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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Naughty or Nice. . .Is Liza Palmer being naughty or nice?

In my upcoming release, Rumor Has It,  Liza Palmer discovers that her best friend Robert Montgomery isn't the man she thought he was and she's willing to do what ever it takes to stop him from winning the state senate seat he's trying to get elected to.

Powering down his iPad, Jackson crossed over to the breakfast island in the kitchen to brew himself a cup of coffee. He had about an hour before he needed to get ready and head to the campaign office. He couldn’t believe the big debate was less than a week away and the election was just two weeks out. Reaching for a banana nut muffin, Jackson was ready to relax for just a minute. Then he heard the doorbell ring.
            “Really?” he muttered as he put his muffin down and headed to the door. Looking out the window, he was shocked to see Liza Palmer standing on his doorstep.
            When Jackson opened the door, Liza expected to see him dressed in a business suit holding a cup of coffee with the latest copy of the Charlotte Observer draped over his arm. What she didn’t expect and was not ready for was a shirtless Jackson Franklin.
            “Ooh,” she said, blinking then quickly turning away from his chiseled abs and tantalizing pectorals. “I-I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”
            “Just my breakfast. How did you find my address?” he asked.
            “It’s not as if you’re unlisted. You might want to think about that when you win the election.”
            “As I recall, a couple of days ago, you were sure that I’d lose. And you told me to drop out.”
            “Things have changed and I have what you need to win,” she said. “May I come in?”
            Jackson folded his arms and she saw the 82nd Airborne tattoo on his forearm. God, that was sexy. Focus, damn it! she thought.
            “Why should I let you in?”
            “Because I can no longer stand behind Robert Montgomery and I want you to win this election.”
            Jackson tilted his head to the side. Dirty tricks were a part of politics and he wanted to believe that Liza was different. But why was she on his side all of a sudden?
            “I’m not buying this, and I thought we were running clean campaigns around here.”
            Liza pulled her phone out and flashed Jackson one of the pictures of Robert and that woman having sex. “This is all you need to win.”
            “I’m not running that kind of campaign. And I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but I’m not falling for it.”
            “This isn’t a game. This is your ticket to that senate seat.”
            Jackson leaned against the doorjamb and folded his arms across his massive chest. “You’ve been his cheerleader since this began and even longer, according to you. Now you want to help me? Darling, I was born at night, but not last night.”
            Liza focused on his eyes, hoping they’d be less distracting than his muscular arms. Big mistake. They were intoxicating. Hypnotic.
            “I thought Robert was someone else. I thought he was a champion I could stand behind. But he’s not. People should know that.”
            “So, you’re morally outraged because he had sex in the office with his fiancée, or are you jealous?”
            Standing on her tiptoes, Liza gripped his arm. “I’m sick of people thinking that I’m petty and bitter. I can have a man if I wanted to be lied to and played. But I chose to blaze my own path. I’m sick and seriously tired of men lying and doing whatever the hell they want to do! I guess you’re one of those men too!”
            “Actually, I’m not. Because watching you stand here all indignant and angry, I want to scoop you up in my arms and take you inside to see how mad you really are,” he said with a slick smile.
            Liza dropped her hand from his arm and stepped back. “Uh, I—”
            “Don’t worry, I have self-control. And I have sense enough to know that a man sleeping with his woman in his office doesn’t make him—”
            “That’s not his fiancée, and if a man will lie to the woman he allegedly loves, why would he be honest with the public?” Her voice rose and Jackson did usher her inside, fearing that a neighbor would hear her.
            “Would you like a cup of coffee to go with that pissed-off feeling inside you?” he asked as he ushered her into the kitchen.
            Liza rolled her eyes and paced back and forth around the breakfast nook. “Don’t patronize me.”
            Jackson poured her a cup of coffee and handed it to her. “Have a seat and let’s talk rationally.”
            “Do you want my help or not?”
            “I don’t want your help like this.”
            She sipped the black coffee and rolled her eyes. “Like this? What does that mean?”
            “It means, I’m not going to use scandalous pictures to win the election. People shouldn’t worry about what others are doing in their bedroom.”
            Liza flashed the picture again. “Does this look like a bedroom?”
            “You know what I mean. Liza, let’s be honest, your feelings are hurt. He’s engaged to your friend, you caught him cheating, and I’m guessing she took his side. You want to lash out and that’s why you’re here. If you really want to help me, send a donation to my campaign, vote for me, or”—he closed the space between them and drew her into his arms—“let me kiss you.”
            “What?” she asked, blinking as he lifted her chin.
            “I want to kiss you.” Before she could reply, Jackson covered her mouth with his and Liza melted. He was a skilled kisser. Smooth. Tender. Delicious. And his bare chest against her body caused a river to flow between her thighs. Just before losing herself in lust and longing, she remembered why she’d come there.
            Pulling back, she took a deep breath and turned for the door. “Liza,” Jackson called out. “Wait.”
            In mid-step, she stopped and looked at him. “What?”
            “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have . . .”
            “No, you shouldn’t have. Instead, you should’ve done this,” she said as she rushed over to him and threw herself into his arms. Liza nibbled his full bottom lip and then gave him a wonton lick across his lip. Jackson moaned, caught off guard and highly aroused.
            “Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can we talk business?”

So, is Liza being naughty or nice?

Leave your answer in the comments by 10 p.m. and be eligible for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The SistahFriend Book Club: All about reading and community service

Ten years ago, Tasha Martin started a movement wrapped in a book club.
The SistahFriend Book Club is a women’s empowerment group that celebrates African-American voices in literature. Founded in November 2004 by Tasha Martin, the sisterhood began with four members in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, a branch exists in its founding city and in Atlanta, Georgia. Members bond as sisters (affectionately called “sistahs”) and discuss literary works in intimate settings at least once a month. Our Sistahs also gather annually for an empowerment retreat to celebrate the SFBC’s anniversary in January, and commit to community outreach throughout the year. Our mission is three-fold:
  • women empowerment
  • increase the awareness of quality literature written by and about African-American identities
  • community outreach
Today, there are chapters of SFBC across the country; from Columbia to Atlanta and in cyberspace. Known for their support of black authors.
Sistahfriend Book Club members with author Rhonda McKnight

Founder Tasha Martin

Smiling SistahFriends! 
Tasha Martin joins me to talk about ten years of SistahFriend Book Club!

1.     What was the Inspiration to start the SishahFriend Book Club? 

I started the SFBC right after college. I'd lost touch with a few family and friends, and I was searching for a connection with like-minded women: those who enjoyed reading and believed in women empowerment. 

2.     Your club is regional and virtual, were you surprised that so many women wanted to join your movement? 

Yes! I mean, I knew we were doing a good thing -- it just felt good -- but the tremendous response we've experienced over the last ten years has been nothing short of amazing. I still get excited when talking to potential members, and I'm forever grateful for the connections.

3.     Reading isn’t all you ladies do, what are some other thing that the Sistahfriends do?

We are also active in the community. A few of my favorite past experiences include walking/running pink marathons, journal drives for sexual assault victims, cooking and serving dinner to children who reside in group homes, care packages for girls, couponing workshops for domestic violence victims. As a women's empowerment group, we also relax outside of our standard once a month meetings in social gatherings or mini-summer retreats.

4.     Who was the first author that your group hosted? 

Cheris, I am embarrassed to say I do not remember (I know, horrible, right?). The past ten years are really blended together in my head in this pretty cool mirage of smiling faces, good books, and good food. (Seriously, I'm beating myself up for this one.) I'll go on the record and say everyone (especially the repeaters :-) are and have been awesome.

5.     I see that SistahFriend Book Club has been nominated for several awards over the years, how does that make you feel about how the literary world sees you? 

It's a beautiful thing to see and feel. I am overwhelmed (in a good way) every time I experience one. The nominations help validate for us that we are helpful in our literary community. I'm eternally grateful for the love.

6.     How can someone join the SistahFriend Book Club? 

Potential members can email us on Facebook or at

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving memories. . .

Thanksgiving gets no love. Somewhere between Halloween and Christmas, this holiday that's all about food, family and thankfulness get nothing. There are never retailers who want to take this day away from their employees for the almighty dollar.

Well, today we're showing Thanksgiving some love. I reached out to some ladies who I'm thankful to know and asked them to share their favorite memories of Thanksgiving. 

ReShonda Tate Billingsley:

I'll admit it, I never bothered to learn how to cook Thanksgiving dinner. My mom could throw down in the kitchen. I mean the kind of eating that sent you straight to the sofa afterward with a bad case of the 'itis.' So, I never bothered to learn because she was just going to doctor up whatever I did anyway. Fast forward to my first Thanksgiving ever away from her. I was married and living in Oklahoma City, hundreds of miles away from my mother in Houston. I was working as a television news anchor/reporter, and I was the low man on the totem pole so I couldn't get the holiday off. My producer came up with the bright idea to have me cook Thanksgiving dinner on the morning show...with my mother's help via phone. Long story short, my dressing was flat, literally, like a pizza flat, my turkey was nice and crisp on the outside and still clucking on the inside (something about blood oozing from the bird made the viewers lose their appetite). And oh yeah, my mother cursed on live TV...told me "That's why your lazy ass should've been paying attention all those years." I immediately reprimanded her, reminding her that we were live, to which she replied, "I can't say lazy on TV?" I ignored her sarcasm, told her this was a family show, and we were doing a family activity. She told me, "Dammit, you called me. You know how I am. Eat your bloody turkey, I'm going back to bed." Then, she hung up the phone. 

Yes, all of this was live on the air. 

I was embarrassed beyond belief. The viewers loved it. (I just thank God that was before YouTube). After tossing back to the anchors in the studio, who were laughing so hard they were crying, I called my husband and told him we'd be heading to Luby's for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner wasn't exactly what I was accustomed to, but it was decent...until the staff started pointing my way and the cook finally came over and said, "Are you that reporter whose mama cussed her on TV today?" I guess my mother was with me that Thanksgiving after all. 

On February 3, 2014, ReShonda Tate Billingsley along with National Best Selling author, Victoria Christopher Murray launched Brown Girls Publishing, their new boutique publishing company. Visit An award-winning and national best-selling author and journalist. She has authored over 35 books and was involved in three anthologies. She writes both adult and teen fiction, as well as nonfiction. Several of her books have been optioned for movies, including her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, which is being directed by actress Regina King. Billingsley has also been a television reporter/anchor for NBC affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City and Fox affiliate KRIV in HoustonTexas

Victoria Christopher Murray

My favorite Thanksgiving was when I introduced my boyfriend to my family for the first time. That boyfriend became my husband.

Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking quite an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, New York, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating in 1977, Victoria attended New York University where she received her Master of Business Administration in 1979.
Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she decided to test her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the "bug" hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.
Since Temptation, Victoria has written fifteen other adult novels, including: JOY, Grown Folks Business, The Ex Files, The Deal, the Dance and the Devil, her newest novel, Never Say Never and the popular Jasmine Cox Larson Bush series.  In 2012, Victoria joined ReShonda Tate Billingsley to write two collaborations, Sinners and Saints, and Friends and Foes which pits Victoria's Jasmine character against Rachel Adams, a first lady created by ReShonda.
Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction.  Since 2007, Victoria has won six African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year - Female.  Her 2013 NAACP Image Award nomination for Destiny's Divas was her second Image Award nomination.
In 2008, Victoria’s first novels in her Christian fiction teen series - The Divine Divas – were published and were optioned to become a television series.  She is currently in negotiations for her novel, The Ex Files, to become a movie.
With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country's top African American contemporary authors.

Devondia Roseborough

My favorite memory of Thanksgiving would definitely be when my grandmother was living, Rosetta Dixon Hood. She passed when I was 13 years old but I can still see her kitchen to this day, vividly with the aroma of homemade dressing, hen, duck, turkey, dumplings, cheese mastering the melting process between the elbow noodles while the potato salad chilled and the savory smell of chocolate and vanilla made the pitter patter of little feet ready to lick the bowl. Family laughing and engaging down memory lane as the sweet sounds of I’ll Be Home for Christmas sang from her Hi-Fi. I had the privilege of being the eldest grandchild and I was my grandmother’s favorite so with that said I had my own personal pan of mac and cheese. We would laugh as the elders told the stories of old until our eyes watered. Everyone would pile up at grandma’s house and there was nothing for anyone to bring but what they wanted to drink. The loving part about this memory was she fed everyone regardless if they were kin or not and to be exact she did not mind you taking a plate home because there was always enough to do so. The saying no one can take my mama’s place is true but no one can touch what my grandma created during the Thanksgiving holiday and for that I am thankful. Memories.

DeVondia Regina Roseborough is “The Traveling Advocate” who is a loving mother of two daughters and grandmother to one grandchild who is determined and motivated to publicly express the effects on HIV/AIDS globally. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ms. Roseborough delivers a heartwarming message based on facts from her personal experiences in life. Directed by her faith in God, DeVondia chose to take action against her December 9, 2003 diagnosis. Handed the news that her T-cells were a count of nineteen, she soon learned that she had AIDS. Letting nothing stop her, not even a twenty-three day stay in the hospital, Ms. Roseborough healed spiritually and closed her mind to the world of negativity and decided to convey God’s love for all; including those with HIV and AIDS. She is the author of My Last First Kiss, Put It On Paper and Changed Woman . . .Unchained: Life After AIDS.

Dr. Nicki Washington

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is 2012, the last one with my father. We traveled to Asheville to spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s family. As we often do, our family ends up playing cards or some other game. My dad’s jokes and overall personality, despite his sickness, made everyone enjoy that special holiday, as usual. None of us knew it would be the last one we’d spend with him. Even still, we all remember how much fun we had playing Wii games, eating, and laughing about stories from the past.

Dr. Nicki Washington was the 2000 valedictorian of Johnson C. Smith University, receiving a B.S. in computer science. She received a M.S. and Ph.D. from NC State University in 2002 and 2005, respectively, becoming the first African-American female Ph.D. in computer science from the university, and the first Johnson C. Smith computer science graduate to obtain a Ph.D. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Science at Howard University.

Dr. Washington has been a featured guest on radio and television shows such as Fox5 Morning News, "The Daily Drum," and "The Ernest Burley Show." She has also been a featured writer and speaker for institutions and organizations such as Google, USA Today College, Bennett College for Women, Johnson C. Smith University, The DC STEM Summit, National Coalition for Women in Information Technology, and the National Society of Black Engineers. She is a native of Durham, NC.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Share it below in the comments and Happy Thanksgiving!!