Monday, September 24, 2007


ARRRGH! I swear, this book I’m trying to finish is giving me a major migraine and I've got a proposal I need to be working on. We’ll totally disregard the fact that everything is late and not fashionably late, but more like agent and editor ready to ring my neck late. It’s late because editorial changes on book one dictated a major rewrite. So, not only is it late but the characters are just not gelling. He’s not giving me any warm and fuzzy feelings and she is starting to wreck my nerves. And I can’t begin to tell you why I’m having such a difficult time pulling this one together.

For the first time ever I actually know the story. I know the story like I know my name. I know everything my hero is supposed to do and everything the heroine is supposed to say. They’ve had more conversations together in my head than I care to remember and I still can’t seem to get it to feel on paper the way I need it to feel. And I’ve been having a major migraine trying.

I think part of my problem is that this book is part of a series. I don’t do series well. The one and only series I’ve done thus far came quite by accident. The story had three friends. My readers kept asking about friend’s number two and three. So, they each got a book. Books that stood on their own without each other. That series came together but as I wrote each book I wasn’t aware of it being a series. They were just three free standing books that had a connection of sorts.

This series is situated in a place that connects the characters and subsequently the stories and to write it I am required to continually be aware of that connection. And I’m just not doing that well. I was truly done with the characters with the first book. Resurrecting them for another tale isn’t feeling quite as natural as I would like it to feel which probably accounts for why I can’t get them to feel right on paper.

I’m determined though to be done with this book. Come hell or high water the agent and the editor won’t have to ring my neck after this week is out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I’m back. Bet you didn’t even realize I was gone. But I was. Death and funerals took me away for awhile. They say birth and death comes in threes. So, I’m done with the death. I lost my brother-in-law and an aunt within days of each other. They were numbers two and three for me this year. My dear friend’s mother was the first. In a few months time, we’ll welcome new life. Beautiful babies – three of them. It’s that whole passing on of spirits thing I told you about. The brother-in-law has a daughter who’s expecting. The aunt has a niece on her husband’s side of the family who’ll give birth any day now. I haven’t found the third baby coming yet, but I’ve been dreaming about her. And I’ve been dreaming about her family – dreaming that they are my family.

People look at me crazy when they discover that I believe in haints and spirits. And I do. I’ve heard and seen too much in my lifetime to deny the presence of energy that sometimes walks with us through our lives. My aunt took ill unexpectedly, suffering a heart attack. She’d gone through bypass surgery and then suffered from pneumonia and other assorted complications that made her recovery impossible. The day before she died she was sleeping so peacefully that her husband and daughter said it was if she didn’t have a problem in the world. When she woke up she told them that she had truly been through something. Seems her grandmother and her mother came to see her. She said they stood by her hospital bed smiling down at her and that her grandmother held her hand briefly before the two women turned and walked out of the room. She said they never looked back as they disappeared out of sight but that when she asked if she could come with them, she heard her mother’s voice tell her that she would be back to visit her again the next day. The next day my aunt fell asleep again and died. The old women took her along that time.

My friend has been dreaming about his mother. In the first dream they were in a house and water was coming up through the floorboards as they walked side by side. I think his mother was sending him a message. She knows he’s been under a lot of stress and pressure trying to keep home and family from falling apart. Mother was letting him know that she is still there supporting him, keeping him afloat, still holding tight to his hand. In the second dream there was a pond, a body of water contained outside. Mother was playing with the children in the yard. He was inside the house looking out. The pressures aren’t swelling out of control like before. They’re contained. Mother feels more comfortable letting go. She knows that he’ll eventually be just fine. I don’t doubt my friend thinks me a bit crazy too but intuition tells me I’m right. His mother’s gone but she hasn’t left him completely. Her energy is still here, still keeping watch, still holding on, knowing that he hasn’t been ready or able to let go.

An acquaintance once wrote that she felt her late husband’s presence in her bed at night. They’d lived and loved together for some twenty-plus years. She told me that one day she found herself laughing more, and living more, her days feeling fuller and less empty. She says that with the laughter came a new friend and then one day she realized the hand she imagined was holding hers in her sleep wasn’t there anymore. She was okay with this because she believed her late husband was as well.

When my beloved grandfather died my granny use to walk the fields in the early morning, talking to herself. We worried about her mental state for days when she told us she was talking to her beloved husband, believing that he was still there, still tilling the land as he’d done when he was alive. Talk to the dead, she use to say, you’d be surprised what they have to tell you. When granny was feeling out of sorts she’d go to the fields and search for answers. One day, when her home was empty of family and friends and she was feeling lost and alone she asked Papa for the answers and they came to her that night in a dream. Granny dreamt that Papa was walking her to class, carrying her books to school. The next day Granny enrolled in classes at the local community college. With school came new friends and experiences. At the age of 78 Granny received her college diploma. By then she’d stopped walking in the fields. So I believe and now I’m waiting for the babies.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


When family steps into some mess they usually know how to step in it good. Jim and Tim were born so close together that most folks assumed they were twins. Few knew that there were actually ten whole months that separated one’s birth from the other.

Tim and Jim had been at odds with each other since the beginning. Tim, the youngest, was the favored child. Parental preference was showered down on him simply because he looked most like his Caucasian father. Older brother Jim was acutely aware that the darker tone of his biracial roots placed him second in their father’s eyes. Daddy found it necessary to remind him every time his younger sibling was allowed to tag along while he was left behind. Where their black mommy was during this time is a whole other story.

By the time Tim and Jim had reached their teens they were waging daily battles to prove their worth with Jim always failing in good old padres color struck eyes. These brothers battled for approval and value, the fallout from the wars they waged tainting everything and everyone around them.

Tim stepped into the mess first. Her name was Daisy, the high school honey he thought would be with him until the end of time. Then Jim stepped into that mess right behind him, swaying old Daisy right out of his brother’s arms. Clearly, Daisy wasn’t your average take-her-home-to-mama material. The judge had declared this when Daisy was proven to have been stepping into mess all around town. Daisy insisted though that Tim was the daddy but these were pre-DNA testing years so no one ever knew for sure.

Fast forward some thirty-odd years and Tim and Jim haven’t spoken since forever. Neither knows the others families, both having missed out on a wealth of history. Harboring bitterness over a past neither could change had stolen time these two brothers should have shared. Neither had ventured to extend an olive branch of forgiveness, both figuring that they would always have time. Sadly though, Jim’s time failed him, the man dropping dead before he and his brother could reconcile.

Mess spreads thick and foul if you don’t clean it off your soul before you move on. Now the aftermath of Tim and Jim’s mess wants to know his daddy. Denial has been the only thing Daisy’s baby boy has ever known and denial continued to be the only thing his alleged father and uncle gave him. Now that DNA may prove Daisy right, it could also prove her wrong, and a young man who never knew his daddy, may no longer have a daddy he can get to know.

Monday, September 10, 2007


HGTV’s reality show Design Star has narrowed their selection down to two choices for the American public to vote on. Kim Myles has my vote hands down! I think this woman is absolutely priceless. She has the most engaging, warming spirit and this infectious laugh and smile. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment she was on camera. I love everything she’s done this season and one day will have her decorate my dream house. I hope that happens soon because I have no doubts that before long she’ll be well out of my dream price range. If you haven’t watched the show, catch the repeats. I’m sure they’ll have a few leading up to the final announcement next Sunday. The other guy is very good as well, but Kim is better. Just my opinion. Voting closes on the website on Wednesday. So vote, for Kim.

Name: Kim Myles
Age: 34
Home: Queens, New York
Profession: Hair Stylist/Design Enthusiast
Education: Associate's degree in Performing Arts — Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts
Why I should win: I was built for this — I just didn't know there was a category for me until I watched Design Star!
A designer's best friend: Imagination and fearlessness.
My secret weapon: A sense of humor.
My design style boils down to: Global-urban elegance.
What is your formal design training: Nothing formal. New York City is my university, design magazines are my homework and HGTV is my lecture hall.


I have a new attitude and it came on the heels of one very harsh reality. Life ain’t fair and no one said it would be. My grandfather use to say that there were only two things in the world he had to do: stay black and die. According to the Philosophy of Ollie his black wasn’t going anywhere and death was just a journey we’re all destined to take at some point in time. Other than that he had full control over everything else and most important, he had full control over himself. And don’t ever whine about life being unfair because that would truly get him ranting and raving. He didn’t mind reminding you that no one made you any promises about your life one way or the other so if you failed to meet your own expectations, tough. You would soon get over it, or not. Again, your choice.

Old folks and old folks philosophy wasn’t high on my To-Follow list when I was younger. All those life lessons had to be learned the hard way because I was stubborn to a fault. Papa use to say a hard head made for a soft ass and for the longest time mine was bruised black and blue from my falling on it all the time. But I’ve got a new attitude. I can’t control anyone else but me. And if I don’t reel me in and act like I’ve got some good sense then I surely can’t expect that anyone else will. Nor would I want them too. Some folks think they need to save me from myself. But I don’t need saving. I don’t plan to fall again. Hard lessons have been learned and stored away for future reference and my new attitude has me sitting right at the top of my game.

I’ve got my big girl panties on and I'm dealing with some major mess 'cause life just ain't fair. But I'm already over it, and what I know for certain is that I will be just fine.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I stopped giving my book reviews any credence ages ago. My very first review almost made me stop writing. The reviewer was absolutely brutal. Once I got past the shock I realized that for every negative comment she had made about the book, many others had praised it. An acquaintance emailed me a recent review posted at Romance In Color of my last book and asked what I thought of it. Girlfriend was just trying to start some mess and I told her so. I figured I would answer her question though, just because I don’t mind ending mess real quick.

Aside from the fact that it took close to four months for the book to even be read, I don’t have much else to say about the review. Clearly the reviewer hated it. No, hate might be a little strong. She disliked it immensely. And I’m glad for her. I certainly don’t like everything I read so I don’t expect folks to like everything I write. I had to laugh because she disliked it so much that her final comment was: If you like stories with little or no romance, then this book is for you. It seems I didn’t have quite enough love scenes for her liking. At first I thought, damn, how much sex does one book need because despite the hero suffering from erectile dysfunction, they did indeed have some close encounters of the intimate kind. And a few folks thought they were some darn good encounters! Then I figured what the hell. There ain’t no pleasing everybody all the time and then there are some folks you are never going to please any of the time.

I respect the opinion. I’m sure there are others who felt the same way. And for every one of them I can count at least four who thought differently. Personally, I’m indifferent. I’ve written three other books since that one and am working on the fourth. I done moved on. That review may or may not move me to do something different with my next book. Who knows. I'm certain that few even care. What that review won't do though, is stop me for writing. You never know, that reviewer might actually like the next one. And then I’m just as sure someone else won’t.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Tina’s grandmother was renowned for her quilt making. During the course of her life she’d made hundreds of quilts, all of them hand stitched. Her grandmother was known to say that she stitched each stitch with love and love would stay long after she was gone. Tina remembers well those summer vacations at her granny’s where the two would sit on her front porch and sew as they shared space and time together. Tina’s favorite memory of that time in her life is when her granny would ask for a story and as they pieced fabric into intricate patterns, Tina would spin a tale, granny interjecting wisdom along the way. Her grandmother had told her that one day she would write a book and Tina believed her granny because her granny had never steered her wrong.

Tina’s grandmother gifted her two quilts, one on her sixteenth birthday and the other on her wedding day. Tina’s wedding quilt was an exquisite vision of white and red and for Tina it represented the wealth of possibilities her marriage held for her. When her grandmother died those cherished quilts became Tina’s lifeline to a past that warmed her spirit and kept her sane.

Tina’s future was a rollercoaster of ups and down. When life became more than she could bear she sought out those quilts for comfort because wrapping herself in them reminded her of her granny and the loving arms that always seemed to keep her hurt at bay.

Weeks ago Tina’s wedding quilt disappeared from its resting place. Tina didn’t miss it at first because she was not the only one who sought sanctuary from its fabric. There had been many a time when Tina had found a family member wrapped in the comfort of one of her quilts because there was something almost magical about them and their memories. Tina could tell you tales of finding her babies snuggled asleep in the folds of her quilts as if they were snuggled tight in the folds of her grandmother’s arms.

Struggling with her marriage Tina sought the comfort of that quilt hoping to resolve issues that had been weighing heavy on her shoulders. When she found it, she was devastated, her precious gift having been used and abused by a man who did not value what it meant to her. Her quilt had been destroyed by a man who did not value her.

Sitting with needle and thread Tina began to meticulously repair the damage, hoping to salvage what was left of her magical quilt and then it hit her that the quilt’s magic had disappeared. Laying the quilt across her hardwood floors she realized that quilt was a metaphor for a relationship that no longer had any value. Tina had spent years trying to repair the tears in her marriage but the fabric of that relationship had continued to unravel and shred. The center of her quilt was completely destroyed, its intricate pattern no longer visible and no amount of stitching or darning was going to piece it back together pretty. Tina understood that the core of her marriage was just as damaged and unsalvageable.

Tina let her quilt go, folding it neatly away before placing it in the trash. Tina let her marriage go as well, her grandmother’s quilt telling her it was time. Now, Tina’s writing a book about her grandmother.