Friday, February 10, 2017

WELCOME, BOOK DOLL!


I'm very excited to introduce and welcome BOOK DOLL to my blog today. BOOK DOLL recently burst on the literary scene as the side kick to renowned author, Cheris Hodges. BOOK DOLL has been a bit of a mystery to many, but her growing popularity is quickly making her the next media sensation! I am pleased that she so kindly granted me this interview!



BOOK DOLL, welcome, and thank you for taking the time to talk to me.



Hi. Thanks for having me.



Tell my readers a little about yourself with five words that embody the essence of who you are.



Reading is everything to me.

What are you reading right now? And do you have a favorite genre?



My favorite genre is romance, of course. I get to read all the hot new releases because my bestie, Cheris Hodges, loves to buy books but never has time to read them. Right now, I’m reading SynithiaWilliams’s Full Court Seduction.

If you had a super power what would it be and why?



I would want all the powers of Wonder Woman and the other Amazons. Kicking butt and taking names in my underwear, it gets no better.

We know you and author Cheris Hodges have a wonderful friendship. Cheris' recent release, FEEL THE HEAT, has gotten rave reviews and is one of my all-time favorites. Can you spill some tea and tell us what quirk(s) she has that really just annoys you? Well, Cheris is going to be Cheris. She is blunt and a little cray-cray. But don’t you have to be that way to be a good writer? You know what’s super weird about her though, she drinks coffee in the middle of the night and still goes to sleep.

Have you ever been in trouble with the police?



No comment. You haven’t seen my mug shot, have you? (Looks down at phone and presses lawyer’s contact info).

We all love a good romance, so are you dating right now? Is there a special BOOK GUY or GAL in your life?

I’m not dating right now, but I have a huge crush on Mr. Harris, the Original Travel Animal, an international Monkey of Mystery, known simply as Mr. Harris. Your gorilla guide to the best spots to swing into or hang out! But I don’t think he knows I exist. He doesn’t even follow me on Twitter! 

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

Nah, I like reading more than I like writing. I’ll leave that to people like you, Cheris and all the other fabulous writers I got to hang out with in Destin.

What can we expect from you this year?
I might start a blog. But right now, I’ve got to get a handle on Twitter (get it) lol! And make sure Cheris meets her deadlines and organizes her life. Make sure you follow me on Twitter, @bookdahl17, Book Doll the Instagram feed is coming soon.
Thank you so much, BOOK DOLL, for visiting with me today.

(Waves and scurries off with one of my books tucked under her arm. I wonder what that was all about?)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

#HARLEQUINSECRETVALENTINE

Enter to win a copy of my upcoming release
A PLEASING TEMPTATION and a surprise copy
of one of my favorite romances
from one of my favorite romance authors!
Can you say HOT, HOT, HOT!!




Wednesday, February 01, 2017

ADVERTISING AND PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

THE DEADLINE FOR PURCHASING ANY ADVERTISING OR PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS YEAR'S DIAMOND LITERARY TEA PARTY
AND DEBORAH'S DIAMOND GALA
IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA IS APRIL 28, 2017.
NO EXCEPTIONS! FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED!


Monday, January 30, 2017

WE THE PEOPLE...SHOULD BE AFRAID



With the election now over and the transfer of power, it feels as if we the people have been snatched from the pan and thrown headfirst into the fire. The months prior to the election were contentious enough, sullied with vulgar, repugnant behavior that had absolutely nothing to do with the issues. It severed friendships, caused rifts between family members, perpetuated stereotypes, instilled fear and left our nation severely battered and bruised.
Barely a week into the new regime and it feels as if the silent war being waged against we the people has now escalated to a new high. Truth and integrity are things of the past, no longer relevant when alternative facts and bold-faced lies are shared like air. There are a few who still hope with time that it will get better, some who simply don’t care, others demanding we give chances they themselves adamantly refused to reciprocate. And many more still reeling from the devastation and unwilling to sit idly by and not do something. Anything.
I listened today as a man argued that the perceived Muslim-ban effected this past Friday will help to secure our borders and make us safe from terrorists who intend to do us harm. He insisted that the proposed wall between the United States and Mexico will keep illegal immigrants from trespassing where they do not belong. He actually said it would “stop parasites” from “sucking up our natural resources”. His words. Not mine.
He wasn’t interested in the facts. Didn’t care that 85% of the terror perpetuated on American soil thus far has been committed by American citizens, most of them white and male. For him, that was different and not a cause for concern. After all, in his small world, only people of color worldwide are capable of inflicting pain against good, decent human beings. The KKK and other white nationalist groups are no more dangerous than your local book club, and the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Dylann Roof, James Eagan Holmes, and Jared Loughner are just good ole’ boys afflicted with mental illness. He didn’t attack their upbringing, castigate their parents, or proclaim them thugs as he excused their behavior. He wasn’t as kind to Trevon Martin, Eric Garner or twelve-year-old Tamir Rice as he vilified them for simply being black, and breathing. He professed that the people, people like him, had spoken and the rest of us needed to get over it. He was moderately educated but had never stepped foot outside of his small town and admitted that he had never ever met, much less talked to, someone not like him. Listening to this man rant nonsensically, I was reminded of a cartoon I once saw, with the punchline that you can’t explain poetry to someone who doesn’t understand English. I’m sure it was one of many one-sided conversations that are being debated around the world, people digging in their heels as they take sides. Many hearing, but not listening; understanding but not caring.
I’m glad he now feels safe. I’m excited that someone does. Because I don’t. I don’t feel safe at all. I feel conflicted and tense and deeply depressed, unable to hope for the best as I prepare for the worse. We have watched politicians pander to fear as they try to normalize racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic behavior. Leaders who stand idly by and say nothing at all as healthcare is swept by the wayside, free speech is impugned, and women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, our civil liberties and the doctrines of our Constitution are maligned with the sweep of a pen and 140 Twitter characters.
Core values, on which our country was founded, are now trounced on daily, the scrapings beneath an Alt-Right shoe with no concern for the consequences. Seriously bad behavior is cheered in the name of God and good Christian-values. But there is nothing Christ-like about any of it. The tenets of compassion and tolerance are being ignored. Love doesn’t exist as neighbors stand at arm’s length and eye each other with a wary stare. And let’s be honest, none of it is what Jesus would do. The God I serve surely cannot approve.
Everything I once held near and dear, that I trusted and depended on, feels lost to me. We the people are now a divided nation of haves and have nots, those favored and those unwanted, the privileged and the forsaken. Making America Great Again has become a battle cry to divide, conquer, and piss on the spirits of our ancestors who fought, bled, and gave their lives for all of us to have and do better.
We the people suddenly don’t matter. We the people are expendable for the greater good of a demagogue’s monarchy. We the people must now fight, tooth and nail, to keep from drowning in the sewage suddenly flowing down from the top. We the people are truly not safe as they come for the Mexicans, and the Muslims, and whoever else might be next on the list because of their race or religion or their refusal to tow the party line. We the people have every right to be very afraid. We see daily that we are being attacked and persecuted and hunted. Told to “shut up”, “get in line”, “or else”.
All of us, on this side of the wall, should be very afraid.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

OUR AMERICAN PRESIDENT



President Barack Obama said farewell to the nation tonight. First Lady Michelle wore black. I felt like we were at a beloved family member’s memorial service. From start to finish, saying goodbye, was gut-wrenching. Like many, I wept like a baby.

I remember when he announced his candidacy, my beloved grandmother shifting forward in her seat to get a better view of him as she watched CNN. There was a hint of doubt in her eyes, that a black man could even imagine himself being the leader of the free world. I remember her joy, as she shook with excitement, tears streaming down her face, when he was elected President.

From the very beginning he carried himself with a quiet dignity that few others have been able to mimic. He personified the best this world had to offer and for many, to see that embodied in a male with brown skin, kinky hair, and a non-traditional name went against everything they deemed American.

For the past eight years he has demonstrated immeasurable grace under fire. He was challenged, stalled and disrespected at every turn and even now, as he prepares to exit the White House, too many are ready to dismantle the hard work he fought tooth and nail for, too quick to discredit the legacy he leaves behind.

We fell in love with him. We loved how he was so in love with his beautiful wife. How he adored his precious daughters. We were privileged that they were so open, welcoming us into their lives without hesitation. How they embraced us and allowed their family to be our family.

He leaves with more hope for this country than we may deserve. He has faith in our success that few others can fathom. Even as the masses are bemoaning what’s to come he believes in the greater good. He believes in we the people. He still trusts the ideology of democracy and the red, white and blue that waves in welcome to all. He is the best of the best. He was a true American President. And he was ours.

We miss him already.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

HOW TO GET THERE



I didn’t bother with my Santa letter this year. There was nothing I wanted to ask the jolly guy that I haven’t already asked for before. Nothing that he hasn’t already heard from most of us. And I knew he had his hands full. This year has been a bear. 2016 came in hard, body-slammed most of us and seems determined to kick us while we’re down as it heads out. But 2016 be damned. I’ll be happy to see it slide right on out of here and I don’t need to wave goodbye or wish it well.
Disappointment has been the benchmark for most of my goals this past year. I accept full responsibility for that because I've not been good about doing everything I know I needed to do to be successful. The writing took a turn that felt like I’d been sucker punched. Family issues had me reeling over and over again. I’ve been struggling both professionally and personally and I was past ready to be done and finished with it all.
Just when I was ready to toss in a multitude of towels, there was a shift in the atmosphere. The sun and the moon aligned just so and everything suddenly changed. Blessings were abundant, coming when I least expected them. Prayer worked more than one miracle and there was much I had to be grateful for.
So why am I still so unhappy? Why am I constantly angry? Because discontent is rearing an ugly head and I can’t begin to explain or even understand why I can’t get past whatever is consuming me. But I’m frustrated and tense and constantly uneasy about the simplest things. It’s wearing me down and somehow, some way, I need to figure out how to throw it onto the sinking ship that has been this year. Because I need 2017 to be better.
Big things are happening in the new year. Career goals are shifting and relationships are evolving. I need to enjoy and revel in each moment, to enjoy the victories I know are coming. I need me to be better so that I can do better. I need what’s in my head to mesh with what is in my heart. I need my spirit to be fully engaged if I’m going to make it through.  I need it all to work and balance and be well and I want to be happy about it all. Happy. I refuse to accept anything less. I just need to figure out how to get there.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

BP AND THE PORTA-JOHN



Big Daddy and I like to road trip. It’s our thing to do. We’ve been to some amazing places, met some pretty incredible people and usually have a great time. Recently, we were headed to Bunn, North Carolina. To visit family. It was reason enough to go explore and so we did.
Like with most road trips we frequently stop. Sometimes out of necessity. Others times just to explore. On this day, we stopped because the gauge on the gas tank was low and I had to use the restroom. When traveling through rural areas of the south we are particular about where we do and do not stop. Only once in many, many years do I recall ever stopping anywhere that we didn’t feel comfortable. Most places, people are very welcoming.
I have always trusted the BP brand. More times than not the restrooms at a BP gas station are clean and the staff are friendly. When we saw the BP logo, we stopped, confident that this time would be like all our other times. Sadly, it was not.
BP outlets are neither owned nor operated by BP. BP provides petroleum and petroleum products to branded marketers, in this case Cary Oil Co., Inc. and under a marketer franchise agreement, the BP marketer supplies their customers with petroleum. Privettes Grocery, where we stopped, is the BP marketer.
Privettes Grocery sits on a corner lot at 4650 Old US Highway 64 E in Zebulon, NC. The expansive building is indicative of its Southern surroundings. It was typical of many convenience stores, cluttered with sundry items from bubble gum to motor oil. Two women stood at the counter and when I entered, neither spoke, barely lifting their gazes to acknowledge that I’d entered. It was a glaring customer service flaw.
I was in one of my cheerier moods. I greeted them both and then asked where I might find the rest room. There was just a moment when the two exchanged a look and then one of the women pointed out the window and said, “You have to go out there.”
I followed where her finger pointed and for the first time noticed the green and white porta-potty sitting in the parking lot. There was a moment of stunned silence before I responded. “Excuse me?”
She repeated herself. “You have to go out there.” And then just like that she returned to what she was doing and I had been dismissed.
It was a cold-water moment, my cheery mood squashed in the blink of an eye. The whole thing reeked, and not of Southern hospitality. Knowing that I had no intentions of using anyone’s porta-potty I thanked her and turned to leave. As I did, a young white woman appeared from one of the aisles and asked the other woman if she could use the rest room. That woman pointed her toward the back of the store and told her to help herself. My cheery mood suddenly shifted again and it took every ounce of fortitude I possessed not to do something I knew I would later regret. Instead, I gave them both a look and left. From that door back to the car, my blood boiled and before I could get my seat belt buckled I was raging as I told Big Daddy what had happened.
I agonized over it for days. I tried to justify their reasoning for doing such a thing. I made excuses for the bad behavior. I genuinely wanted to believe that the moment had been a fluke of sorts. I tried to dismiss how they had made me feel. I prayed that maybe I had been mistaken about their intent. And then, when it weighed so heavily on my spirit that I knew I couldn’t just let it slide, I tweeted BP and expressed my outrage. I posted on Facebook about my experience. I refused to just let it go. In this day and age, that anyone would be treated in this manner is appalling. I could not, in good conscious, not say something.
BP’s brand is as important to them as my brand is to me. They needed to know that their brand was being represented in such a negative light. I don’t know that I was prepared for the responses I received. People have flooded my time line and inbox to express their outrage. Others have castigated me for making this a “race thing”. Residents in Zebulon have shared that this store is notorious for treating customers so abhorantly. Some have stressed that they don’t discriminate against any one race. Everyone is treated rudely and being told to use the porta-john is dependent on the clerk of the moment and not the color of one’s skin. That may well be their truth, but it still doesn’t make it right.
BP Consumer Relations reached out within three minutes of my tweet, asking me to direct message them with details of what had happened. They responded promptly, promising an investigation and advising that I would be hearing from the station’s branding jobber. The branding jobber reached out less than an hour later. She has also responded to others who reached out to share my story, demanding answers for what had been done. They have been apologetic, expressing over, and over again how sorry they are. They have promised an investigation and I trust that one will happen. What I don’t trust is that anything will change.

BP cannot control the attitudes that would allow anyone to think it’s okay for some patrons to be treated one way, while others are treated differently. We hope that the attitudes in that small town is not indicative of BP's business policies. I have always trusted that when I stopped at a BP station that I would be treated fairly and respectfully. And, regrettably, this experience has fractured that trust.  But I don’t fault BP for what happened. As someone else noted, they are in an untenable position, having no control over the actions of one employee, on one shift, in one store, that they do not even own. 
I fault the management at Privettes Grocery and a community that stands by and says nothing when they should know right from wrong. I fault those who allow injustice to happen and refuse to say anything out of fear or ignorance. Racism is alive and well and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t serve any of us well. Discrimination is real and turning one’s back instead of facing it head on doesn’t work no matter how hard one might try. I fault a culture that sees diversity as a liability and a handicap instead of understanding and embracing our differences. So, I cannot trust that anything will change.
To quote my dear friend, Mary Parrish, “I don't think we will ever truly wipe out discrimination. There will always be some underclass (black, queer, Hispanic, Jew, Muslim) that bears the weight of someone else's misplaced anger, their perceived powerlessness. As if there can't be an "us" unless there is a "them." But, the promise of America is not in what we are, but in the very fact that we constantly strive to be!”
I just wish more of us strived to do and be better.