Friday, March 02, 2018


For weeks now I have been frustrated with my favorite shows SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. I haven’t been feeling Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington or Annalise Keating played by Viola Davis. Then last night, the ABC crossover event that paired the two characters fighting side by side brought it full circle and gave me new life!

What was always relevant about Olivia and Annalise is they were two African-American women in positions of power fighting a good fight. You rooted for them. You wanted to see them succeed. You needed them to win because they’re fictional accomplishments buoyed the daily wins of black women just like them. Black women who had no voice and no representation in the media. They were golden, and we needed them to shine!

Then suddenly there was a shift in the writing and their vulnerability had them downtrodden and unlikeable. Both Washington and Davis played their roles brilliantly. So much so that there was a backward shift in the fanfare. We weren’t rooting for them like we were in the beginning. Viewers were frustrated and conversations around the watercooler on Friday mornings were lackluster at best. But last night we were blessed with a glimpse of light that had everyone singing their praises.

What I realized is that too often when we saw black women on television, the roles were always bittersweet. Already underrepresented we were not portrayed at our best. We were shown as weak, deviant, misguided, and/or angry. We stood in the background and were silent observers in other people’s lives. We didn’t shine. I don’t need to see anymore of that. Personally, I was tired of Annalise and her failings. I wanted brilliant Annalise who could run circles around the best in the business. Mean girl Olivia, angry Olivia, evil Olivia, gave me indigestion. I couldn’t stomach her hissing and spitting and clawing her way over people. I needed brilliant Olivia, being the best fixer and making choices because they were the right choices to make. I was desperate to have those characters back and last night both brought back the light!

I hope Shonda Rhimes, Scandal’s creator and Peter Nowalk, the creator of How To Get Away With Murder, will continue to represent these women at their very best. I have no doubts about Kerry or Viola playing the hell out of the roles as they’re written. I just need the storytelling and the characters to continue to shine! I need them to keep representing the best of all black women!

Friday, February 09, 2018


This author gig is hard. The work involved is never-ending. There is no writing a story and just releasing it into the universe with your fingers crossed that it will do well. It becomes a never-ending cycle of telling a great story, staying relevant in a saturated marketplace and if you are an author of color writing romance, the inevitable fight to be respected and welcomed where you are too often told you are not wanted. For black authors every book is a fight for acceptance, to sit at the table and be treated fairly. But I speak for many of us when I say that we welcome that fight. Because we have stories to tell about characters who look like us. People of color who struggle and fight and love fiercely.
The television program THIS IS US, has become one of my favorites. The writing is exceptional. But what calls me to watch each week, it the loving relationship between Randall and Beth Pearson, played divinely by Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson. The love and devotion between a black man and a black woman who respect and admire each other is a rarity in television. But for many, like myself, it reflects the history of our parents and our grandparents and the family that loved and nurtured each other and their children. Despite the lack of black couples in television, the Pearson’s are no more an oddity than breathing is. They just do a damn good job of representing what we already know exists.
Before the Pearson’s, we watched and adored Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable, Florida and James Evans, Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert. They laid the foundation of black love on television. Seeing their love stories on the big screen gave value to what many people of color live each and every day. Yet, we are constantly told that kind of love doesn’t exist and has no audience.
I write romance. My heroes are always strong black men and my heroines even stronger black women. Occasionally, I’ll stir things up and give my stories some swirl. In the romance genre, authors of color occupy a very small sliver of that much larger multi-billion-dollar pie. But we’re out here, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm, lifting each other up, because ultimately, we all have the same goal. To tell great stories about two people falling in love, in whatever flavor moves us.
When a new author joins the fold, I get excited. Because a new voice, another perspective, a sister-in-arms, trumps the naysayers who proclaim we don’t belong. In our small community we welcome newcomers with an open heart, ready to help push and promote their book baby. We know that for far too many of us, we are all we have. The powers in charge aren’t bending over backwards to promote our stories. Hell, they’re barely trying to see us published! So, we are always ready and willing to step into the gap and do whatever we can. I know I am, and I do so to honor the black women who paved this path that I’ve been blessed to travel. The literary Queens who were the first and sometimes the only voices of color fighting to tell our stories. The matriarchy that pushed and pulled so many of us along and consistently encouraged us to do what we so love to do.
Recently, I was so ready to welcome a new author into this sisterhood. I was ecstatic to see her getting press so many of us have continually been denied. It felt like a step in the right direction that her publisher was standing firmly behind her. And then, in the blink of an eye, she and her advisors threw a boulder at the rest of us that hit hard and stung like hell. To hear them tell it, her story is the first of its kind. They proclaimed that the rest of us don’t exist. It seems she single-handedly invented black romance. I was offended to the nth degree and I was not alone.
In a recent interview, the newbie said, “I want[ed] more books about people like me. People who aren’t white but also people who have diverse lives, who live in cities and have friends of different ethnicities. It just felt false to me to read books that were just about white people.”
Well, baby girl, let me enlighten you. Author Sandra Kitt was the first black woman to write for Harlequin, publishing her first three books by 1984. Her novels featured African-American characters and tackled social issues, race relations, class differences, and interracial relationships. They were people who had diverse lives, lived in cities with friends of different ethnicities and weren’t just about white people. The list of black romance authors who followed is lengthy and distinguished. Have you ever heard of Donna Hill or Rochelle Alers, two prolific black women authors who helped lay the foundation for black romance? You are far from being the first to bring black love to black women.
Black romance authors can’t talk about black romance without bowing to Brenda Jackson, and Beverly Jenkins. To ignore their continued contributions to the industry is an insult of magnanimous proportions. Queen Brenda and Queen Beverly have helped many of us get a foothold in this industry, grooming us for what would come, teaching us the ins and outs of writing and writing well, cheering our efforts, applauding our successes and being a shoulder when the writing fails us.
And they are not the only ones. Renowned author Jacquelin Thomas mentored me and has been a fixture in my life since I got that call some fifteen years ago. I am honored that all these women cared enough to help nurture my career and I’m blessed to be able to call them friends. I can’t fathom how anyone could extoll their own efforts without giving due praise to those who set the bar and who continue to dictate the standard that is expected from the rest of us.
I can’t begin to list the best-selling, award-winning black authors with membership in this club. Women, and a few men, who have whole-heartedly embraced the good and the bad within the industry. Who have achieved a degree of success despite the efforts of others to keep them from it. Writers who love to write, respect the readers who support them and who readily share their knowledge whenever they’re able. There isn’t enough space to list them individually and to extoll the virtues of each and every one of them. But if I could, I would!
I hate that any author would think that slighting the rest of us to promote their work is a good thing. I’m disappointed that it was necessary for this author to proclaim herself the one and only saving light for the host of readers who have supported black romance authors and the black romance genre since before she even thought about becoming a writer. The blatant disrespect was chilling. I’m annoyed that there are those who seem determined to not do better. And I’m pissed that another black woman would make this author gig even harder than it has already proven to be.

Monday, January 29, 2018


I don’t have the energy to entertain bullshit. I might be a lot jaded after one too many affiliations gone awry. It’s why I’m persnickety about who I allow into my life and most particularly into my heart. My heart is fragile and because it has been broken, even shattered a time or two, I’ve built walls that stretch miles high to protect me from getting hurt.
I’m always amazed by those who are fueled by discord and conflict. Persons who thrive on drama and consume negativity for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those aren’t people I welcome into my circle and at the first hint of conflict, I quickly become dismissive. I have no problems sweeping other people and their ugliness as far from me as I can.
Recently, I was annoyed when associates called to repeat something a former acquaintance had to say about me. It seems that the gossip train has been running on full steam! For a brief moment, it bothered me because her truth was anything but factual, which is why we fell out in the first place. She lied to me. Repeatedly. Even when given the opportunity to come clean, she continued to lie. Losing my trust is the kiss of death for any relationship. And not only are you dead to me, but never again will I have a need to invoke your name. Not even to spit on it.
Friends called to make me aware that I was being discussed, and to see what I had to say about the situation. But I wasn’t interested in spilling any tea. I don’t waste good drink on people who are dead to me. So, I didn’t entertain the bullshit. Life’s too short for the games we use to play in grade school. Had I felt a need to tell my side of the story, I would have done so when the incident first happened. Instead, I said what needed to be shared to the persons involved and that’s where I left it. I couldn't help but think that other people might want to do the same. Because bullshit stinks to high hell if it ever gets thrown back at you, so it’s best not to entertain it at all.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


I greeted someone today with a cheery new year wish and was swiftly dismayed when they turned around and asked me what was there to be happy about. It was an eye blink moment as I realized my joys may not necessarily be their joys. The first call of the New Year came from a family member who wanted to complain about the same damn things she’s been complaining about for the last five years. It was the same story, different day, and she was the only common denominator. She was allowed her moment because that’s how it has always been. When she finally hung up, I blocked her number. Not this year, Satan. Not this year.
Last year was rough. It took its toll and when I found myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown I realized I had to change for things to be different in my life. So, I once again washed my hands and my heart of everything that was toxic. I severed friendships, distanced myself from family, and focused solely on all things that brought me joy. If it caused me any ounce of angst I let it go. I refused to be inundated with other people’s problems and issues when I had my own to deal with. I focused on me and I became unapologetic about what I needed and wanted. I chose the path I needed to follow to get myself wherever it was I needed to be.
For me, embracing the New Year is all about continuing this life journey and being the best me I can possibly be. It will be about writing what I want to write and telling the stories I need to tell. I no longer have a desperate need to be validated by others. I know my worth and I will not allow it to be diminished by someone else’s lies. I’m happy with me and I really don’t give a damn if anyone else is.

I didn’t pledge to do anything specific this year. There was no long list of resolutions. I refuse to put that kind of pressure on myself. I know stress can kill and I have way too much living to do. But I did discover this wonderful list of life lessons a few weeks back that was circling the internet. Of the many declarations, there were a few that stood out and caught my attention. I have found myself referring to it often as I contemplate the New Year and I thought I would share them here.
And to answer that man’s question, what is there to be happy about? I say, EVERYTHING!


·         When in doubt, just take the next small step.
·         Life is too short not to enjoy it.
·         Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
·         It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.           
·         Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present
·         Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
·         If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
·         Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
·         Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
·         Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
·         It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.
·         When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
·         No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
·         Always choose Life.
·         Time heals almost everything. Give Time, time.
·         Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
·         Believe in miracles.
·         God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
·         Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
·         Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
·         All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
·         Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
·         Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need
·         No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
·         Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
·         The best is yet to come…

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Dear Santa,
Can’t tell you how excited I am to catch up with you again! It’s been that kind of year for most of us, so I can only imagine the hoops you’ve had to jump through to get to this night. I’m surprised the Republicans didn’t try to shut you down, too!
Norad has you headed to La Paz, Bolivia right now with some 4.9 billion presents already delivered. I am still in awe of how you do that! I know I can’t move the way I use to and you continue to put the rest of us to shame! If you can bottle whatever it is you’re taking, I’ll have some of that, too!
I’m sure you’ve been fielding some really long wish lists this year. 2017 has put us through some changes and most of them haven’t been of the kind and friendly variety. I’m sure you know the Grand Wizard took over the White House and it’s been a daily downhill slalom ever since. Policy changes, threats of war, and the constant twittering from the presidential twit has wrecked everyone’s last good nerve. Despite it all though I’m headed into 2018 with a fair degree of hope because I know evil will never prevail as long as we have good guys like you still fighting for what’s decent and right. Right?
Santa, right?
Oh, so you have jokes! That's not funny. Don’t hesitate like that! You make me nervous when you hesitate! Just nod or something, okay? Anyway, a girl can wish and evil NOT prevailing is front and center on my wish list this year.
Guess what? No pony for me this year but the request made it to my pretty princess’ wish list. Since you and I have history with that damn horse I figured I’d step in and help you out. I can’t have my baby girl wondering some fifty years from now what happened to her black stallion that never made it under her Christmas tree. Now that I’ve got them Stallions on lock, don’t you worry about a thing. I’ve got it covered so you can handle whatever else needs to be taken care of.
I’m looking for a lot under the tree this year Santa. An increase in my readership, a major book deal, an even bigger movie deal, maybe a trip to Bermuda and definitely that European excursion would make me a very happy woman. And if you can’t slip it under my tree, maybe you can bless a few of the incredible author women who have been on this literary journey with me. This year was not kind to us. Publishers continue to act like fools, own voices continue to be disregarded and them damn royalty checks have gotten even smaller. In fact, if possible Santa, wrap up whatever we all need and help us make 2018 an amazing year for all our book business. Just share some of that Christmas Eve stardust you’re snorting with the rest of us, so we can make magic happen too!
I know you need to get back to work ,Santa, so I’m going to let you go. I have a horse or two to wrap myself! I’m sending you a huge hug and kiss from my family to yours. Nuzzle an elf or two for me and continue to let all the little children know how much they are loved.
To you, and everyone else, Merry Christmas, and until we do this again, have a very safe, blessed, and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Second-chance romance

Orthopedic surgeon Nathaniel Stallion is ready to put down his scalpel to pursue his real dream—opening a restaurant in Carmel, California. He’s even hired a top-notch marketing guru to ensure his success. But Rebecca “Bec” Marks isn’t the unassuming buddy he remembers from college. This Bec is confident and wreaking all kinds of havoc on his libido. Now his best friend’s sexy curves have him thinking less about a publicity strategy and more about carnal seduction…

Bec has had eyes for Nathaniel from day one. And regardless of Nathaniel’s naivety to her not-so-innocent schoolgirl crush, her ardor for the tempting newly crowned restaurateur remains intact. This time around she’s determined to win his heart for good. But when a rival beauty and Bec’s meddling ex-fiancĂ© threaten her romantic plans, she’ll pull out all the stops to convince this Stallion that his soul mate has been right in front of him all along.


She had tried speed dating, church singles groups, blind dates and online dating. Blind dates had been the absolute worst. Shed lost count of the number of men who had turned around at the door, not even bothering to introduce themselves, turned off that she wasnt a size-two supermodel. Most didnt care to voice what their issues were. Only one had been bold enough to actually call her obese out loud, spitting it out like he was telling her something she didnt know.

Despite the body shaming and sometimes hurtful comments, Rebecca hadnt been fazed. She was comfortable in her skin. She liked her curves. It didnt matter to her if anyone else had an issue. She was big girl magic embodied in a spirited personality and a compassionate heart. She was a great catch. She had money in the bank, owned her own home, ran her own business, and despite the fact she wasnt the greatest cook, she was damn good in bed. Nathaniel had hit the relationship jackpot and the fact that he knew it was icing on some very sweet cake.

Available for PRE-ORDER NOW! Also available on NOOK!