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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The end of an era: Kimani Romance going away

It came in an email.
Dear Author.

Blah, blah, blah, these books just aren't selling.

Do, do, do,  we're ending the Kimani romance line in 2018.

Wow. No more African American romance stories. Of course they say they will open other lines up to the Kimani authors. Authors who are majority black and brown.

And should believe this, right?

I mean, Harlequin Desire has given us such culturally diverse books like:

And no, Sarah Anderson is not an author of color.
For a long time, all black characters could only be in Kimani books. Then this happened.



















And who can forget this gem?
 In this story, the black woman heroine doesn't think she's good enough for the white hero and then there is the black baby they find in the trash can. Ok. That is cultural diversity at it's best. . .uh-huh.


I've only written three books with Kimani and after seeing how this line was promoted and treated in the world of romance, I'm more angry than sad to see it go away.

Why are you mad?

I'm glad you asked. Let me explain:
1. Mainstream reviewers acted as if two black people falling in love, have money and sex was something that they could not relate to. But damnit, a fucking vampire falling in love with a blond virgin who could read minds was the most romantic thing in the universe. Newsflash: Vampires are not real. Black people exist! How do you think these little black people got here? Their mothers and fathers fell in love and had sex. That shit happens every day.

2. Bookstores put black romance in a separate section like that was cool. Romance is romance. You know why I didn't read romance for years? Because I got tired of stretching my imagination to turn white folks into black folks. If I had to do all of that to enjoy a story, then I might as well write my own. So, I did.
But when I was published and walked into the romance section to find my books: crickets.

In 2003 when I went looking for my first romance novel, I had to swim through books that had nothing to do with romance. So, bookstores didn't want to invite white people into the world of black love? Obviously not. If I walk into your bookstore and I don't see Beverly Jenkins or Brenda Jackson in your ROMANCE section, I'm out.


3. Many publishers don't try to market ethnic romance at all. I posted this on Facebook and I stand by every word:
Why can't publishers sell black romance? Short answer, they don't try. See, the problem is, too many publishers think that African American characters are like vampires, a niche. A plot twist. But what they haven't figured out for many decades is that love is love. Instead of focusing on the amazing stories written by authors who aren't white. They focused on the black part. Knowing that they have been complicit in scaring the majority of their readers into believing that black things are scary, but a shape shifter with four dicks and a demon's soul can really love you. That, white lady reader, you can relate to. But for some reason, we, the big publisher don't think you will understand people of color falling in love or having money. So, don't pretend you're sad you are dropping a line that you didn't promote. Don't act like everyone is going to have a chance to write for your money makers and we know what you were doing when all of a sudden you had non black writers writing about black characters. PS: Those stories really fell flat and bordered on offensive. But they made money, so that's all that counts, right? 
4. Black publishers sell out or screw the authors.
Point blank period.

5. And back to you reviewers. Seriously, Trashy bitches killed Kimani.
First of all, and yes, I'm clapping my hands, a book does not get a RITA nomination if it is an average book. Is it so hard for you to believe black people fall in love? But a demon with three dicks is awesome? Miss me with that bullshit. For whatever reason, other people think that you're reviews are the manna from heaven when it come to romance. Okay. That's stupid. But then again, millions of people voted for Donald Trump in this country.
Why don't you do what black readers had to do for years and imagine that the characters are white. Then maybe you'll like the story better.

Monday, April 3, 2017

And then she decided that she was enough

If you've been following along on my blog lately, you may have noticed I've gotten a little more personal that normal. The past two years have been a mess in portions of my life. Hell, my love life. My love life has been a B movie with an ending that pisses off everyone in the movie theatre.

Did this crap really happen? Are we supposed to believe this shit?

You'd think the romance writer would have it together in the love department. After all, I've seen real love. My parents and my siblings have been married for DECADES. But there's something that just doesn't work out for me when I meet Mr. Right Now. 
Even when you follow conventional wisdom and take it slow or if you jump in head over feet and move at the speed of light, the results are the same. Done-dada! Nothing. Ziltch. 

I have decided that my life is not one of the stories that I tell. (I used to love second chance stories, but in real life most mother@#ckers don't deserve a first chance.)
Even if you meet a dude at the book store, he probably can't read and is there because someone told him women in bookstores are easy.

Next thing is, I've decided I'm enough. If you can't handle me, the good, the bad and the crazy then at like Ludacris and move.


And finally, I'm taking the rest of the year to spend time doing what Cheris wants to do. Coffee drinking, traveling and writing!

And maybe buying some new electronics and no, not those! LOL!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

You've been duped! Specifically, I've been duped

I consider myself to be pretty smart, except when it comes to matters of the heart. I might lie about my age, sometimes my dress size but I don't play with people's emotions. Either I like you or I don't. And you will know either way. The fakest thing about me is my hair color.

So, I cram to understand why I keep taking a dude at face value. It's obvious that this generation of men are skilled at one thing. Not good sex. Not great communications. Not good food. These men are angry liars! They lie so well that they make fiction look autobiographical.

Did their mother's not love them as children? Are they trying to make the women in their lives pay for their mother issues? I'm going to go with yes.
It's been my experience that when you reach a certain age and you're still single, it seems as if you're subjected to broken men with a point to prove and lies to tell. Then these motherfuckers wonder why a broad gets an episode of Snapped.

Listen, I'm tired.
Today for instance, I get an Emoji text from a dude I haven't heard from in months. Can you use words. I'm a writer, I like words.
So this conversation led to this question, Miss me?
There was a time when I would've texted back some cutesy little, yes. Of course I miss you. But today was not the day. Again, months have passed since I've talked to you and we haven't gone out since I got free tickets to a basketball game on my birthday —last year. What the fuck am I supposed to miss? This is a mystery to me. Please call Scooby-Doo and his friends to give me a clue.

Then it's like, another damned Emoji and this stupid message: You must have a boo now.
So what if I do? What effort has you made to get in that position and why do you care? 
I'm tired. 
You know what, I don't even care anymore. A long time ago, he might have been Ralph Tresvant, but by the time I meet him his ass is coked up Bobby Brown.
I'm good. 
Stay over there. I got books to write.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I think you should let it burn!

I will admit it, I can be petty where my heart is involved. Just like tonight while I was spring cleaning and found a picture that was taken this winter. Me and Doo-Doo head. I had purple hair and a big smile. He had on a Dallas Cowboys hat and those damn dimples were popping. I cut the picture in half and burned his face.

This is a pattern with me. A) I make horrible decision when it comes to the opposite sex.
B) I have a photo album full of half pictures.




I would say, I'm going to do better,but at this point, I don't care.

March 1, I turned 40. Yes, I'm legit telling my age. The big 40 is a milestone for some people. When my sister turned 40, she had a huge party.
Many of my friends who have or are turning 40 this year had huge celebrations or are planning them.

What did my dramatic ass do? Looked at a list that I must have written in my 20s about what my life would look like at 40.
It was kind of depressing. . . That my goals were so small and traditional. I could slap the shit out of my 20 year old self.
1. Be married.
(Why? Had I gotten married, I'm sure I'd be divorced now or a favorite episode of Snapped for somebody)
2. Have a son.
(I have three. Thank you brother and sister)
3. Write a book.
(At least I wasn't totally crazy)
4. Be the editor of the Washington Post
(I should have worked harder on this goal)

I did make a video of me burning half of the picture, but my petty is only at 45 percent today. Not going to post it.

Operation dating for content, starts Now!

Friday, March 17, 2017

My love life is melancholy as hell . . .has been for a while. . .

When I write love stories, people always ask if it's based on things that I've gone through.
Let me stop laughing. We all know that romance novels have a feel good happily ever after. Cheris Hodges relationships Do. Not.
I thought this was something that had just happened, but I found an old mix-tape/CD I made in the late 90s after a break up with some dude.
The songs include, A Dream by DeBarge, Kiss the Pain Away by Patti LaBelle, There's Never Be a Better Love by Switch, I Don't Ever Want To See You Again by Uncle Sam (remember him?). And I wasn't even drinking back then.

What's funny is when my love life is in a drought, like right now, I get so inspired to write about "Prince Charming."

I remember when I thought I met Prince Charming in 2006. But he ended up cheating on me with a chick who looks like Ursula the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid. I made a CD that reminded me of him. I thought I'd lost it (or smashed it to bits like I did the Playstation he'd given me) but it was in with my other old disc. I popped it in and listened to the sappy songs I'd play every time he came over. Well, not sappy, but sexy. Heavy on the Prince, International Lover, Scandalous, Insatiable, Do Me, Baby. I can't believe I actually used my good Prince on that jackass, but I digress.

I believe I wrote my least favorite book while I was "so in love" with Dookie head. But after we broke up, my muse was on fire. And Alicia Keys's Girl On Fire became my theme song.


And let's not talk about the number of times I had to talk myself out of setting his house on fire! My mantra was, Orange is not the new black for you.

So, I killed him in a book, or thought about it. I believe the scene was cut because it didn't add to the story. Sometimes, you have to let the petty go for the sake of the plot.
New rule, though, if I decide to date again — I. Am. Only. Dating. For. Content! I've kind of had it up to here with this new generation of singles.
And as much as I love watching Snapped, I don't need my own episode.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Coffee makes the words come faster. . .

Over the last three weeks, I've been going to sleep at the butt crack of dawn as I've been plotting, writing and drinking.

Drinking coffee, that is.

Normal people probably have their last cup of coffee around noon. But who said I was normal? I'm a writer. And since I'm trying to make more healthy choices with my life, I can't sit here and eat chocolate while my deadline slowly creeps up on me, so around 12:45 a.m., I have a big ass cup of coffee.

So, what has this late night cup of joe gotten me? Three proposals (for books cause you know I'm allergic to love in real life), insomnia, a wall of story boards, a relationship with Hulu and it's crazy movies and a strange addiction to almonds. Plain. Smoked. Almonds.

Sometimes the coffee makes the words flow like water. I look up just in time to see the sun rising and think, huh. You might need to go to bed. Because I do have a day job. :(

Then after a few hours of sleep, I read what the coffee has inspired and sometimes it is straight trash. I delete just as many words as I've written.
And then there are the plot holes. Some small, some big as the Grand Canyon.

But I'm a writer. And this is what I do.

Sleep will come in the morning, but these characters need some TLC tonight.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Why Adonis Creed is the ultimate hero

There are two scenes in Creed, that get me every time.
The first one is when fine old Adonis Creed, played by my boyfriend in my head, Michael B. Jordan, twists his girlfriend's hair. For a natural girl like myself, that is straight swoon worthy. It's not that it's an overtly sexual scene or even erotic, but it's so damned endearing. That soft and sweet lovely stuff that happens just when you're falling in love. Not only is he twisting her hair, but they're talking about their dreams and hopes.
Swooning!

And it's Michael "Bae" Jordan. He became Bae in that scene alone. But then he loses his cool at Bianca's show because he found out that he's in danger of losing another father figure. He goes slam off on some dude and practically ruin's old girl's showcase. After he gets out of jail for being stupid, he rushes to her house and bangs on the door.

She's ready to give him hell. Tells him off and is ready to write him off. But Creed shows his pain. He tells her that Rocky's dying and that's why he acted a jackass.
Man, just take my panties now.

One step, one punch, one round at a time.

Then he goes back to being a bad ass fighter man when he walks to the ring to the sounds of 2Pac's Hail Mary. Did I say he could take my panties yet? 
Hollywood Creed is the kind of man that you want to cheer for, make love to and get up in the morning and cook him breakfast —and I'm talking about using real butter on the hotcakes. 
A boxer is the ultimate Alpha male and Bae played that role like a champ! 
If it sounds like I'm a little obsessed, then you're right. I'm going to log off and watch Creed again, for the 50th time. 


Friday, February 3, 2017

2017, give yourself a standing ovation

Ladies and the gentlemen who read this blog, I have an idea for us this year.

In 2017 we need to applaud ourselves. We need pat ourselves on the damn back when we achieve any and everything. This year, we've stepped into a pile of shit led by the election of an orange tyrant but we aren't going to stop living life and doing amazing shit.

But what we need to do is stop waiting for permission to celebrate greatness.

And remember that no is a complete sentence. Stop doing things that you don't want to do because you want to make someone else feel better.
Make yourself feel good. Be. Selfish. And don't feel bad about it.

Save the world but make sure you're going to be around to enjoy it.

Make your dreams reality. If my little country tail can write books and have them on shelves around the country, then why can't YOU snatch your dreams out of your head and make them happen.

And when you do — give yourself a standing ovation. Don't pause for applause, clap for your damn self!

Remove toxic people and thoughts from your life. You don't need a squad. You can be your own squad.

Make your next move your best move and 2017 the best year ever!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I'm going to go and love myself. . .

I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm better at writing love stories than I am at living them.

It's not as if I haven't been surrounded by love my entire life. I've watched my parents and my siblings have successful marriages, raise amazing kids and I have countless aunts, uncles and cousins who have done the same thing.
Then there's me.
I think I'm just in love with being in love. Because I keep picking the wrong damn man. When I date dingbats, which is obviously what I do, I come up with a story of our relationship in my head that never translates into reality. And just like Britany Spears, Oops I did it again.

Here's the story:
Me and Dingleberry met in high school. Reconnected on Facebook. Exchanged phone numbers. Spent time together. He met the parents. Then poof, like a unicorn, he disappeared.

When a fire burns bright, it usually burns out the quickest. And ladies and gentlemen, here's the story line of my love life — or lack there of.

I'm not trying to get all Mimi Collins on you right now, but I'm seriously becoming a character in a Cheris Hodges novel.
Or even worse, my life is a dark romantic comedy —one that hasn't been filmed yet. But whatever.
So. 2017 will be the year of self-love. Yes, Justin Bieber, I will Love myself!


All of this will probably end up in a book at some point.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Feel The Heat, the paperback awaits!


Is it hot in here or is it just my new book? Feel The Heat is available in paperback right now!

I love this story because Mimi Collins is a character who has been with me for years. She's headstrong, she's hot-headed and she has a mouth on her. I knew Mimi needed a special man in her life. Enter Brent Daniels. He's a man who is the total opposite of Mimi. And just like Paula said, opposites attract.

So, what's this book about? I'm so glad you asked.

Behind closed doors? 
Relationship blogger and bestselling author Mimi Collins built her brand by talking openly about sex and love. But after a blog she posts negatively depicting a speed-dating site goes viral, she needs legal advice, and fast. Lucky for her, she has an irresistible advocate in Brent Daniels, her gorgeous new neighbor. The celebrated attorney and TV personality just took on her case. And he plays to win—in and out of court. 
Putting the moves on his client is taboo, but how can Brent turn down his feelings for Atlanta's hottest romance expert? He knows what a woman really wants: candlelight and roses, champagne and seduction. Until a legal victory leads to an intimate tête-à-tête…and a very public kiss. But with a tragic secret buried in his past, Brent can't afford any negative publicity. And now that his reputation is on the line, so is his future with Mimi. And he doesn't intend to lose his chance with the woman he loves without a fight.

Get your copy today! 

Buy Links: Amazon





Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Eighties made me

So, I can't sleep and I turned on Netflix and started watching the CNN documentary, The Eighties.

The Challenger explosion still gives me chills. I remember sitting in my classroom watching the first teacher go into space.
More than anything else, we were excited and filled with pride that Ron McNair, a Lake City, South Carolina native, was on that shuttle.

Innocence died that day. Along with my dreams of flying into space. For years and to this day, I'm afraid to fly. The little girl who didn't have a concept of death watched people die. Watched a hero die.

As I watched the story being retold, that little girl wondered, she could've been had she not allowed fear to hold her back. After Challenger, I didn't want anything to do with science. I thought, science could kill you.

I was beginning to understand why my Daddy jumped out of airplanes (and yes, I know it is not the same) instead of sitting in one and going up, up and away.

Looking back on the 80s, beyond the clothes and music, it was a scary time. While many think Ronald Reagan was the best president ever, excuse me while I barf, he was a warmonger and almost killed us all. I'm now fully away of how close my father could've have come to death and going into another war. Thanks, Reagan.

We were all so poor. Reaganomics almost killed this country —though most people won't admit it.
Technology came to be in the 80s. How bad did you want a Walkman? And MTV actually showed videos. Though it took them a long time to put black people on their network.
Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. A lot of the rhetoric that came from Reagan and the Congress back then, sounds a lot like what we're hearing today. Again, I'm scared. But this time, I'm a grown up and I can do something this time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Starbucks update: When a company gets it right

So, my Starbucks card was hacked or something like that.
A creature from somewhere in North Carolina went to Lincolnton and spent $10.36 at Starbucks using my money!
I called the Starbucks customer service line and thought I was going to be in for a fight.

How about, no.
How about I spoke to a woman who did her job and didn't make me wade through bullcrap. And this made me smile.
And I realized something as I head into the 40th anniversary of my birth, I need to kinder and gentler. Now, the petty isn't going anywhere because you can be nice and petty. But I digress.

Not only did Starbucks make my day yesterday, but then I found out that my Christmas anthology is available for pre-order and it has a beautiful cover.

The Perfect Present is the second Christmas anthology that I've been included in. I am so honored to share this book with the amazing Rochelle Alers and the amazing Pamela Yaye.

So, when I was playing Christmas music in September and October last year, this is why. I was writing my Christmas novella.

Christmas is always special in my family. And this Christmas (eve) my parents will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

And shh, don't tell them but I'm going to write about a couple that may or may not be based on them. All names will be changed to protect myself from my mama's belt. LOL!






Monday, January 2, 2017

This analog girl has been hacked in this digital world

Most anyone who knows me knows that Starbucks is my vice. Seriously, tell me that there is free Starbucks and I'm there.
So, when I got a plethora of Starbucks gift cards for Christmas, who was happy?
This girl right here:

Well, this girl ain't that happy right now. I logged on to my Starbucks app to check my stars and see if I was going to use my free reward tomorrow before work. What did I find? 
Some son of a bitch spent $10.36 in Lincolnton, North Carolina on my card Saturday. At 1:41 PM when I was at work! Color me pissed and scared. 
A. Who is the Starbucks thief?
B. How in the blue hell did they hack me?
C. Did this happen because I think Donald Trump is a piece of Orange Shit? 
D. When am I going to get my mother#*king money back? 
My family didn't give me these gift cards for some lame bastard to steal. And I wonder what the piece of shit ordered. I hope is was nasty and burned them. Like, I'm connected to stuff, but I'm really just like Erykah Badu. 
I'm an analog girl in a digital world. 
I'd like to pay cash for everything, but people in Charlotte snatch purses. It's easier to replace cards than cash. I can imagine CMPD giving me hella side eye if I told them I had five million dollars in my purse. I see your side eye too. 

So, I called Starbucks and of course they are closed for the holiday. I tweeted them. No response yet. We'll see what happens. But I want my damned money back! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Your love almost killed me. . .Year end reflections

I knew there was going to be something different about 2016. When the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 2015, I knew January 1, 2016 was going to be different.

I'm no clairvoyant or a woman with sight beyond sight, but I'd been having crazy dreams and weird thoughts. I'd just started a new job at yet another car dealership. I know the money is good in selling cars, but it does damage your soul if you work for the wrong people. Yes, I'd taken a job with the wrong people.

But it was a Christmas present that I'd given to someone that had set the tone for 2016.
A pair of Timberland boots.
My mother always said that if you give some one shoes, they will walk out of your life. She left out the part about the parade and second line that they do across your heart. When I give a gift, I actually want one in return. I know, it's better to give than to receive, but I can be petty and selfish. Trying to work on that in the New Year.

I got a kiss on the cheek and some meaningless sex. As the New Year rolled in, I sat on my sofa —alone and pissed. My best friend and I had just drank apple Crown and cheap champagne swearing that 2016 would be different.

Maybe we should've been more specific in what we wanted 2016.
Fast forward to the last week of January, 2016. I had the pleasure of spending time with some of the best writers in the world in Destin, Florida. The road trip was awesome. Five black girls in a Jeep driving around the south in a world that couldn't possibly take Donald Trump seriously as a presidential nominee. Shit, Hillary got this.

On the way back to Charlotte, I confessed how much I loved this guy, who I thought was mine. All mine — in my Eliza Hamilton voice (Google it!) .

When I returned home, I was set to start another job that Monday — at a car dealership where my car sales mentor was working. Two things about my car sales mentor, he's my brother and has a beautiful family. Bonus thing about my car sales mentor, he had the most amazing name for a hero! *Jackson Franklin*

Started work at another dealership where things were supposed to be awesome. Alleged man of my dreams was always in my text messages.
Then, the first Sunday I had to work at the new dealership, I got phone call from said man of my dreams. I said hello and got nothing.
Hung up, thinking that it was a butt dial. I was trying to sell a car so that I could get some money to update my website and order some swag for my Rumor Series. 
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really don't know where to start with this. To me, it was the perfect romance. Liza and Jackson had an instant attraction that we were able to watch grow into love. I understood the conflicts within their relationship and the hurdles they had to overcome. All in all I love what they have.
Hated Chante. She was the worst kinda friend. There was no trust in anything she did. I don't want her to have a happy ending. That's how much she worked my nerves.
Robert was the best kind of villian. He was so covert and so petty and just so... Think Hans from frozen. That's who he reminds me of. Anywho, I'm rambling. But I would recommend everyone buy this book. And don't lend it out. Force your friends to buy it too. The book is so worth it.
 In my mind,  I was ready to become a full time writer with an Obamacare insurance policy that I would be able to pay each month.
A second call came in from the so-called man of my dreams and woman asked,  "who is this calling my husband?"
I was flabbergasted. Because the man who this number belonged to was single and he was my man.
Like: WTF!
But, I'm petty and a low key asshole. So, I said. "Ask your husband."
When she tried to get jazzy and said,"Look,  you no self-respect having . . ." I hung up. At this point,  I was wondering if this was his ex wife. Then I was like, what the entire fuck is going on right now.
And I was supposed to go on with selling cars?
Yeah. No. I was broken.
Seriously torn apart.
This was the plot twist in a romance novel that I had no desire to write. I'm like, this bastard was just at my house picking up his Christmas present. Had sent me roses, talking about "I love you." Where did this wife come from?
The next day, I sent a text — Oh, you're married now?
The response was stranger than fiction:
I don't know why I did this. But I'm not with them now.
Obviously, you are if she called me? Fuck you. You are dead to me now.

Next thing I knew, I was in the bottom of a vodka bottle ever night and forcing myself not to drive to his house and do harm to this enormous piece of shit.



Coming Feb. 1 

On the flip side of my personal hell, Rumor Has It, was becoming a hit. When I had military veterans praising the character of Jackson Franklin, I was able to focus on what had become the most important thing in my life — writing. I knew if I retreated into my world of fiction, I'd be just fine.

Then one Thursday in April, I was having lunch with my BFF and the news broke.
Prince Rogers Nelson had died.
Anyone who knows me, knows that Prince has inspired my clothing choices, how I write love scenes and so much more about my life — even how I pick my friends.

I just knew this was going to be the worst year ever. My heart was already broken and then PRINCE died. Prince.
I woke up that day and I knew I could no longer linger in the hurt that an asshole caused because something significant had happened.
Prince was gone.
My sorority sister took me to see Purple Rain on the big screen for the first time.
I realized that I didn't want to sell cars anymore.
And I knew that the one who broke my heart was not worth me killing my liver with vodka, fireball whiskey and apple crown.
I focused on things that mattered. Writing. Family. Me.
But,if I'm honest, I will admit that I messed up a lot of things along the way. I took out my heartbreak and anger on the people who loved me the most. For that, I'll be eternally sorry.
BUT, LIKE HAMILTON:
I wrote my way out!

I wrote about the love that I'd knew I would never receive. I even promised myself that I would never open myself to feelings again. But as they say,  when we plan, God laughs.
My professional life took off. And I realized that, I love love. How can I not?
My parents were married on Christmas Eve. If that isn't the most romantic love story ever, then I don't know what is.
I wasn't going to allow some asshole to make my heart shrink to the size of a pea when I grew up in the shadows of love.
So, as this harsh year ends,  I'm thankful to be alive and have and have chance to find a love of my own in the new year.
Happy New Year!