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Friday, November 30, 2018

Unapologetically Dope . . .Dr. Nicki Washington's love letter to black women in tech (and everywhere else!)

Want to know why Dr. Nicki Washington is the right woman to write a book titled Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field

1. She is the first black woman to earn a Ph.D in computer science from North Carolina State University.
2. She's been coding since she was a child!
3. She was the first black woman faculty member of the computer science department at Howard University.
4. And she is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (Just like me, so that makes her doper than your average off the gate!)

Today I got a chance to visit with Dr. Washington in her office on the campus of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, fitting place for a Rock Star like Nicki!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

What I'm thankful for . . .

Some times you may turn the TV on and watch the craziness that has become the world and want to throw your hands up in despair.
Some time, you're tired of seeing bad people win while good ones suffer. You might get up in the morning and curse the job that you're heading to; oh wait, that's just me. . .
But there is always more to be thankful for.
I'm thankful for every breath I take, thankful for my mama's mac and cheese, thankful for my daddy, thankful for God blessing me with a passion for writing.

I'm thankful that I had 13 good years with my grandmother, who taught me how to love and how to throw shade. I'm thankful for my brother and my sister who made me an auntie — actually, the coolest auntie in the world.

I'm thankful for my friend who introduced me to sushi and shrimp sauce. I'm thankful to my niece who reminds me every day that life isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.
I'm thankful to my nephews and the men they have become and continue to grow into. I'm especially thankful that they have girlfriends who aren't crazy or ugly. (Super thankful for that last part)

I'm thankful that people want to read the stories that I tell, that I'm allow to escape into a world of fantasy and share it with world. I'm thankful that I'm alive and I have a chance to make mistakes and learn from them.

So, on this day of Thanksgiving, while we fellowship with our families and enjoy mac and cheese that doesn't have blueberries in it, remember someone who doesn't know how much they have to be thankful for and show them some love.
Remember that you are loved and someone is thankful for you right now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There's something about a midnight kiss

Fireworks, champagne and the stroke of midnight on December 31st. There is something about that moment that's magical.

And soon, you're going to be Tempted At Midnight. . .
Coming Oct. 2019 from Kensington Books.

For hopeless romantic Sylvie Gates, there’s nothing quite as magical as a New Year’s Eve kiss. So as the clock nears midnight at her best friend’s party, Sylvie makes a beeline for the sexiest guy in the room. A happily-ever-after would be nice of course, but Sylvie’s trying to live in the moment. Plus, she’s about to begin the biggest project of her interior design career, so she better just enjoy her last night of freedom . . .

Newly appointed CEO of troubled Jordan Industries, Erik Jordan expects New Year’s Eve is the last night off he’ll have all year—and the billionaire plans to make the most of it. Locking lips with gorgeous Sylvie is just the beginning of an unforgettably steamy night together. But the fact that she steals his signature move and slips away in the morning is only the first surprise. The second is running into her again—at her job remodeling his company. Is it coincidence—or the power of a perfectly-timed kiss? With the electricity still crackling between them, and some major challenges ahead of them, they’ll find out before the year is through . . .

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.