Wednesday, November 14, 2018

COMING MARCH 1, 2019!

TEMPTED BY THE BADGE
Book 2 in the To Serve and Seduce Series
Former Chicago cop Mingus Black is used to liars. So why does the private investigator believe a teacher who insists she’s being framed? Joanna Barnes is totally convincing…in more ways than one. The chemistry between Mingus and Joanna becomes perilously potent, but until he can find out who framed her for a heinous crime, everything they love hangs in the balance.

Monday, November 12, 2018

BE SCARED, BUT BE PREPARED

In 1918 Mary Turner, a young, married black woman and mother of two was lynched by a white mob in Lowndes County, Georgia, for protesting the lynching and murder of her husband. Mary Turner, who was eight months pregnant, was tied and hung upside down by the ankles, her clothes soaked with gasoline, and burned from her body. Her belly was slit open with a knife until her unborn child fell to the ground. Its little head was crushed by a member of the mob with his heel, and the crowd shot hundreds of bullets into Mary's body. Racially motivated mob violence by whites against black people in the American South was commonplace between 1880 and 1930, the lives of thousands of individuals including at least 159 women, lost.
When I first read about Mary Turner it sent me searching for more information. I became obsessed with the horrid details, unable to comprehend that level of cruelty. I wondered about the white men and women who stood by and did nothing, their glee captured in photographic images for posterity. White mothers and fathers who encouraged their little white children to watch because murdering a black man or woman was simply sport, as easy as stomping out an ant crossing the floor. They posed for pictures beside the dead bodies. They postured for friends and family and laughed as if they were celebrating a holiday. Who were these people? How did they lose their humanity? What did they gain in exchange for their souls?
Recently, Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Mississippi senator who faces a runoff against an African-American opponent, joked that if invited, she’d gladly take a front row seat at a public hanging. Her comment was met with applause and cheers. When criticized, she insisted there was nothing negative about her remark.
There was a time I couldn’t begin to imagine people who could be so callous. I believed things were different, that the fight for civil rights had served us well. I trusted that lessons had been learned and time had taught all of us a new normal. Like so many others, I was wrong. Racism is alive and well, rearing its ugly head with impunity. Racists have become emboldened by a political party who have abandoned the American people for their own selfish gain. Some white neighbors would sooner slit black throats now than wave and smile. They put brown babies in cages and criminalize parents who only want a better life for those they love. They build walls to keep migrants from crossing the border while white men use churches and night clubs for target practice. They claim one is a threat to national security and defend the other with excuse after excuse. They rage about making America great again when what they aspire to will take America back to a dark place of hatred for and violence against those they consider inferior and unworthy of their American dream.
We should all be scared. The devil is busy in ways that were once unfathomable. We make memes about white women who are offended by black people living their best lives when nothing about their threats is funny. We dismiss politicians who have thrown civility to the wind. Misogyny is trendy, sexism acceptable, and they vilify victims for ratings. Suddenly, bad behavior is encouraged in favor of a greater good that has nothing at all to do with being great. They speak their truth, no matter how vile, and then call it a joke if publicly shamed.
We should all be afraid. There aren’t enough of us standing up for what’s right. Leadership is slim and shaky. Only a few are willing to get into the fight and get dirty. We are failing the masses and our children and grandchildren will suffer most for our shortcomings.
The jokes aren’t funny. Those same grinning faces captured in our past have become the smirking faces in our classrooms teaching our children. They sit on juries and empower police who shoot down unarmed fathers and sons. They prepare the food in your favorite restaurants and clerk in your stores. They live next door and around the corner. The very thought of sitting on the front row as a life is swinging away in the wind excites them and fuels their fight to widen the divide. They’ve come out of hiding and now rule in the White House. 
We should be very afraid. But we should also be prepared to fight for what is right and good and decent in this world.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

WHAT DO MEN TELL THEIR DAUGHTERS?



I often wonder what men who assault women tell their daughters. What do they say about their convictions or allegations of improprieties? How do they forewarn them about predators? Do they even caution them against men who prey?
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of pinning a young woman to a bed, groping her and covering her mouth when she screamed. Allegedly, there was alcohol involved. He was a seventeen-year old student. The girl was fifteen. The GOP would like to brush the allegations aside, seemingly inconvenienced by the timing of the revelation. Many have called her a liar. Some have said they don’t care, party priorities more important than morality. Even their Commander-in-Chief saw fit to castigate the now adult woman’s integrity.
Brett Kavanaugh has two daughters. The very public debate about his alleged actions, about rape culture in America, about the dynamics of women who say no and men who do anyway, has surely invoked questions and conversation in his home. So, what does he say? What will he say when they are older and there is greater understanding?
I have no doubts they’ve been told daddy didn’t do what people have said he did. But what does he tell them about men capable of doing such things? How will he warn them? What will he teach them about protecting themselves from boys who won’t take no for an answer? How will he justify a young man's bad behavior when drunk at a high school party? More importantly, what does he tell them about a girl telling? About women who report the crimes committed against them? Will he prepare them for the shitstorm that follows a female who speaks her truth? Or will all of this continue to perpetuate the cycle of silence that has enveloped women since the beginning of time? Will they grow up to be women shamed into silence and continually haunted by memories of an experience they couldn’t trust anyone to believe?
Men rape women. Men molest girls. Men kill females. Men routinely victimize women. And, NOT all men. There are good, decent men in this world. Men who are protective and caring. But even a few of those men will fall into line to protect their brethren. It’s what they do. It’s what they know. That good-old-boy network has already amassed, collectively ready to defend Brett Kavanaugh, even if they have doubts. Even if they know the truth and the truth may not mesh with their political agenda. Like they did with Donald Trump, and with so many others. They will defend locker room banter and proclaim it okay when boys are just being boys. They will chomp at the bit to call a woman a whore and proclaim her a liar to protect their status quo. Or they will remain silent, voices barely raised to call another man out on his bullshit. They will loudly proclaim a woman the enemy to preserve their boy’s club. 
So, how do men explain themselves and their actions? What do they say to justify another man's moral turpitude? What do they say to their mothers? Their wives? What do these men tell their daughters? And just as important, what are they teaching their sons?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

IT'S RELEASE DAY!


It's RELEASE DAY for the paperback version of my newest book A STALLION DREAM! It is also my last Kimani Romance! First week sales are critical to its success, so PLEASE, support it by buying a copy if you can. And get one for a friend! You won't be disappointed!
And there's still time to PRE-ORDER the Ebook version coming September 1st! PLEASE and THANK YOU!
A STALLION DREAM - It's time for a great read!


Thursday, August 02, 2018

BEING BLACK 2.0

Two years ago I felt compelled to write a post about being a black woman, and a writer. It was in response to a white reader who was offended that I was breathing. Two years have passed and sadly, little has changed. I still get the occasional hate message questioning what makes me so damn special although it's not necessarily worded in a positive manner. Since it's Throwback Thursday and almost two years to the day of my original post I thought I'd repost it. I have new fans who don't really know me or haven't heard my story. This will be an introduction of sorts. Insight into how I tick and how I won't roll. So sit back and enjoy! And if you're inclined, explore my blog a little. I'm sure you'll find something entertaining!

BEING BLACK - Originally posted 8/4/16

I received an email from someone who wanted to know who I thought I was. There were some expletives and the N-word was used a time or two. Seems something I wrote struck a sensitive nerve and she doesn't plan to ever read any of my books. Ever. But since she asked, I thought I'd tell her about myself. Rather than send her back to an original post I wrote once a long time ago I thought I'd just rehash it again for those who might be finding me for the first time.

I wrote once before about a friend who thinks it is the funniest thing that I never drank Kool-Aid until I was well into my teens. Every time the subject comes up he is rolling on the floor with laughter. I can’t help but laugh myself because what family back in the day didn’t raise their children on Kool-Aid? Well, mine didn’t.

My first experience with Kool-Aid was at a cousin’s house during a summer break. I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to make a full pitcher of drink from that little packet of colored powder and a bucket load of granulated sugar! When I returned home and shared the experience with my mother she looked at me like I’d told her we’d built an atomic bomb out of shoe leather and toothpaste. She was not amused and it was many years later, after her first grandson was born, that she finally broke down and allowed Kool-Aid into her home. It was also that presweetened variety as well, not the little flavor packets that you could sweeten yourself.

My dear friend laughed himself silly when I told him I’d also never eaten canned vegetables, potted meat, Vienna sausages, or government cheese either. Not that he could talk because he never ate grits. I mean really, how many Southern Baptist black children do you know that didn’t grow up eating grits? I know I ate me some grits and I wasn’t Southern or Baptist!

I was raised in an extremely white, middle class neighborhood in very wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut. My friends were kids who got BMW’s for their first communion and Mercedes Benz’s for their bar mitzvah’s. My mother shopped at Lord and Taylors and Bloomingdales, and I’d be the first to say that I grew up privileged, prissy and just a tad pretentious.

Ours was the first of four black families to integrate the neighborhood and until fifth grade there were only two black students in the elementary school I attended. We attended the AME church on the other side of town and I spent my summers on my grandparent’s South Carolina farm where I learned to pick cotton and eat watermelon right off the vine.

Growing up, I was an anomaly. I wasn’t blonde or blue-eyed, my mother wasn’t a stay-at-home Mom, and my father worked three jobs and none of them were on Wall Street. During my fifth grade year bussing became en vogue and suddenly there were other black kids filling up the classrooms. That’s when I discovered just how different I truly was. I didn’t feel different or look different but to everyone else I was suddenly too white to be black and too black to be white. I was called Oreo, half-n-half, high yeller, wannabe, jigaboo, and a host of other expletives more than I was called by my name. It wasn’t pretty, left me traumatized and would have made for great afternoon fodder on Oprah's sofa.

I’ve had to deal with issues of race most of my life. The environment I was raised in called it into question on a daily basis. I was either treated differently because the color of my skin was different, or I was treated differently because I spoke and behaved differently. Out of sheer necessity I learned early how to walk in two very different worlds but I was never made to feel welcome or comfortable in either.

Fast forward a few years and I married and divorced a biracial man of white and Portuguese parentage straddling his own fence. He still doesn’t have a clue where he falls on the color wheel. Our children are an amalgamation of many ethnicities and they could care less. Depending on the mood of the moment they’ve been known to check either the "black" box, the "white" box or the "other" box proudly, not having a clue what color their Kool-Aid should be. They listen to rap, classical and hard rock, eat chitlin’s, pizza, and Puerco guisado, and genuinely can’t understand what all the hoopla is about race and why people fear it so.

When I was first called about my very first manuscript, the editor at the time spoke to me on the telephone for a good fifteen minutes about my book. The conversation was curious at best and then she asked if I would please email her a picture of myself. I thought it a pretty strange request but hey, a real publisher was interested in my writing so I was ready to send as many photos as she wanted. Ten minutes after she received the email I received my second CALL and an offer to purchase my book. I later understood that they wanted to be sure I was what I claimed to be, a black woman who'd written a black romance. Apparently that didn’t come across over the telephone line.

I have no doubts that the majority of my readers are black women. Interestingly though, I had a book signing once where I sold a lot of books. Only one of the fans who came to see me was a black woman. Most of the books sold were purchased by non-black readers, male and female. I thought for just a brief second that there was actually some progress being made and then one elderly “fan” felt compelled to expound on what she thought about me and my writing. The praises were plentiful and complementary and then she leaned in, her hand pressed against my shoulder and said, “I really do like your writing. And it’s not like you’re really black, dear.”

As a black author published in the romance genre I find myself once again straddling a fence where I understand that I’m not necessarily welcome nor is there any concern that I’m comfortable. I’m discovering that to write what I want to write I will clearly have to walk in two very different worlds or make the conscious decision not to be published at all.

I wish I could be as dismissive about race as my children but I can’t. My race has a major impact on where my books are shelved in the stores, if they’re carried in certain bookstores at all, and whether or not I can even get a book deal. My race impacts how I see myself in others, when the media, movies, and books depict black women as being less than we are; somehow flawed and undeserving. My race is why random strangers think they can call me a nigger and get away with it simply because I called out the publishing industry to just do better when it comes to diversity in books.

I’m not blonde this week and since my last blonde disaster I doubt highly that me and Miss Clairol will be trying that ever again. I’ll never be blue-eyed and there is no longer anything prissy, privileged or pretentious about me. I am, however, one hell of a force to be reckoned with.

And more importantly, I’m a damn good writer no matter what I happen to be writing about. I’ve got a lot of storytelling in me and just like my Kool-Aid, the flavor I tell them in will be however I choose. I am a thing of beauty. A joy. A strength. And like my Kool-Aid, a secret cup of gladness. That's who I am. And since I don’t plan to go anywhere any time soon, you really should pull up a seat, grab yourself a glass, and join me. Otherwise, you're going to miss out on something amazing!  

And just to be sure we understand each other, if you call me a black bitch again, I may very well show you one, and my being black won't have anything to do with what I unleash.

Monday, July 02, 2018

AllAUTHOR COVER OF THE MONTH CONTEST


If you liked the cover of my book,
Brawn (A One Love Short Story), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!




Click to Vote!

Monday, June 18, 2018

BE WARNED



Our current President and his administration lie. They lie with a voracity that is absolutely mind-boggling. If he can say his is bigger, better, and brighter he could care less whether there is any truth to his declarations. He will never acknowledge his shortcomings and will readily lay the blame for his transgressions at the feet of Jesus if he thinks it will keep him in favor with his political base.
He is determined to give those who voted for him a wall. A miles-long continuum of brick, mortar, and armed guards intended to keep out the black and brown-skinned people he, and others, believe are a threat to the great white way of America. He has no understanding why there has been obstruction, that thus far, has kept that wall from rising.
History has clearly taught 45 nothing. But then one must know history to learn from it. There is no understanding of why walls don’t work and most inevitably come down. He cannot comprehend the reasons for rebellion when people are oppressed. He despises the dissent against his core beliefs and readily rails against those who show disdain for him. In his heart, the Klan and white supremacists are good people and immigrants are animals who hail from shit-hole countries. He has closed the door to those seeking refuge, aspiring to the American dream on which this land was founded. He lauds foreign leaders who are equally as narcissistic and wants HIS people to bow to his will.
Now he is holding children hostage in the name of political gain. He has no qualms about using little brown boys and girls as pawns for immigration reform. Give him his wall and he might give these babies back to their mothers and fathers. He is reprehensible and though he would like to claim they are only following the laws established by the Democrats, that has been proven to be yet another blatant lie. He digs in his heels because he will have that wall at the expense of people he could care little about. He is cold, heartless, lacks integrity, is an international joke, and an abomination to the American people. 
Every sitting member of the United States Congress should be warned. Your silence makes you just as culpable. Your defense of this heinous practice is inexcusable. Your blatant refusal to do anything is beyond vile. If you are waiting to see what your brethren will do instead of leading the charge to stop this and insure every child is returned to their families, you are even more despicable. Do not ever preach family values when your own moral turpitude reeks of elitism, racism, and apathy. If picking on innocent children, whose parents only wanted better for them, is okay with you, then you will reap what you sow. If you pick and choose Biblical tenets to justify babies being caged and treated like cattle, you too, are as evil, and hell will gladly welcome you.
Know that voters will not forget come election time. There are scores of women and men, and mothers and fathers, from both sides of the aisle, who will use their disgust for this administration, to fuel the fight for significant change. Come hell or high water we will return integrity and decency to our government. We will be represented by people who will fight for the best interests of the people and not the personal agendas of a select few. If you have lost our respect you will lose our vote. And it is the American people you should fear far more than the Commander-in-Chief.
Be warned.  If you don't do what's right, we will see you unseated if it’s the last thing we do.