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Riddles by Rhonda Crowder

Dec 11 • Book of the Month • 1034 Views • No Comments on Riddles by Rhonda Crowder

riddles-by-rhonda-crowder-kindle-coverNearly 30 years old, Chyne “Riddles” Jaspers thinks she’s in a good place.
She has a daughter who adores her, a lucrative business, chic home in one of Atlanta’s most upscale gated communities, money in the bank, access to the finest luxury vehicles and holds a degree in anthropology.
Riddles works as a stripper by choice.
She’s even come to grips with her child’s father, who left her with their baby in her womb, so life is going according to plan until, one night, her co-worker and friend Malibu is murdered in a VIP room at Joker’s Gentleman’s Club.
As soon as the last piece of evidence is collected at the club, it’s back to business as usual and no one seems interested in finding the killer… except for Riddles.
A feeling deep down in her gut drives Riddles to become an amateur sleuth, and not too soon as she discovers she must solve this mystery in order to protect her own life.
Excerpt:
A woman screamed so loud that I heard the squeal over the music. The song stopped.
“She’s dead,” the voice cried out, it sounded like the waitresses of Latin descent. “Call the police,” she demanded.
I froze. The handsome Caucasian man with salt and pepper hair looked at me with glassy eyes. I leapt off his lap.
What the hell? I thought. The commotion shocked me out own inebriated state. I slid the door back, leaving my customer in the stale, dimly lit, closet-like space the club called a VIP room.
Something like this could only happen on Friday the 13th, I thought. My mind raced. And, while it is April, I ain’t up for some fool’s jokes.
I stood there, holding my clothes, wearing nothing but a red garter with money stuck in it, and strappy five-inch high platform heels. The DJ pleaded for everyone to calm down, but that didn’t seem to be working. My eyes scanned the room and I saw half-naked girls screaming and dashing around. A herd of men rushed the exit like someone had yelled “fire.” They knocked over tables, chairs, and each other trying to get out. Some escaped even though the bouncers attempted to gain control of the situation by directing the dancers to the back, and securing the club’s main entrance. But there was one security guard who hadn’t moved.
Who is it?
I wanted to see. For some strange reason, I felt compelled. In all of my years of working in strip clubs, I had never known a girl to die. Plenty passed out drunk, but never died. I noticed the night shift manager ushering his friends out of an emergency exit and took my chance.
“Who is it?” I asked the bouncer guarding the entrance as I approached him.
“Malibu,” he replied, stoic his eyes surveyed the pandemonium.
I gasped. “Malibu?” I covered my mouth as I leaned forward onto my toes, my breasts bobbing, trying to look beyond his big country built frame. “Let me see.”
“No!” he boomed. His face frowned up. “Now go. They want all girls in the dressing room.”
“C’mon,” I pleaded over the ruckus.
With his arms crossed, he shook his head. “Riddles, I said, ‘No.’”

I sighed then looked at my thigh. I peeled a single twenty-dollar bill from my garter and shoved it into his hands. He shoved it in his pocket then stepped to the side – out of my way.

author-crowder-socialmedia-photoDuring the course of her nearly 20 year career, Rhonda Crowder has been a copywriter, general assignment reporter, freelance manuscript editor, ghostwriter, and associate publisher. But, her biggest writing goal has always been to become an acclaimed author – to join the likes of some of her favorites including Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. In pursuit of her dream, she attended Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University. At CSU, she completed a bachelor of arts in English with a concentration on creative writing, editing, and publishing. Since then, she’s worked at the historical Call and Post Newspaper and with Who’s Who in Black Cleveland in addition to starting her own business, Rhonda Crowder and Associates – a boutique content factory and communications firm. And, after years of working hard, long hours and never giving up, she released her debut novel Riddles in November of 2016.

Get to know Rhonda:

What inspire you to write Riddles?
I wanted to write a murder mystery. My first idea was a murder in a newsroom. One day, I was sitting in a strip club in Atlanta and  I looked around and thought. A girl could be killed in the VIP room and no one would know who did it. The idea rested at that thought for a while. Then, I started editing books and one of the books I edited pushed me so hard that if inspired me to sit finally sit down and write.
You wrote had this story copyright in 2008. What took you so long to publish it?
Besides being somewhat of a perfectionist, it’s such a long story that you’ll have to read my memoirs to fully understand. But, I guess I can say more than anything, this project has been the first thing in my life that I’ve had full control, final say and I wanted it to be the best representation of me that I could create.
Will it take you another ten years to complete your next book?
Not if readers who enjoy Riddles spread the word about how good it is and how great an author I am to the point I can live the life of a full time author. I do write for a living, which often times exhausts my creative energy that could be spent on my own projects. Needless to say, I hope not.
What do you want readers to take away from Riddles?
The biggest notion I want people to take away from the story is that everyone and everything isn’t always what it seems.
Do you like writing or editing more?
I love them both but, I had to choose on over the other, I would go with writing. Editing can be frustrated when you’re struggling to figure what someone else is trying to say.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m focused on getting Riddles in front of readers and growing my business. I own a content factory/communications firm that specializes in literary services, copywriting/content creation, graphic design, fundraising and media relations. I’m striving to reach a point in my life where I spend the majority of my time writing books for myself and ghostwriting for others.
Who are some of your literary influences?

The author with the biggest influence on my writing career is probably Toni Morrison because I took a class in college studying her works. I’ve read and dissected all of her books. I’m into “classics.” I love to read what’s considered “the best.” I love classic African American authors pre and post Harlem Renaissance. I am a huge fan of Donald Goines. I still remember the first time I discovered his work. Maya Angelou is my hero. Terri McMillian. I love more street lit writers Shannon Holmes, Nikki Turner, Teri Woods, Vicki Stringer. I adore Tracy Brown. I’m inspired by the works of T.D. Jakes. I’m motivated by Tamika Newhouse. Seriously, there are really just too many to name.

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