Monday, June 14, 2021


 Yesterday was a good day! I love book events. I'm also partial to book clubs because book club members are pure joy! Yesterday, I was honored to visit with the Round Table Readers Literary Book Club. It was their first post-pandemic, in-person book club meeting and my being able to pull up a chair to the table and talk books with them made my heart sing! It was also two years ago today that Round Table Readers also hosted me.

Their book choice had been STALKED BY SECRETS, the fourth book in my To Serve and Seduce series. They had great questions, challenged my thought process, and taught me a thing or two. They always hold me accountable with my stories and I try not to disappoint. The conversations were engaging and the laughter abundant. Of note, I've given up playing the trivia games. I never win and most leave me in the dust with the old school music and movie questions. It's amazing how much I don't know or remember!

I'm also a tad biased when it comes to these women. I consider myself an honorary member of Round Table Readers. I've often invited myself to their meetings to rub elbows with my fellow authors. They've generously included me in their activities and I've often said I need to start paying dues so I can get in on their cool tee shirts. They always have the coolest tee shirts!

These women have supported my writing for years now! I love them to pieces! My sincerest appreciation to Ms. Kay Edmundson who chose this month's book and Mr. LaSheera Lee for always having my back. Kudo's to the staff and patrons of da Vinci's Table for the great service, spectacular food, and wonderful entertainment. And a nod to God who showed up and showed out with the most spectacular weather and a potential blessing that no one saw coming!

Saturday, April 10, 2021


I love a good love story and my sister-author-friend Synithia Williams has done it once again with her newest Jackson Falls novel CARELESS WHISPERS. Anyone familiar with Synithia and Jackson Falls and the Robidoux family have been waiting with bated breath for Elaina Robidoux’s story and Synithia does not disappoint. She brings the sexy, the messy, and the drama to the pages making this a delightful, page turner that you will not want to put down. 

I asked Synithia about writing the romances she writes. 

“My life is pretty routine. I get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school (virtually currently), work a day job, prepare dinner in the evenings, and spend time with the family before bed. But, right before bed, I get to do something amazing. I sit down in front of my laptop and I get to write sexy, messy, romantic stories. I’m not surrounded by drama, lies, secrets, and glamours settings (my seven tiaras excluded) but I get to let my imagination run wild crafting stories that are full of heart, some humor, lots of drama, and plenty of heat.  

“My latest novel, Careless Whispers, is the fourth book in my Jackson Falls Series. A series that was inspired by my love of romance novels. In Careless Whispers Elaina Robidoux is suddenly ousted from her family’s business. A business she sacrificed so much for. To reestablish herself in the business world she has to work with the man who is partially to blame for her firing. Alex Tyson was once the bane of her existence, but as they work together, and Alex not only sees her vulnerable side but cherishes that part of her an unexpected love grows. I love my pretty routine life and wouldn’t voluntarily invite any of the drama I put in my stories into my day to day, but it sure is fun to explore the richness of human emotions and the beauty of falling in love through my writing.”

DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA! I get excited just thinking about it! But why don't I just give you a little tease so you can get excited too!

“This is the family’s room.”

She said the words as if he were a toddler encroaching upon a forbidden space. He supposed Elaina did view him as an unruly child. “That’s what he told me.” He stood and put out the cigar in the crystal ashtray next to the leather sofa.

When he looked back at Elaina, her eyes narrowed. Alex’s stomach did an unwelcome flip. He hated how much he was attracted to her. He’d rather be attracted to a man-eating succubus than Elaina. At least a succubus would take him out with a smile on his face. Elaina was not the type of woman to bring a smile to a man’s face.

She was beautiful. Her thick, wavy dark hair looked so damn soft. God was the only person who knew how many times he’d considered the softness of her hair, her smooth terra-cotta skin, or her full lips, and even then he’d deny it on judgment day. Her chestnut-brown eyes were bright and sparked with intelligence when they weren’t narrowed with skepticism or frozen over with disdain. Then there were her curves. The woman could make men stop in their tracks. He knew because he’d seen it happen. Full breasts, trim waist and rounded hips. He’d wanted to taste her luscious lips the second he’d seen her. Until she’d opened her mouth and told him all the reasons Robidoux Holdings didn’t need him.

He wasn’t sure why Elaina disliked him so much. Despite the rumors that he wanted the CEO position, he didn’t, and had made that very clear to Grant. A part of him was glad she openly despised him. Knowing he had absolutely zero chance with her made ignoring the way his body automatically reacted to her easier.

“There are other places you could have gone. Why did he let you up here?”

Alex wasn’t in the mood to argue. He also avoided being alone with her for too long to prevent any evidence of his crush from showing. If Elaina got a hint that he was attracted to her, she’d have his balls skinned and mounted on her wall like a trophy in no time.

“Ask him, Elaina,” he said in the blasé tone he used with her. “Your father invited me. I decided to come. I won’t be bothering you anymore.” He walked toward the door.

Elaina grunted softly. “I guess today’s the day I run men off.” The words were muttered under her breath.

Alex stopped at the door. Her hand shook as she brought her drink to her lips.

He frowned at the unusual display of a chink in her armor. Her words hadn’t been for him to hear, and he had no reason to find out what was wrong, but the slight slump of her shoulders tugged at an empathetic soft spot he hadn’t realized he possessed. “Are you okay?”

Her head whipped in his direction. Her eyes widened, and her arched brows drew together. “Of course I’m okay. Go down to the party and enjoy the free food.”

The coarseness of her words bristled. His hand tightened on the doorknob. He was ready to leave without another word, until the light glinted off the sheen of tears in her eyes. She looked away quickly and went further into the room.

Unsettled, Alex stared at her profile against the window. Elaina was a force to be reckoned with. If he made any reference to her tears, he might end up with his jugular ripped out. He didn’t have a clue what to say to lift her spirits. The two of them weren’t friends or cordial colleagues. Yet that newly discovered empathy wouldn’t let him leave without saying something.

“You did a great job on the party.”

She frowned at him. “What?”

“The party. I know you did most of the planning. From what I can tell, you did a great job.”

Her chin lifted. “It’s not that hard.”

“Still, I know your dad appreciates it.”

She sipped her drink. “Doubtful.”

“He does. But even if you don’t believe it, then know that I appreciate it.”

“Why would you appreciate it?” she asked suspiciously.

He thought about her earlier comment. “I like free food,” he said with a smile. Her mouth fell open. He’d at least succeeded in surprising her and taking away the sad look in her eyes. Alex hurried out the door before she could think of a snarky reply.

It's only a tease, but you get the idea! CARELESS WHISPERS is available wherever books are sold so go get your copy NOW! And please don't miss the other books in the Jackson Falls series. You'll be disappointed if you do.

Synithia has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural she would begin penning her own soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her dream of becoming a published author. She completed her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, in the fall of 2010 and sold it to Crimson Romance in 2012.

Her novel Making it Real was a USA Today Happily Ever After blog 2015 Must Read Romance and A Malibu Kind of Romance a 2017 RITA finalist. Synithia has also written two books under the pseudonym Nita Brooks.

When she isn’t writing, she works on water quality issues for local government while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons.

You can discover more about Synithia and her books HERE!

Tuesday, January 05, 2021


Let me preface this rant with an apology for my French. For those of you who are sensitive to bad language, I’m sorry, but sometimes I cuss and I wasn’t interested in watching my language for this post.

2021 is the year to deal with your shit! And I am saying that with my whole chest!

I had a conversation with a relative lately who was nasty for no other reason than she could be. No one has ever called her out on her nastiness. She low key attacks friends and family because she is broken and refuses to deal with her own shit, so assaulting loved ones has become her behavior du jour. Her husband endures most of her abuse. Most men would have gone out for a loaf of bread and stayed gone. But he continues to endure her tantrums and violent outbursts. To some degree he enables her bad behavior because he loves her and he wants to be there when things get better between them. I wish him well with that, but I don’t see it happening if she doesn’t start dealing with her shit.

This woman is blessed and she takes that for granted. Personally, I have neither the time, or the energy, to coddle her issues. I have my own damn problems to deal with. I’d go down the list if I thought it would give her something else to consider, but I know I’d be wasting my breath because in her small world everything is always about her.

With the New Year, it’s time for all of us to do some self-reflection. It’s time to take inventory of our needs and wants and assess what’s broken, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be discarded. Then we need to get to work. My relative refuses to even consider therapy. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her. Nothing that she can’t fix herself. But she would benefit from talking out her issues with a neutral party. Someone who isn’t going to agree with her just because she says they should. Someone who can see through her crap and who isn’t afraid to call her out on it. She needs to face the trauma she’s buried deep in the core of her psyche and begin the work to unpack the baggage she’s been lugging around like a favorite coat. She needs to do what we all need to do! She needs to heal by whatever means necessary!

But healing won’t come if one isn’t willing to put forth the effort. You can’t right what’s wrong when you refuse to ask for help. There’s no coming back from those dark places if you won’t even acknowledge that you’ve fallen down that rabbit hole and can’t find your way back. If you won’t look in the mirror and be honest about the monster you unleash on others to help you cope with your hurt.

It’s okay to be broken. It’s not okay to wave the shattered fragments of your pain around like a weapon. It’s also okay to not want help. It’s just not okay to expect that you can drag those who love you into your hell and they will stay and take it.

Clean away from your own doors this year instead of worrying about what others are doing behind theirs. Be the best version of yourself that you can be and if that means fighting for your sanity, then damn it, get in the mud and fight! Stop worrying about what others think or how things may look. Most folks are too focused on their own issues to truly care about yours. Besides, you acting like a damn fool in the middle of the night and smiling in the morning like no one will figure it out, rarely works. Someone always knows. Someone else is bound to see and personally, I’m not keeping your bad behavior a secret, so you can trust at least one person is going to tell.

Get it together. A well-lived life depends on it. And you can’t be whole if you are investing all your energy in being angry and hostile and a miserable bitch to the very people who are least deserving of it.

So, please, deal with your shit!

Friday, January 01, 2021


Baby New Year, hello! And Happy Birthday!

Let me forewarn you, this isn’t your typical welcome and hello letter. I usually save my end of the year rants for Santa Claus, but I gave him a break this time. I’m sure he was inundated with Santa letters this year with the needs list for many being astronomical. After the year we’ve all had I knew he probably couldn’t handle much more bitching and complaining. Not that I ever bitch or complain. Except maybe about that pony he never did deliver, but I digress.

We are all in a weird space right now and the pressure on your shoulders to get the new year back on track would break the best of us. You don’t have that option. To be blunt, if you screw up, we will come for you. Your predecessor blew it big time, in unfathomable fashion. Hell, all you really need to do now is stand still, keep quiet and not break anything to do a better job than he did. Seriously, no fast moves or loud noises are allowed this year.

We desperately need some peace and quiet. Just a few moments of stillness where we can hear ourselves think. We need to be able to breathe without fear, with or without a mask. Our losses in 2020 have been monumental. I have had to grieve so much that I don’t know how to grieve anymore. Bad news comes and I can’t shed a single tear. I’m completely numb and I have no plans to spend the next twelve months feeling as though I need to keep building walls to protect my heart.

So, the onus is on you to get it right. You’re allowed baby steps for a few minutes. Maybe even a day or two, but then we need you to dig in your heels and get moving. Your learning curve is going to be short and sweet. It’s a lot, I know, but I have faith that you can do it! Many of us will be cheering you on. If you have questions, ask us, not the last guy. We’ve kicked 2020 to the curb. He’s come and gone and couldn’t give advice to a tick on his ass if he needed to. I know the work you have ahead of you is monumental, but the challenge is here to make you stronger, not break you.

But understand, failure is not an option. We’ve had more than our fair share. Our politicians have failed us. Our governments have failed us. Sadly, even friends and family completely blew it this year so we can’t take anyone else falling down on the job and getting it wrong. Most especially the new guy. You’ve got a clean slate. No excess baggage and more importantly, you’ve been warned! It’s not often that we call out the last guy and his screw ups. Usually, we let you figure it out for yourself. We can’t risk it this go-round.

So, welcome, baby! We’re done cooing at you and tickling your chubby cheeks and I’m sure that was good while it lasted. Now, we’re giving you a little nudge out the nest; okay, maybe it’s a swift kick, but I know you understand. Get it cracking, kid, and please know, I’ll be praying daily for your success!

And please, tell Santa I’ll catch up with him later in the year. We’re good with that pony but I’m going to need him to step up his game this Christmas!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020


We bring our family home to die. I used to think it was only a Southern thing because it was only in the South where I saw that done.

Today, we will bury a family patriarch. Two weeks ago, we brought him home from the hospital to die. We knew his time was coming to an end. Doctors and nurses had told us so. But we still held out hope that once he was home, under the loving care of family, that his condition would turn around and our beloved Papa Mook would be his cantankerous self again. That he would go back to loving on his “sweet, sweet girls” and finding fault with the sons who never learned how to sharpen a knife properly. God’s plans were not his family’s plans.

Sitting hospice is never an easy thing to do. You worry over the little things. A raspy cough will make your heart race. You worry for their comfort and pain and the things they can no longer convey to you with their words. You count your loved one’s every breath. You sit and you wait for the inevitable and you pray that you are not there alone when they take that last inhale of air. His eldest son and his youngest daughter were with him in the end.

There was an abundance of love that surrounded him. Energy that flooded the space. His family sat vigilant, everyone taking turns to pull their weight to the best of their ability. Laughter would ring from room to room. Sometimes, tears would, too. The princesses would don their masks to go “check” on him throughout the day. One remarked that she liked to sit with him and the angels who had come to visit, too. Their Papa Mook was much loved!

Walter Wesley Woody Sr. was a man of many layers. He was set in his ways and he would not be moved from his convictions. He took pride in his name and what that represented. He was honored that his eldest son and grandson also carried the same moniker. He was a talented musician who could wield his way around a guitar with the best of the best. He was a master carpenter with skills others envied. Sadly, the circumstances of being a black man in the racially-charged South kept him from realizing the full potential of his talents.

He was a man of modest means, but he lived his life abundantly. He had no regrets, owning every aspect of the life he lived. He was an amazing grandfather and great-grandfather. He loved to take the children fishing when he was able. He told them stories with lessons they may not understand until they are adults themselves. He laughed with his grandsons over their girlfriend problems. He whispered secrets they will all hold until the end of time. Our pretty princesses, his sweet sweet girls, were one of his greatest joys. 

I was always in awe of how he remembered dates, times, and places with the recall as if he were telling you what he’d had for breakfast that morning. He was a walking history book and what he may have lacked in formal education, he more than made up for with common sense. His impact in the lives of his family will be passed down for generations to come. Not even they realize yet how monumental his experiences will be on their future. He was a giant among men, and he didn’t even know it.

Walter Wesley Woody Sr., age 80, transitioned to eternal rest on December 23, 2020. Papa Mook will be missed.

Sunday, November 01, 2020


The state of North Carolina has become a coveted battleground state for the 2020 Presidential election. Depending how the voting numbers inevitably fall could make or break either one of the candidates. This election will also show the world what North Carolina is made of; what we value, and what North Carolinians would like to see for themselves and their bretheren moving forward. Good or bad, this election will say much about the people who live here.

I have deep roots in North Carolina. My father was born and raised here. It was my grandparent’s home. My ancestors were enslaved in this state. The racial climate was why my father fled North Carolina. He’d been fourteen the first time he was picked up and held by Durham police. He’d been walking home from the local golf club where he had worked a summer job caddying for the club’s wealthy, white members. He’d made two dollars that day and was excited to take his earnings home to his mother. It brought him joy to feel like he could contribute to the home and help his family.

For three days he sat in a jail cell, no one knowing where he was. When they found him, they were never told why he was being held. One of the officers stole his two dollars, telling him he’d have no use for it where he was going. He was eventually released, never charged, and no one apologized for their actions. He was admonished to remember his place and he was called the N-word as if it were his name. It would not be the last time the local authorities harassed him for no reason. He learned early that being a black male in the South could easily be a detriment to his health.

A year later, at the age of fifteen, he enlisted in the US Army. He lied about his age and his mother signed the papers for him to go. Both he and my grandmother believed he would be safer with Uncle Sam. Military service took him to Germany where he learned a language and a trade. When he returned to the states, he headed north, landing in Connecticut where he met and married my mother. She had been a transplant from South Carolina herself and they bonded over their southern roots.

My father left North Carolina in his rearview mirror, returning only for funerals, the occasional wedding, and holidays to visit with elderly relatives who had stayed. Despite his misgivings about North Carolina, the decision to return after retirement was an easy one. He was a self-made man, financially solvent, with adult children. He was able to pay cash for his expansive home and has been able to enjoy the fruits of his labors.

When I announced my decision to move to North Carolina my father wasn’t overly encouraging. I had a young son and he worried for us in a way that was disconcerting. To some degree I’d lived a sheltered life. Raised in a middle class, predominately white community, I had no true sense of the racism my daddy had endured as a child. What I had faced had been whole-heartedly different, not as overt or as caustic. No one had dared called me the N-word to my face. I didn’t know how to prepare for what I might be walking into.

My first home was in a wonderful neighborhood out in the country. It was a small town that I instantly loved, affording us a sense of community where a little boy could run and play and have no fear. I could not have been happier. I’d rented my home blind, a family friend doing the walk through with the landlord and taking photographs for me to see. I still remember the landlord’s surprise when he discovered I was a black woman married to man who was perceived to be white. But we came with cash and green has always been bigger than black or white has ever been. He did, however, forewarn us to be mindful of our neighbor, saying he was racist and didn’t take kindly to interracial relationships.

Duly frightened, I was mindful to make sure Son-shine stayed clear of that side of the road and I didn’t go out of my way to be a nice neighbor. A dog named Jaxx changed that. He was a massive Rottweiler who loved to explore with his boy. The two would disappear into the woods behind our property for hours on end. Then one day, Jaxx took off next door to explore. Son-shine chased after him and I chased after them both. I apologized profusely as the dog and his boy both climbed the front porch to sit beside the homeowners. Minutes later, the dog was chewing on a bone, Son-shine had a plate of fresh baked cookies and we had made new friends. It would be many months later when I would share with them what had been said, kicking myself for believing what I hadn’t bothered to learn for myself.

North Carolina became home and I have been glad for it. I’ve grown here. I’ve watched my son become a man here. I left a toxic relationship behind, and I found love here. North Carolina has been more good than it has been bad. But never before have I seen the wealth of racism here that has reared its head over the last four years. Neighbors have turned on neighbors, strangers are ugly to each other, and more times than not race is centered around the conflicts. I fear for my black son, my black husband, and I understand that this fear is what moved my grandmother to think it safer to send her fifteen year old son to the military during a time of war than keep him home in a state that did not value his black life.

I worry that North Carolina will not rise above the fray. I fear the hatred that is suddenly running amuck will be validated if the state remains polarized. I don’t trust that  the voices of reason have been heard over the chatter of insanity that’s become so prevalent. I’m scared that this state will cease to be home to many of us who have loved it here. But mostly, I worry that North Carolina will soon be a battleground for far more than this election.

Saturday, September 12, 2020



My best friend in the whole wide world buried her beloved mother today. I thought about my dear friend this morning, breathing as I would have admonished her to do had I been there. Praying as I would have prayed with her if I could have been by her side. But I wasn’t there. Unable to make the trip for too many reasons to count. Feeling lost as I imagined the hurt that she was dealing with. Feeling useless as I went through a seemingly normal routine just to get through the day. It felt foreign to me. My friend is the sister of my heart and in all of our many years together there has never been a time when we were not there in body and spirit to support each other through a hard time. Finding solace and comfort in a friendship that has endured and nurtured us when we needed it most. I had been there when her father passed, never leaving her side until well after he was laid to rest. My friend was with me when I lost my son, coming on the first flight when I called to tell her he was gone. Not being physically there to support her was a knife to my heart like I had not felt in a very long time. 

I have fond memories of her mother, the woman who many times mothered me alongside her own daughter. Memories of time spent in her home when I went there for play dates as a child and when I just showed up at her door as a teen. Memories of our parents together and a lifelong friendship that nurtured and supported us. Memories of her admonishments for us to do and be better because she was watching, always having a maternal eye on our doings. Memories of our road trips to Seton Hall University to visit my bestie when she was away at school and had taken up residence in New Jersey. Memories of conversations that challenged my beliefs and sometimes gave me pause. I’ve got good memories!

When life took a turn and it looked like my future was nose-diving South, it was her mother who sought me out, sitting down with me to make sure I was well. When I cried, she patted my hand and doled out maternal advice that I still follow to this day. When I began to write, she encouraged me, supporting my endeavors although she was very vocal about preferring my literary work over my romance. It was only a few short years ago that she indulged in those “sexy” stories, laughing heartily when we teased her about it.

She was regal in stature and exemplified what a well-lived life should look like. She traveled, was well-read and passionate about those things that were important to her. Most particularly her daughter. She was the epitome of grace, with a gentle spirit and a magnanimous heart. She could also be stern, was highly disciplined, and not a woman you wanted to cross.

I was not there to say goodbye. Not there to hold my friend’s hand as she laid her mother to rest. But I prayed. And I held tight to the many memories we shared.

My sincerest condolences to the Thomas family. Sending light and love to my sister, Angela Thomas Graves and my brother, Gregory Graves.

Louise Williams Thomas, you will be missed!