Saturday, May 30, 2009


At midnight, I was wide awake, having only benefitted from maybe two whole hours of sleep in the last forty-eight hours.

At midnight, I was in a hospital intensive care unit, watching the patient monitor, staring at a series of bold green lines as if they held some magical key to the mysteries of the world.

At midnight, I was hoping that series of bold green lines would promise me that everything would be well in my very small world.

The numbers ebbed and flowed and the lines graphed in sync with my beloved grandmother’s heartbeat, and blood pressure, and oxygen rates.

At midnight, with little to no sleep at all, a series of bold, green numbers proved to be a harsh reminder that life is both precious and fragile and there isn’t one more midnight hour that is ever promised to any of us.


Wednesday morning my mean-as-spit granny was giving me a fit about finding a man who wasn’t so pretty. According to her my very special friend will never serve me well. He is far “too pretty”. She said I needed to find me an ugly man who would always take good care of me.

She had an exceptional day. Out early to a doctor’s appointment, on to the store with a mile-long shopping list, lunch at one of her favorite haunts and then an afternoon of fussing and bossing those of us who love her best.

When I tucked her into bed that night she was quite pleased with having beaten me at poker, leaving my wallet some $20 lighter. She was sufficiently tired and ready for a good night’s rest.

Fast forward some sixteen hours to Thursday afternoon and we were sitting in a hospital emergency room being told my poor granny had pneumonia and was in the initial stages of congestive heart failure. Only hours later they said she suffered a very mild heart attack.

Here it is now, Saturday morning, and I am sitting here perplexed by the team of intensivists and assorted medical specialists who are debating the best course of action to rejuvenate her depleting oxygen levels.

I cannot fathom how she was well and good one day without a sniffle or a cough and now she’s fighting for whatever life might be left for her.

Tell every soul who has a piece of your heart that you love them. Do it right now. Sixteen hours from now they might not be able to hear you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Yesterday, Exodus Tyson, the 4-year-old daughter of former heavy-weight boxer Mike Tyson died at a hospital, one day after her neck apparently got caught in a treadmill cord at her Phoenix home. I can only begin to imagine her poor mother's heartbreak. I don't know about tears in heaven, but I know there is a wealth of tears being spilled down here on earth.

We'll never know why God calls us home when he does. I can only hope that he had great need for such a little angel in his hallowed halls. My condolences to the family for their loss.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So, I am watching the Eastern Conference game between Miami and Cleveland. It’s what you do if you love the game, whether your team has made it to the play offs or not. I actually haven’t actively followed a team since I left Connecticut back in 1996. Back then I was a diehard Knicks fan. I loved me some New York Knicks. When I moved South it proved to be somewhat of a challenge to follow the Knicks that closely.

My father was an avid sports fan. Typically, quality time with daddy was quality time watching something sports-related on the television. We never missed a Knicks game. I grew to love the Knicks during the early 1970’s when their team roster was a star-studded plethora of talented sportsman. Back then they won two NBA championships with Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, and Bill Bradley.

My baby, Patrick Ewing, made them a dominant force again in the 1990’s. I had a serious thing for Patrick. When head coach, Pat Riley, resigned, then Charles Smith, Doug Christie, and Herb Williams were traded, the tide began to drastically change. Winning proved to be quite a challenge for my beloved team. My faith in them was restored though when Jeff Van Gundy took over the helm. His team of Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, Chris Childs, cute little John Starks, Charles Oakley, and my baby Patrick had me shaking my pom-poms on the side lines and loving all things Knicks all over again.

My admiration for Michael Jordan had me rooting for Chicago for a short period of time, but the Knicks were like a first lover that you can’t seem to let go of. No matter what, they could always pull me back under their spell. I’m still waiting for another reunion when my old love turns my head and has me pining after them like a lovesick puppy, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Until then though I’ll watch because I still love the game no matter what team is playing and it is the championship playoffs. It’s what you do.


It's a family cookout kind of weekend! I spent yesterday helping my parents with their first summer blast. The food was on point, particularly the barbecued spareribs which are my father's specialty. The company was exceptional, two families blending beautiful together. It was an absolutely great time.

Today, I'm barbecuing with my very special friend and his family. I will probably eat more hotdogs and hamburgers this weekend than should be allowed. Toss in the baked beans, corn-on-the-cob and I can already feel my hips expanding back into those oversized pants I've been struggling to get out of.

But I wouldn't give it up for anyting in the world. It's that kind of weekend! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Navigating a conversation with my old people is proving to be quite entertaining and somewhat of a challenge. I am now adequately settled in with my granny. We’ve already bumped heads. First was over my having a key. It would seem that folks with keys to her home might sneak in and rob her. I told her since I was now living there, that was highly unlikely. She said you can never be too safe. I still don't have a key.

Then she insisted on cooking me a welcome home dinner. She’s not supposed to cook and I told her so, making it perfectly clear that I would take care of our meals. This morning I get this frantic call on my way to work that she had put a pan of meat into the oven to bake and she couldn’t get it out. She was afraid it would burn and I needed to rush right back to help her. She didn’t see why I would have a problem turning around to travel ten miles back home when I was already late.

I’ve come to realize that there are many lessons to be learned with this experience. Patience is one of them. This was our conversation before I left.

Granny: You know your Aunt Rosalie died in this house, don’t you?
Me: So you’ve said before.
Granny: And your Aunt Jane too. She was watching Phil Donahue. Then she was dead.
Me: Maybe she should have watched Oprah instead.
Granny: Auntie died here too. In the kitchen. She was cooking dinner and she had a heart attack. She burned the rice.
Me: I guess if you’re dead things like that can happen.
Granny: But it was a good pot of food. Just wasted.
Me: So, why didn’t y’all just cut the rice pot off before it burned?
Granny: ‘Cause Auntie was dead. How are we supposed to be worrying about the rice when the woman is laying dead on the floor?
Me: Seems like you all had the same problem.
Granny: No. She should have cut the pot off first.
Me: Before she died?
Granny: Wouldn’t have wasted a good pot of food if she had.
Me: Did you tell her so?
Granny: When?
Me: When she burned the rice.
Granny (With an exasperated sigh): What part of she was dead don’t you get?

SIGH! If I can make it through this without being a blubbering idiot it will be a miracle. SIGH!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Baby girl is barely fifteen years old. She’s been agonizing all day that she might be pregnant. Either Ben or Bill could be her baby’s daddy. This salacious drama is unfolding amongst her freshman classmates, text messages on Facebook and Twitter raging over the internet. Their little social network has been blowing up the telephone line since second period math class. I’ve been getting the play by play details from the friend of one of the boy’s who might have fathered her child.

I have asked a few times now where her parents are in all this. The last time I asked, the answer left me shaking my head. Seems daddy’s been long gone and mom’s recovering. You don’ t want to know from what.

I’m amazed that all of these kids are so forthcoming with their business. Not a one of them is blinking an eye at baby girl’s predicament. The boys are all in awe of Ben and Bill like the two have actually accomplished something and all baby girl seems most concerned with is whether or not she’s going to be able to get into her prom gown or not.

What in hell is happening to our youth? I’m really thinking sparing that rod and spoiling them kids have done each and every one of them a grand disservice. Personally, I would very much like to find me a really big switch and start wearing out some teen behinds. I swear these kids need to catch a serious clue.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I am surrounded by stuff and clutter. More “stuff” than I know what to do with. I’m moving. I made the decision to leave my immaculately decorated home for the comfy clutter of my grandmother’s back room. If you remember, it took me forever to get my new home where I wanted it to be so this was no easy decision. So I am surrounded by stuff that I’m trying to pack into storage and I can’t help but ask myself what I’ve managed to sign on for.

My grandmother is pushing ninety. And she’s beginning to wear her age. She’s having some serious issues. Her seeing dead people is topping the list. When I moved to North Carolina I came specifically to be close to my granny in case she needed help. Back then she’d balked at the thought. Today, she can’t wait for me to move in, having a long list of things for me to help with. Ghosts seem to be the biggest problem thus far.

For months now I had hoped to convince her to move into an assisted living facility. She’s been adamant that she will not leave her home. The house she resides in was purchased many years ago by her two older sisters and an aunt. At varying times they all lived in that two-bedroom saltbox together and individually. Every one of them died in that house. Auntie went first, falling asleep one night and succumbing to old age. Then her sister Rosalie died after suffering a massive stroke. Sister Jane passed on years later, sitting in a recliner in the living room as she watched an episode of Phil Donahue. Granny has lived there alone for the last fifteen years. She now insists that she is supposed to die in that house.

So, I’m putting my stuff into storage and me and granny and the ghosts are going to do assisted living all on our own. Join me for the ride. I guarantee it’s going to make for some very interesting blog posts.

Friday, May 08, 2009


For all you mom's, mom's-to-be, surrogate mom's, and any one else who is deserving of the acknowledgement, may you each have a safe and blessed Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


My publisher had a very good year, boasting record increases in their annual revenue. Everyone from CNN to NBC was reporting the remarkable accomplishment of a company that didn’t actually show a loss for the past year. I’m glad someone is doing well. However, if my latest royalty check is any indication, the publisher is clearly the only one who did, ‘cause this author is headed straight to the unemployment line.

I’m considered a midlist author. I’m not able to buy myself a new house with what I make writing and there will be no trips to San Tropez or any getaway purchases for me to boast about. Sum total, what I have made in the last six years since I was first published, isn’t enough to support a family of two for one year. You know when Uncle Sam isn’t even impressed that there’s not much for you to get overly excited about and Sam has hardly been impressed.

My last two books outsold all of my books. In fact, they sold out, went back to press a couple of times and sold out again. The last communiqué I received advised me that since it is the nature of romance series / category romance business to keep books on the shelves for a sum total of 3 months my being completely sold out was actually a very good thing because the books had done very well.

Yesterday, I was told they really didn’t do that well at all. In fact, royalties paid to this author totaled $48. My agent tried to smooth my bruised spirit by saying that they apparently didn’t print as many books as I was initially led to believe. She apologized that the news wasn’t better and that I was disappointed. Disappointment doesn’t begin to express what I’m feeling right now.

Royalty checks paid to authors only come out twice per year. And then there is this thing you have called reserve against returns where the publisher gets to hold up to 50% of the money you made just on the off chance that some buyer decides he purchased too many books and wants to send them back. They have up to a year and potentially two royalty periods within which to do this. After that year you get a full accounting, and your money, which in my case totaled $48.


I am acutely aware that I allowed my hopes and expectations to get the better of me. Reality just dropped kicked those bad boys to the curb. Strangely, I don’t feel sorry for myself. There’s no pity-party going on here. I’m just tired. Going from a two-income household down to a one-quarter income household has been a challenge. The challenges have clearly worked my spirit. I’ve been so consumed with contracts and deadlines that I’ve lost the love and joy I had for my craft. I find myself actually questioning why I bother to write at all. I wonder sometimes what it is I’m not doing right. Writing has become a chore and I would never have imagined that this thing that has sustained me for so long would ever be sheer drudgery. But drudgery it is.

I’m packing up my keyboard for a while and I’m giving up this ghost. There isn’t a story haunting me and even my beautiful Stallion boys don’t make me smile anymore. I need to regroup and focus my energy elsewhere for a while. Maybe with some serious time, the muse might come back to me.

Monday, May 04, 2009


When I started writing I set a number of goals for myself. The first was to become a NATIONAL BEST SELLING AUTHOR. I achieved that goal with book number four, Forever And A Day. Seeing such highlighted on the cover of my fifth book, Love In The Lineup, was very nice indeed.

This past week I achieved goal number two. I can now add AWARD WINNING AUTHOR to my resume. I'd been nominated a number of times for a number of different awards, but had never quite made it to the finish line in first place. Things changed with the nomination of TAME A WILD STALLION which just won the Romantic Times 2008 Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Series Romance - Kimani Books. I am floating on clouds I'm so ecstatic!

I'm looking to make the New York Times Best Seller's List next. I figure if you have to aim for anything, then aim high. Who knows what might fall in your lap along the way.

Doing my happy dance!!! Clapping my hands!! Stomping my feet!!!
Happy, happy happy!!!!

Friday, May 01, 2009


Ok, so insomnia and I are doing this weird dance with each other. He’s got me by my short hairs and is very much in control. Days without sleep will seriously mess with your psyche. I’m amazed at some of the crap that’s been racing through my head. Right now I’ve got new relationship anxiety and my relationship is truly no longer new.

Being a priority in a man’s life is a new animal I don’t know quite how to tame. It feels foreign to me. I keep trying to play but since I don’t know the rules, I don’t know how to participate. I keep tripping over myself, my spirit moving me off balance. I’m afraid that it is only a matter of time before I’ll go spinning out of control and end up flat on my face.

I should be reveling in all this attention but instead, I find myself questioning the motives behind it. Someone has got to want something from me ‘cause nothing this good comes without a price. Then all these little voices want to chime in, telling me to sit back and enjoy the ride. But not knowing how to do that, all I’m left with is insomnia holding my hand and pulling me along for one mean cha-cha.