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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Woke up in a hot sweat . . .

There's nothing like a hot flash. Granted, this one wasn't caused by nature. It was caused by the AC deciding to take the day off — on my day off from the day job.
5:45 a.m., sweat was dripping all over my body. I opened my eyes and realized I was in bed alone and hot air was blowing over my body.

I walked over to the thermostat and that mother said 90 degrees. 90. . .fucking . . .degrees.  On the inside part. I grabbed my phone and texted my homeboy -- why? Because I figured if I'm up at this ungodly hour, someone else needed to feel my pain.

He said, OMG. I hope you're naked.
Such a dude. But he was right. I was naked with an ice pack on my ass though. But there was no way I could relax and lounge in bed.

Then there was the thought of putting my laptop on my lap and writing. Hell no! More heat. And what if my thighs were wet and I shorted something out?
Umm, a cold shower though.

People always write about cold showers because someone's horny monster was showing. Man, this shower was amazing. It was like being caught in a rain storm on a July day. I will never view a cold shower the same way again. And it woke me all the way up. So, of course I wanted coffee. But how the hell do you brew and drink coffee in a 90 degree hot box? You don't. You pack your laptop and get the hell out of dodge.

With all the storm prep and me being super paranoid about Hurricane Florence pulling a Hurricane Hugo and shutting the city down for weeks. I decided that I was going to go some place where nobody can spell my name. I am in Starbucks.
After that shit in Philly, I stopped going to a place that was like my second home office. But I need AC, Wifi, coffee and an outlet. I'm sitting here waiting for Permit Patty to call CMPD, because she keeps eyeballing me like I stole her T*ump sign or some shit.
The coffee doesn't taste the same and the music sucks. Damn it, I left me Beats at home and Patty, or maybe her name is Karen, now looks like she wants to have a conversation. No. Ma'am. Have I lost my resting bitch face powers?
Obviously I have because she just asked me to watch her stuff. If John Quiñones walks up in here, I will not consent to filming! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Birds of a feather? Not always. . .

You've heard the old adage, Birds of a feather flock together.
That's a fucking lie.

Okay, maybe this is a one off situation, but I was stuck so hard by it, I had to write this blog post.

Once upon a time, several years ago, one of my best friends was living a romance novel. A second chance romance with a childhood sweetheart that ended up with an island wedding. It was so beautiful, I almost wrote a book about it.
Nearly ten years later, their union is stronger than ever. My friend and I were having a conversation a few weeks ago about one of his old booty calls reaching out to him on social media. And he was like, I told her I was married.
Then, what happened? I asked.
Nothing, that was the end of it like it should've been.
I smiled brightly and told him that the world could use more men like him.
He matter of factly said, "I couldn't imagine going home and looking in my wife's face lying to her. I wouldn't know how to do that."
"Well, you could ask your homeboy. He knows how to do that."
I forgot to tell y'all, I dated his friend once. This guy was supposed to be one of the good ones as well. He went to church, volunteered with a youth group, was a good father and took care of his family.
Unfortunately, those qualities didn't translate into him being a good "boyfriend." We'll call him Raymond, to protect the guilty.
Raymond was a lying sack of shit. And I'm being nice.
He cheated. We stopped kicking it because I wasn't here for that bullshit. And the person he cheated with turned out to be a stalker. This woman put a note on my car, sent me a message on my Facebook author page and I was over it.
I even went to the police about it. The officer told me that I needed to leave him alone. God, he was right!

I was all set to leave him alone too. Then he had a tragic event happen and my BFF's wife told me about it. As much as I wanted to say fuck it, two tears in a bucket, I did what so many of us do, I reached out. Foolish of me. I was still raw and worried about his feelings even though he'd trampled on mine. One thing led to another. The phones calls started. I was concerned about him eating, so I'd take him food to his job.
Then one day, I got some roses at work. My first thought was, Aww, my mama is so sweet. But they were from Raymond. And then he hit me with the: "Those roses said what I couldn't say. I love you."
And I fell for it. Hook. Line. Sinker.
At this time I had a day job where I worked like 12 hours a day and he was working third shift —allegedly. Our encounters were late at night before he went to work.
I know what you're thinking, I should've known something was up. I saw the red flags and ignored them because love means something —allegedly.
Fast forward a few months, I had a rare Saturday off. Or maybe I'd gotten off early. I sent him a text. No response.
I shrugged it off. I had a deadline and I needed to write anyway. Besides, I had to work on that Sunday.
Sunday came. I'm at work and my phone rings. It's Raymond's number. Happily I answered the phone and dead air. Okay, guess he butt dialed. I'm back to doing my job and the phone rings again. It's him. I'm a writer, so I'm thinking he's in trouble.
"Who is this calling and paging my husband?" (Who the fuck says paging in the 21st century, but OKAY)
"Excuse me?"
"Who is this calling my husband?"
I pulled the phone from my ear and looked at it as if I was face timing this motherfucker. "Ask your husband."
"I'm asking you, you no self respect. . ."
Married? Like this bastard has a whole wife while he's over here talking about "I love you?"
Since I knew he was scheduled to work at midnight, I called three times because I was mad as fuck and I had questions.
Of course I got no answer.
That Monday, I text him and was like: Oh, you got a wife now? 
It's not like that. I'm not with them.
Bullshit. You had to be with her if she got your fucking phone. How could you do this to me again? You're dead to me.
And I meant that shit. He robbed me and to this day, I'm still feeling the aftermath of this betrayal. I don't trust people anymore. And I don't believe in real love anymore —well, that's not totally true. I just know it's not going to happen for me. I still have my fingers crossed when there is a report of a homicide in his neighborhood that it's him. *Don't look at me like that, I ask for forgiveness when I have those thoughts. Most of the time.*

Back to my BFF, though. knowing that a few men like him still exist will probably inspire another series of books, but in real life I'm through with this love thing.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Chance to Love . . .

For the first time in e-book form, my sweet small town romance about a police officer and high school guidance counselor is about to be ready for your e-reader!

Brian Jackson is blindsided when his marriage ends and his wife leaves him and his son in their sleepy South Carolina hometown. Now, his life revolves around his five year old and being a school resource officer at Elmore High School. And he was content until she drove into his life.

Paige Grayson’s arrival in Elmore, South Carolina is her chance for a fresh start after her smart mouth got her in trouble In Nashville. She never expected to find at tempting cop living across the street.

 As Paige and Brian give in to their desire, his ex wife returns wanting her family back. Will Paige and Brian have a chance to love or does his ex still have a place in his heart?  
Pre Order your copy here:

Monday, March 12, 2018

It's like fighting an up hill battle wearing banana peels

Another day, another publisher shuts down.
Crimson Romance, a division of Simon and Schuster, is no more. This is significant because according to the Ripped Bodice 2017 Diversity Study, Crimson had 29.3 percent of their books written by people of color. That's the highest number of the publishers on that list.
Also from the report:
For every 100 books published by the leading romance publishers in 2017, only 6.2 were written by people of color. Down from 7.8 in 2016.
 Authors of color have the odds stacked against them when it comes to traditional publishing and you almost wonder, why do we do it?
Obviously, it's because we love telling stories. We think Black Love matters and we want to tell our own stories without stereotypes.

See, when you see #ownvoice, #weneeddiverseromance #Diverseromance, those hashtags aren't for marketing purposes, it's a rallying cry. I don't know about you, but as a romance reader, I want to see people who look like me falling in love. Why can't black people get their HEA? Latinos, handicap people, LGBTQ people?

It's like a broken record.

Kimani Press, a division of Harlequin, is closing and most of the books in the other series lines are written by white women — even if black and brown faces are on the covers. When a friend of mine was on Facebook talking about the Ripped Bodice report, a non-POC woman basically said authors of color should stick to indie publishing. Talk about white privilege. She's traditionally published, but she doesn't think people who don't look like her should have the same opportunity. Her attitude is obviously mirrored by editors or the NY gatekeepers. There's a publisher on the Ripped Bodice report that has 0 percent of AOC writing for them. Also, Pocket Books told the Romance Writers Association in 2015 that they didn't publish African American romance.
Publishers want black readers to buy their books, they just don't want black writers telling their stories. You can get mad if you want to, but the numbers don't lie.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

So when did I fall in love with . . . Car sales?

He looked me in the eye with a little smirk and asked, "Can you pass the drug test?"
"Of course."
And with that, I was hired.
Hired where?
At a Ford dealership that serves Starbucks in the lobby. I might just be in love.
The first time I sold a car was in 2013. And I never thought it was something I'd fall in love with. I'm a journalist. I'm a writer. But some where along the way, I turned into a car girl. I blame my former general manager. The guy who must be psychic because he hired me with no experience.

I took a break from the car business for a couple of years and hated every job I had. Especially the proofreading job. And I thought that was in my wheel house. So, I got a chance to come back to the business and do what I do best, talk to people and email them.

I don't know when I fell in love with selling cars. Y'all remember the Wonderland stories.
But there's something about making someone happy and getting them into their dream car. Or helping a person get their first car.
And now, I'm going to be putting everybody in a Mustang! That is, if I passed the drug test.
**Spoiler Alert** I got 99 problems but passing the drug test ain't one.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Celebrating Women's History Month with Kathy Douglass

Kathy Douglass

Click Here to get your copy!

Kathy Douglass writes sweet romance that makes you laugh and cry. And I want to move to Sweet Briar tomorrow!

When did you fall in love with romance?
I fell in love with romance when I was in high school. I found my older sister’s books and after reading a few I was hooked. I read every book I could get my hands on. I drifted away for a while and read a lot of horror stories. After being scared silly, I returned to romance where I have stayed.

How long have you been writing about minority characters?
I’ve always written about minority characters. From my really, really bad first book that has never seen the light of day, to the one I’m working on now, my hero and heroine have always been African-American. There may be minor characters whose race is not defined, but the main characters are always African-American.

When you started writing, what was your motivation? 
I started writing when my kids were in pre-school. While they were in class, I had a whopping two hours and fifteen minutes to myself four days a week. The school was far enough away that it didn’t make sense to go home. At first I did my grocery shopping (alone!) and ran other errands. The pre-school was near a college campus, so after a while I started going to the library. They had used books for sale for a quarter, so I started picking up the old romances and reading them. After a while, I had read all of them. Story ideas started flitting through my mind and I thought to myself that I could write one.

At first I wrote just to fill the time and to amuse myself. After a while, I wrote because I wanted to see my books in the stores.

When was your first romance novel published?
My first romance was published in February, 2017.

What is the first thing you thought when you got fan reaction to your book?
Wow! I couldn’t believe someone not related to me had actually written an email letting me know she liked my book. It was a surreal moment.

Who are some of your favorite AOC?
I’m going to keep this list to 10. In no particular order -

Francis Ray
Farrah Rochon
Cheris Hodges
Rochelle Alers
Reese Ryan
Phyllis Bourne
Ann Christopher
Carolyn Hector
Piper Huguley
Beverly Jenkins

What is your favorite romance novel?
Trouble Don’t Last Always by Francis Ray.

How would you describe your novels?
I write sweet, small town contemporary romances.

If you had the choice to put one of your books on screen, which one would it be and why?
I would choose How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart because it’s the first book in the Sweet Briar Sweethearts series. It introduced characters who eventually get books of their own.

Who would you cast in the movie as the hero and the heroine?
The models I used in my pinterest board were Henry Simmons and Rochelle Aytes so I’d cast them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Celebrating Women's History Month with Elle Wright

Pre Order now: Click here

Romance author Elle Wright joins me today to celebrate Woman's History month. She's also about to kick off a new series! 

When did you fall in love with romance?

I fell in love with romance about seventeen years ago. I had just had my daughter, and was home on medical leave for complications. I was bored out of my mind, and a little depressed, when my mother came for a visit. She handed me Indigo by Beverly Jenkins and encouraged me to read it as an escape. Immediately, I shoved the book away and told her I’m not reading that book. But she insisted, telling me it was a lovely read, set in an area close to my hometown. I relented and took the book. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. Reading that book changed my entire life. From that moment on, I was a lover of all things Beverly Jenkins and that one book kick started my love of the genre.

How long have you been writing about minority characters?

Writing minority characters is a must for me, and I’ve been doing it since I picked up the pen to write my own novel. I am in love with “Black Love” so I write about the love between black men and women.

When you started writing, what was your motivation?

Initially, I wanted to pen a soap opera, complete with drama, sex, and emotional dialogue. I was inspired by the ability to tell multiple stories from different POVs. And of course, I wanted the money. LOL  

But then I started writing my first book, and I realized I could do this. What motivates me is actually reading the finished product. What motivates me is the gleam in my children’s eyes when they tell people their mother is an author. What motivates me are the words, the characters, the story. I can’t stop.

When was your first romance novel published?

My first romance novel was The Forbidden Man, published in July of 2015. It was book one in my Edge of Scandal series.

What is the first thing you thought when you got fan reaction to your book?

I was floored. Seriously. I couldn’t believe that people actually loved my book, and loved it enough to read it twice! Then, to hear authors that I’ve read and admired tell me they enjoyed it… Oh God!  I balled my eyes out. I was so overjoyed.

Who are some of your favorite AOC?

Oh, too many to name. Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, Cheris Hodges, Zuri Day, Nicki Night, Sheryl Lister, Sherelle Green, Kennedy Ryan, Angela Seals, Anita Davis, Christine Hughes, Nana Prah, Christina Lauren… the list could go on and on.

What is your favorite romance novel?

Indigo is still my favorite romance novel. I read it at least once a year, and still get chills when Galen stands up in that church!!!

How would you describe your novels?

This is always hard for me. I would classify my books as edgy contemporary romance. An Elle Wright book has scandal, heat, humor, and heart.

If you had the choice to put one of your books on screen, which one would it be and why?

Oh boy… this is hard because I’m always writing. But if I’d have to choose one, it would be The Forbidden Man. I absolutely LOVE Morgan and Sydney. They are my heartbeats, and they were first.

Who would you cast in the movie as the hero and the heroine?

Ooo boy… Anyone that knows me knows who my choice for Morgan Smith would be: Idris Elba, of course. And for Sydney? I’d say Rochelle Aytes or Tia Mowry.