an agreed upon time. We won’t tell if you won’t tell…

Challenge for Readers: How well do you know your favorite writers’ style? Could you identify their work without their name on it even if they’re writing something a little different? Do you know your favorite author’s voice unmistakably?

Here’s your opportunity to put that to a test. For the authors who choose to identify themselves, we will hold a contest. If you guess the author(s) correctly you will win a prize.

Now accepting short story submissions for our first-ever anthology. All genres welcome.

We welcome work from writers of all experiences. Whether your story pushes boundaries, makes someone laugh, teaches, entertains, sparks conversations, or highlights social needs –we’re interested in it all. Dramatic, creative, humorous, somber, poetic or lyrical – send it to us.

A successful submission will include a mix of plot and character development.

Minimum: 8,000 words

Maximum: 20,000 words

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2013.


More important than word count is the quality of your work. We prefer stories that are well-focused and quick-paced, but will allow less or extra words for an amazing story.

While we are not expecting submissions free of any errors, entries that show no or little signs of care, concern, or quality will be disregarded.

Multiple submissions welcome, no more than 3.

No stories that have been published previously in any form, or has been submitted for publishing elsewhere and has not yet been rejected.

OOSA has exclusive rights for six months from the publication date in early 2014.

Send submissions to:

Please include:

· Your name
· Story Title
· Story Word Count
· Two or three-sentence synopsis
· State your challenge

Manuscript must follow these guidelines:

· One-inch margins
· A single, clear, 12-point typeface
· Double-spaced text
· No extra space between paragraphs
· An indented first line for each paragraph

Happy writing!

This Week's Reviews Include...

The Holland Family Saga (Part 3): Samantha's Story by Clever BlackWith This Ring by Allison HobbsFamily Over Everything by Paige Green

Take Me As I Am by Laurina OsborneDeep Fried Trouble by Tyora MoodyNothing Can Come Between Us: Well, Maybe A Hater by Cherlina Works

OOSA-tively: Pajama Jam Edition

Stepping to the stage is: Mary Finley

Can you name an occasion where you’ll get to meet, converse, and enjoy a hearty laugh with exceptional authors like Brenda Hampton, Chris Renee, Justin Amen Floyd, Alex Richardson, and Moses Miller all in the same room? Well, I can because I was there! The OOSA Book Club’s Pajama Jam 2013 was the place and uplifting, affirming, motivating, and having a downright Oosa-tively jammin’ time was the theme for this two-night affair.

This was my initial attendance, but my hopes were high, based on the advertisements and pictures I’d seen on Facebook, and I was not disappointed. On the contrary, this event exceeded my expectations from beginning to end.

Friday night opened with Pillow Talk, a book club meeting hosted by renowned author Brenda Hampton, who greeted me with a smile and warm sisterly hug as soon as I walked into the room. I couldn’t believe it! As the room filled with readers and authors from all over the country, Brenda kept the same cheerful disposition and was hostess extraordinaire during the entire gathering that night. After we mingled, ate some delicious snacks, sat on blankets on the floor, and grabbed one of the many huge, decorative pillows, she introduced all authors present. I felt so privileged to be in that number. There was such a positive and comfortable atmosphere in the room. Although I’d only met them all that night, it didn’t take long for me to feel as if I was surrounded by friends. The novels discussed were Hell House and Who Ya Wit by Ms. Hampton, Tell Me No Lies by Nikki Michelle, and Sin Eaters by Kai Leakes. The views expressed by readers and authors alike were lively, as well as thought provoking. Several prizes were given away including the grand prize of a Kindle Fire. At the end of the night I was totally hyped and ready for Saturday night’s event.

I can’t begin to tell all I want to about Saturday night’s happenings. The ladies of OOSA showed out this year! I’ve never been part of an event you get dressed for bed to attend. When I entered the room and saw all the different, creative, colorful pajamas being worn by a bouquet of beautiful black women, I felt right at home with my sistahs. Scientist Moses Miller set up display to sell and autograph his work in one corner. His table was shared with Justin Amen Floyd, who was the life of the party, to say the least. In the opposite corner, same side of the room, Alex Richardson and Chris Renee were sharing another table where their novels were on display. All four of these authors were so friendly and easy going they mixed right in with the crowd. The dinner tables were all decorated to perfection with an array of edible goodies available on one table in the middle of the room.

Laughter filled the air. After introductions and greetings from the hostesses, we ate a delicious dinner, and the All Things Literary Awards were presented. Then the games began where the four featured authors were each captain of a team and we competed in singing, dancing, charades, and other games that made me feel like a kid again. It was just one huge party. I had so much fun! Regardless to whether an attendee was on the winning team or not, we all left with a parting gift from OOSA Book Club. I just happen to be on the winning team, Team Chris Renee, so I left with two bags of goodies a few hours later, totally exhausted but delighted!

It is always so amazing to me when the Creator gives me a life changing experience that grows me more into the person I am to become. The OOSA Pajama Jam was one of those experiences for me as an author. Bravo, OOSA! I’ll definitely be returning next year.

Mary Ann Finley, a native Oklahoman, has been writing poetry and prose since the age of 8 and thanks God for her gift of creative writing. She is most fond of free style poetry. Mary Ann was nominated for Female Author of the Year 2013 by OOSA Online Book Club's All Things Literary Awards for her first published novel entitled ‘Thicker Than Blood’ (2012), which is available on The sequel to this novel will be available summer 2014.

Thank You!

The 2013 Pajama Jam is now in our rearview mirror and we’re looking ahead to 2014. We just want to take a moment to express our appreciation. We’ve watched this event grow with the help, support, love, and friendship of so many. The success of the Pajama Jam is a collaborative effort. The Pajama Jam is a success because of YOU. 
THANK YOU to the four fabulous authors who gave of their time ~ Chris Renee, Justin ‘Amen’ Floyd, Alex Richardson, and Moses Miller. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. You showed out and made the Pajama Jam a truly memorable event. We consider it a privilege to have shared our 3rd Annual Pajama Jam with you.  

To those who gave us kind and encouraging words of support, THANK YOU. Thank you for the inbox messages, emails, phone calls and texts. You’ll never know just how helpful your support was. 

To our family and friends who selflessly donated their time and energy (decorating among other things), without your tireless assistance this would not have been possible. THANK YOU and we love you. 

To those who donated promotional items, THANK YOU. We asked and you certainly gave. Your generosity allowed us to create gift baskets and gift bags for our attendees. Every person went home with something. It’s our hope that you have reached a new reader or two or ten or thirty.  Yes, the night was fun, but your donations made it special. 

To those who attended the Pajama Jam, THANK YOU. Whether this was your first, second, or third year, thank you, thank you, thank you for coming. Your presence, your personal commitment, your participation, your enthusiasm, your laughter is what made the night.  You mean so much to us. We hope that you had a great time and we are looking forward to seeing you next year. 

Again, our sincere thanks to everyone for your support! Thank you from all of us. 

Warmest Regards, 

The Ladies of OOSA 

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” – Jean Baptiste Massieu 

This Week's Reviews Include...

Advertising For LoveDirty DNA 2Love Changes

Hell HouseSin EatersJumping Ship