Thursday, February 21, 2008


So my favorite beautician has packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles. Although I was quite happy for the woman, her move did not make me happy. Finding a beautician you gel with takes some time and doing. In my search for a new stylist and salon I’m pointed in the direction of “William”. I’m told that “William” is sheer genius.

Flamboyant and loud, William declares that my head is a one fine mess. “How many color’s you got up in here”, he asks as he pulls the strands one by one like they might be infested. “The one God gave me and the gray Satan slapped up there,” I reply. Now I’m watching his expression in the mirror as he screws up his face and goes, “Humph!”

Now there’s maybe five more minutes of him pulling at each strand. I start to feel like there’s some dark secret sitting on top of my skull and he’s trying to decipher the code. Then I ask him what the problem is. “Chile’ you know what the problem is,” he says to me. “Ain’t that why you here to see William?”

At this point I should have figured out that my hair was in deep, deep trouble. William then pronounces that I need a touch up on my relaxer, a deep conditioning treatment, and a serious trim. I think I was supposed to be impressed but if I recall that’s what I told him I needed when I came in the door. Then William proceeded to harass my head. As he’s doing my hair he gives me a day by day playback of his life history from the time he bumped his knee in Ms. Patterson’s third grade class and discovered he wanted to be a “beauty specialist” until his days in a London salon where he learned to cut hair with the best in the world. It was shaping up to be a long afternoon.

But things got better. William gave me a great touch up. The conditioning treatment was luxury beyond belief. Then came the haircut. I will give William his due. The man can cut some serious hair. He had those scissors slipping and sliding like Edward Scissorhands himself. The man was good. Then came the coup de grĂ¢ce. As William is snipping and clipping he announces and quite loudly, “You will come see me every six weeks. I will keep your style in perfect shape. Now, I will give you the best hair cut around, but just so you know I don’t finish so well.”

Now there is some VERY LOUD silence.

William doesn’t finish so well. What the hell does that mean? Of course I had to ask the question and William explained. “Baby doll, I don’t twirl and curl. You’ll need to find you a Sheniqua to do that for you.”

Now there is an equally DUMB look on my face to go along with that VERY LOUD silence.

A Sheniqua?

“Or a Monica, a Sally Ann or a Patty. Find you a girl who twirls and curls, sweet thing. I don’t do that.” Now mind you, William says this with one of those little combs in his hand and he’s waving it from side to side as he’s staring at me in the mirror. He completes his statement by stabbing that comb like he’s punctuating the climatic end of a Broadway stage production. Then I was genuinely scared.

Haircut finished, William pulled his fingers threw my hair, pointed a blow dryer at if for a very brief moment and pronounced himself finished with me. Spinning back in the direction of the mirror it was all I could do to keep from screaming out loud. My hairdo may well have been one fine mess when I walked in but it was surely one hot mess going out.

An hour later, another salon, and a really sweet girl named Tammy had my hair hooked up. Tammy twirled and curled like there was no tomorrow. When she was finished, she complimented me on my haircut. “Whoever cut your hair,” she said, “did a great job!”

I’ll be visiting William again in six weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Whew! I've been blessed to see another year. The bones are creaking just a little bit more, and every now and then something hurts that didn't hurt before. But thankfully, I'm still standing strong, still kicking up dirt and still having myself one hell of a good time!

Enjoy the day! I certainly plan to enjoy mine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


We’ve all been there. At the threshold of adulthood where you’re no longer a child but you’re not quite ready for the responsibilities that being grown requires from you. Where you know everything and old people don’t know a damn thing. Many more of us tripped over that line than traversed it smoothly. In fact, I don’t know many who were able to cross into the pit of adulthood without any hitches. I personally tripped and fell flat on my wide behind with many a bruise or two to show for my fall. Growing up was truly hard to do.

When I was seventeen no one could tell me anything. I had the world figured out and it was everyone else who didn’t have a clue. I swore up and down that what I should have spent years searching for I’d already found and there wasn’t a soul, mother or father, who could tell me I was wrong. Hell, I was grown and I defied anyone to say different.

Casey is seventeen going on forty-five. She’s got it all figured out and I wish I could just grab her by the shoulders and shake twenty-five years of my experiences into her thick head. Her mother is pulling out her hair trying to make Casey do right, adamant that it’s going to be her way or the highway.

Casey has no fear of the highway because she doesn’t have a clue what’s out there waiting for her. Baby girl is driving shotgun with a young man who has got her nose wide open whispering all kinds of sweet nothings in her ears. Mama’s screaming about hell and damnation and the boyfriend is making promises Casey wants to believe in.

My heart breaks for Casey because I understand that this truly isn’t about her wanting to be grown. With graduation and the prospect of college approaching, the world has told her that it’s her time to shine but Casey isn’t quite sure she can or will. So Casey’s searching for attention that makes her feel valued and wanted. She hasn’t learned yet that she needs to value herself first. Her mama can tell her so twenty different ways from heaven and Casey will still have to learn that lesson the hard way. Most women do.

When I was that age and acting out my mother did me the biggest favor she could ever do for me. She turned her back and said she’d had enough. “Do what you will,” she said, “I don’t care. But I have three rules you’ll have to follow. Don’t do drugs, don’t come home pregnant, and don’t ever call me from jail. Follow those rules and you can do whatever the hell else you want to do.” And I did. My life was my own and in return I willing gave her those three rules. That was the turning point for me. I actually slowed my roll, no longer feeling a need to conquer and defy. And it was all going well until another adult in my life decided to intervene, pushing me into a corner with an ultimatum that changed the entire direction of my life. Refusing to be told what to do and how to do it, I made a decision that I regret to this day. But it was a lesson well learned and one I readily share when I think it can help someone else.

Casey will look back on this time in her life with twenty-twenty vision. It will be clarity like she’s never known before. If I can tell her mother anything I want to tell her this. Save your voice because the screaming and ranting aren’t getting either of you anywhere, nor are they as sweet as all that nothing being whispered into her ear. Nothing you say or do is going to make Casey do different. Casey is going to do what she wants to do no matter the consequences. Trust that you’ve done your job and done it well. You’ve told her what the risks are. You’ve given her direction. Now give her three rules and trust her to follow them. Then let her go. She may very well lose her way a time or two but the sheer knowledge of your trust and the lessons you instilled will get her back on the road when it’s needed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It’s Valentine’s Day! Today is that traditional day when lovers express their love for each other by sending Hallmark cards, FTD floral arrangements, and those nasty chocolates with the gushy centers. Somewhere there’ll be a wedding or two, a few may enjoy a night of passionate sexual fulfillment, and then there will be those of us who’ll curl up with a good book and cup of hot chocolate by our lonesome.

Valentine’s Day goes way, way back and is named after two early Christian martyrs aptly named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love back in AD 1000 - 1300 when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Courtly love was this medieval European concept of exalting erotic desire and spiritual attainment. Nowadays, some will get the erotic but I’m not so sure many are concerned about any spiritual anything. Either way, Valentine's Day has truly withstood the test of time.

All of us have our own idea of what the perfect romantic Valentine’s Day encounter entails. I had one woman today tell me she won’t be happy if there wasn’t a steak dinner and a bottle of Blue Hawaiian Boone’s Farm waiting for her tonight. If her hubby holds up his end, then he’ll get a foot massage that’ll lead to some other body parts being massaged and she promises a sexual act that he only gets on his birthday and holidays.

Good company, a stimulating conversation, a plate of fried oysters with a great Caesar salad, and the perfect kiss from the right man at just the right moment, when every fiber in my body turns into melted butter, would do me well in a heartbeat. But since that’s not going to happen this year, I’m sure there’ll be a great book that will satisfy me just as well.

To those of you celebrating with your loved one, have a Happy-Happy. For those of you celebrating alone, have a VERY Happy-Happy. It’s Valentine’s Day and whether you’re celebrating it with someone or alone, just celebrate. Love is truly a very splendid thing to commemorate.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


As romance love scenes go, mine have typically been quite tame in comparison to what other authors are writing. It took me a while to work up enough mojo to go into detailed specifics about my heroine and hero banging each other on the kitchen counter. And even then I tried to use as many lily-scented descriptions as I could muster. Then one day I was eavesdropping on a conversation between die-hard romance fans who were saying how much they preferred reading about that hard core, head-grabbing, nipple twisting, sexual encounter complete with the four-letter words and very non-technical descriptions of body parts. Shortly thereafter I got that book review where the reviewer said that if you wanted a romance book without the romance then mine was surely the one to read. At that point I figured I needed to step up my game but then the question became how far was I willing or even able to step.

By no means am I a prude. I have no problems reading about sexual encounters that have a couple’s toes curling while both are sweating like banshees in heat. Way back when I may have sweated a time or two myself so the more grunting and grinding the better. I do, however, have some issues writing it. It just takes a certain mindset for me to be able to get the right words out on paper and have it flow like I think the reader would want it to. It would probably help if I was having mind-blowing, toe-curling sex that I could draw on, but I’m not and y'all probably didn't really need to know that.

Anyway, I was reading an interesting discussion thread on today. It seems that not enough authors are detailing the “clean-up” after John and Jane do the deed. Much was said about a towel, tissue, and some soap and water. There would be readers who want to know that Jane wiped away the aftermath of John off her thighs and they don’t want it implied. They want fairly vivid descriptions. At least tell them Jane reached for a damp, rose-scented cloth to cleanse her soiled garden. It would seem that not mentioning a washcloth has become a “disturbing and disgusting trend”.

Now, I’m all for realistic but where do we draw the line? Do we really need that much detail? TMI, any one? Can’t we just assume Jane and John aren’t both nasty skanks who just pull up their dirty drawers and head off to the grocery store to finish the shopping on their chore list after their midday rendezvous in the backseat of Jane’s Mercedes? Can’t we just imagine they had a Wet One or two or three? Does the clean up really “enhance” the story? I mean really, what happened to those glowing, sugary, sexual encounters that made a romance novel romantic? Hell, if a romance novel can have a happily-ever-after ending, then why can’t the sex not be messy?

I am really pushing my own limits with my newest series. In my February release, To Love A Stallion. John Stallion and Marah Briscoe have a lot of sex. They have a lot of really good sex. And there is one scene when John does some wicked things with a paintbrush. I wrote that scene after reading somewhere that a paintbrush and some intimate moisturizer can be as good or better than oral sex. Personally, I can’t confirm or deny whether that’s true or not since I’ve never had sex with a painter before. But hey, anything is possible when it‘s fiction and I would hope that just imagining that it might be true would add to the fantasy. (It may also spark a creative encounter for those curious types.)

I would hate to think though that because I didn’t write about John disinfecting that paintbrush and Marah's crotch in some bleach and ammonia that the story was somehow lacking. ‘Cause really, I didn’t think anyone needed to know whether or not he washed that paintbrush pristine clean or used it instead to paint a landscape on some canvas.

PS. Please, go buy my book, To Love A Stallion. Buy a copy for a friend as well. It's really good and that paintbrush just have to read it for yourself. And that's my shameless plug for the week!

Monday, February 04, 2008


Marcus spends an exorbitant amount of time denying his relationship with Dara. Marcus seems to think he has good reason to want to keep what’s between them under wraps. Dara use to think so as well. Now she thinks Marcus is using his good reason to mask the fact that he’s rethinking whether or not he truly wants a relationship with her.

Dara had been ending another relationship when she and Marcus became involved. Marcus went into the relationship hoping that Dara could get her baggage unpacked and sorted out quickly. Although her emotional ties had clearly been severed, Dara was navigating the dissolution of the legal ties that were holding her hostage. Through no fault of Dara’s quick didn’t happen quickly enough. Now Marcus is rethinking his commitment to the woman he professes to love. Those pesky legal ties are clearly rubbing him the wrong way.

The couple acknowledges that they probably should have waited before acting on the interest they had for each other but that didn’t happen. Dara’s at a point where she’s not much interested in denying how she feels about Marcus. She loves him heart and soul and would gladly tell the whole wide world. She refuses to bottle up her emotions waiting for the right time and the right place for things to be perfect. She's afraid perfect may never be quite perfect enough for Marcus. For Dara, it is what it is, and she is starting to think that pretending it isn’t won’t serve either of them well in the long run.

Marcus clearly wishes that they had waited before crossing that line from friend to more than friends. Marcus seems to have better control over his emotions, doling them out only when it’s convenient for him. Now Marcus has found himself questioning just how much he’s willing to risk for Dara. What is he willing to go through or not go through to hold tight to the bond they supposedly share? He’s asked himself just how much does he really love this woman. Although he hasn’t said it in so many words, Dara senses the answer is he doesn’t love her nearly enough, if at all.

Now that Dara’s legal ties are just a stone’s throw away from being completely severed Marcus seems to have caught a case of cold feet. Marcus is denying what’s between them and Dara is starting to think that’s because what they shared really wasn’t what she thought it was after all.