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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


by D.W. Brooks




GENRERomantic Suspense/Mystery/African American Fiction






A dead body in the parking lot of her family’s business, a killer on the loose, and a handsome detective asking a lot of questions…


Jamie Scott’s life fell apart four years ago when she broke off her engagement, turned down a dream job, and went overseas to run away from her life. Now she’s back, but the reunion is not without problems. She arrives home just in time to attend the soiree her mother planned, but she’s not prepared for what she finds—a dead employee in the parking lot.


Detective Nick Marshall is assigned to the murder case at the forensics lab owned by Jamie’s family. He meets the headstrong Jamie, but he has a job to do. And his attraction to her… well, he’s a professional.


Jamie knows the stakes are high. She has to face the past and save her parents’ business while dealing with her family drama and an uncertain future. She also has to deal with Nick, who wants her out of the way of his investigation. But fate keeps throwing them in one another’s paths… and into chaos that they both want to avoid, but neither can seem to escape.



Excerpt One:


Jamie entered the simply appointed room decorated in blue, white, and seafoam green. The attached bathroom incorporated blue and white colors. Jamie sat on the edge of the bed and looked around the room. Since she never lived here, the room didn’t hold many personal touches, as did Jon’s and Jillian’s rooms. There were plenty of pillows, a complete set of cherry wood bedroom furniture, and a mid- sized flat-screen TV above the chest of drawers. It represented a fitting guest room since she was now a guest—a nervous guest at that. What if her mother verbally eviscerated her again? Could she deal? Jamie realized she was delaying her meeting with her mom for as long as possible. What else could she do to kill time?


She peeked in the closet to see if she had left any clothes behind from four years ago. Unfortunately, she found nothing that would be appropriate for what would be a formal event on Sunday night.


She went into the bathroom and removed her baseball cap to inspect the state of her hair in the mirror. It was fine for a quiet home visit, but not for a dressy affair. Jamie had let her relaxer grow out while she was out of the country. She typically flat-twisted her natural hair to emphasize the wave pattern. Before this trip, she had only washed, conditioned, and air-dried her hair, thinking that she would have some time after her arrival to moisturize and comb it. Now, it was just squashed down by her hat. Ugh. Since she wouldn’t be able to prep before talking to her mother, she would have to atone by looking her best for the party. For such a formal affair, she would have to visit a salon for a trim and style.


There was a knock on the bedroom door. “Come in!” Jamie yelled as she tucked her cap back onto her head and came out of the bathroom. Jon placed her bags inside her door. “Mother is waiting for you downstairs. I’m going to my room to avoid the tearful reunion.” He didn’t live there anymore but still called his childhood room “his room”.


Jamie sighed. Time to woman up. “OK. Let me wash my face, and I’ll be down. Where is she, exactly?” she inquired.


“Still in the study. Good luck.”



Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I was raised in Alabama, but I have lived in Texas for over 20 years. Most of my friends describe me as tall (5’11”), nice, and smart. I am happily married with two adult children. I am a non-practicing physician who earned an MBA and worked in medical education until I developed kidney failure due to a genetic condition in the mid-2010s. 


In 2017, I received a kidney transplant, and I found a living donor on Facebook! We had created a blog where I posted about the logistics of kidney donation, and a Facebook group where my followers could get up-to-date information on the status of my search. As proof there are still selfless people out there, around 100 people called me or the hospital to inquire about getting tested. Through this process, I found an absolutely lovely woman who donated her kidney. Having a transplant means I have to be more careful about some things –no roller coasters for me anymore! – but I am really fortunate that it worked out as it did!

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

During my battle with kidney disease, I spent a lot of time in bed. I could only watch so much television, so I decided to start writing again (I tried to write when I was a child: see below!) I finished my first novel before I received my transplant in 2017, but I sat on the book for a couple of years as I helped care for my elderly father. After more editing, I finally decided to put the book out there, and published my first novel, Homecoming Chaos, in November of 2023. Because I started my writing career later in life, I self-published and didn’t really explore the traditional publishing route. I didn’t want to wait until someone else gave my book a yay or nay! 


The story is based in Atlanta, where I used to live. It focuses on a physician who, through bad choices and poor communication skills four years ago, blew her life up and left the country. Now, she returns home to deal with the mess she left with her family and friends. But as soon as she returns, there is a murder at her parents’ business. There’s a handsome detective who is investigating the case in the mix as well.


The combination of murder, family issues, and the cute detective leads to a lot of CHAOS.

How do you create your characters?

The lead female character Jamison is roughly based on me. When I decided to leave the medical profession, my choice confused and upset some members of my family. My original story idea was to write about that familial drama. But I wasn’t ready to write that story at that time, and by the time I was, I had changed my mind. However, I wanted the change in career to remain her back story. I also made her tall like me. But I added more drama and chaos to her life, though. Otherwise, it would be too boring!

I like to pick a name, basic characteristics, and a backstory. All of which are fluid and as I write, character traits may change if the character is not acting in the way I intended for them to. It feels like I allow the characters to flesh themselves out somewhat during the writing process.

What inspires and what got you started in writing?

A little background: When I was eight years old, I decided I wanted to be a writer. My cousins and I tried to create a kids’ mystery novel series. Before this, we had read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and other kids’ series and thought we could do that too—with some characters that looked like us! We made a mini “story bible” with our character, their friends, crushes, boyfriends, enemies, everything. We mapped out their neighborhood, and one cousin, an artist, drew pictures of our characters. I was mainly in charge of the writing; however, we would get halfway through the story and without the ability to plot or plan, each story would fizzle out. After a few months of this, we all moved on to other activities. I focused on becoming a physician.


And there’s something that’s been in the background of my life for many years: our family has bad kidney genes.


I found out during my medical internship that I had drawn the short genetic stick, and that dialysis/kidney transplant was likely in my future. In the early/mid 2010s, my kidneys started to fail and being tired was a constant. I spent a lot of time sitting/reclining in my bed with my computer. There was a limit to how much TV even I could watch! I didn’t want to waste the time, so I started writing.

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

I don’t have a specific location for writing. I just need background noise of some kind and some snacks! I would love to write only at the beach, but that’s not an option yet!

How do you get your ideas for writing?

Everywhere. I read books and online news articles, I watch documentaries and hour-long dramas, and have met a lot of people in my life. I also have an active imagination. I come up with ideas using pieces from things I know or have seen and then try to figure out if these events can logically happen (since I don’t write fantasy stories).

What do you like to read?

Mysteries, suspense, thrillers, true crime – do you see a theme? LOL. I also read some romance; I read a lot of romance books when I was a teenager, but I am getting back into these now.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Keep writing. This life can be challenging, and most people don’t hit a home run out of the gate. It’s easy to get discouraged. But hopefully, as you build your back catalogue and your brand name, you will both get better at writing and find your audience.

Anything else you’d like to share?


I have just placed Homecoming CHAOS and the prequel novella I Do CHAOS on Kindle Unlimited. I am also working on a novella or two and Book 2 for release sometime in 2024!



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


The author is a doctor and editor who lives in Texas with her husband and children. She enjoys trying to stay in shape, sporadically cooking, reading (still), writing, and working on her blog. She is eternally grateful to the woman who donated a kidney to her over 5 years ago and continues to advocate for organ donation as much as she can.

To learn more about D. W. Brooks and future publications and events, visit







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MICHAEL A LAW 04/10/2024 - 10:36 pm

This looks really good. Thanks for hosting this tour.

Author Guest Post with DW Brooks: Homecoming Chaos – Westveil Publishing 04/15/2024 - 2:30 am

[…] The Pen and Muse Book Reviews […]


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