Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Wow! I am in awe of this place I have found myself in. Double WOW! I have had my hands full for some time now. Finishing two books and meeting my deadlines have been at the top of my to-do list. Putting together a kick-ass fundraiser has also been way, way up there. And then suddenly, drama decided to make a pit stop at my front door.

First, I had an issue with a relative. The woman pushed my last button and she doesn’t know just how badly I want to whoop her extremely wide behind. I still might if she doesn’t get her head out of the crack of her behind and recognize that family is about other people and not the world revolving solely around her. My mother defended her actions by saying she is “going through some stuff”. I had to remind my mother that we all are and our relative’s “stuff” doesn’t’ even begin to compare. Our “stuff” got thrown at us without warning. The relative has been picking up her “stuff” by choice and she didn’t have to make the decisions she made. She had options. We didn’t.

Then I had an issue with two individuals I won’t even bother to categorize as acquaintances now. Other people have been pointing out their shortcomings for years. I continually gave them both the benefit of the doubt, wanting our friendships to work. Then they both kicked me when I was down. I still have the bruises to show for it. They no longer have me for a friend.

My grandmother has been a challenge unto herself. Last week we had to tell her that she will not be coming home. The decision finally had to be made to move her from the rehabilitation center to a permanent nursing home. She was not happy and she is still making sure I know it, haunting me in my dreams at night.

And then I went on a relationship ride like I’ve never traveled before. When the trip started my very best friend and I were riding two separate horses headed down very different paths. Then just like that something clicked and there we were, sitting hand in hand on the same stallion, headed in the very same direction. I didn’t know a trip could be so sweet. I saw light at the end of the tunnel and for the very first time I knew exactly where I was going to find myself when all was said and done.

The last time I found myself so at peace I was standing beneath the large oak tree on my late grandparent's farm. It was heavy with moss, the morning air was as still as death and I was crying a prayer skyward. Out of the blue a single of ray of sunshine hit my face and then just like that I knew no matter what, everything in my small world was going to be well.

I am in this incredible place and even with the drama I didn’t know things could be this good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

E. Lynn Harris

It's hard to fathom any loss, but when we lose one of our own, it is particularly heartwrenching.

Best-selling author E. Lynn Harris has died. He was 54. Harris was on tour, promoting his 11th novel, 'Basketball Jones,' which involved an NBA player and his gay lover. His personal assistant confirmed that his health had declined but would not provide details as to what caused his death.

A cheerleading sponsor and coach at the University of Arkansas and a passionate Razorbacks fan, Harris' books dealt with black gay culture. More recently, the Detroit native served as a visiting professor in the English department at the university.The former IBM executive had just celebrated his 54th birthday on June 20.

I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago as he was thoroughly enjoying the fruits of his success. At a local booksigning, in a room packed with fans, I was able to ask him a question, wanting to know his advice to aspiring authors who wished to garner the success he had. His cutting response was that aspiring authors should just write because it was what they loved to do. He stated that few of us would ever garner that type of success so we shouldn't be writing for that reason alone. At the time I wasn't sure how to take his comments, but eventually I saw it as a challenge to prove him wrong.

My condolences to his family.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Hattie Joanne Woody
October 7, 1945 - July 23, 2007

Two years ago today God called one of his angels home. Mrs. Hattie J. Woody was an incredible woman whose compassionate spirit, no-nonsense wisdom, and firm hand touched many, many people during her short lifetime. Miss Hattie passed away from cancer shortly after being diagnosed and her death left family and friends asking why and questioning what the good Lord had to have been thinking. I like to imagine that calling her home to rest finally gave her peace and comfort that she would not have found here on earth. I like to imagine that in heaven Miss Hattie is being cared for and catered to instead of being the one everyone calls on to fix what they broke like they did when she was alive.

Miss Hattie made quite an impression on people when they met her. She was a woman who loved her children fiercely, who freely gave everything she possibly had to give, who never once asked for anything in return and whose simple life was rich and full in way far too many will never understand. Miss Hattie followed the tenets of right and wrong to the letter and worked diligently to help those around her do their best to do the same thing.

Every single day Miss Hattie is missed in a way that cannot be explained in words. Her children wish for her back with every breath they take. Her grandchildren could benefit from her loving discipline. Tears are shed daily to honor her memory and the legacy of love she left behind. Birthdays, holidays, and days of celebration where she would have been front and center are empty without her, the loss registering even stronger. But Miss Hattie left a legacy of love, and memories of joy and laughter for every one of us to hold tight to in our hearts.

Miss Hattie made quite an impact in my life during the short time that I was able to know her. Her quiet strength moved, inspired and encouraged me. She had also prophesized a future for me that I couldn’t even begin to fathom back then. To know that love she predicted back then has been an amazing thing.

Last year, as a gift to her family to honor her amazing life I started the Hattie J. Woody Scholarship Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization. The foundation is a vehicle to honor Miss Hattie’s commitment to family and her staunch belief in higher education, serving as an advocate for young adults demonstrating financial need who have been impacted by cancer and need assistance in their pursuit of advance education.

On Saturday, August 22, 2009 the foundation will host Dates for Charity, its second annual fundraiser to raise money for the endowment fund as well as contribute to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The event will be a charity auction and I am working much hard to insure it’s a success. Click the link to the left for additional details. If you’re in the area and you want to have a great time for a very worthy cause, come out and join us. If not, we do accept checks and credit cards. Please consider making a donation. We can use all the help we can get.

I know how difficult today will be for everyone who loved Miss Hattie and misses her and wishes her back here on earth. But I also know that Miss Hattie would be less than happy if we all weren't taking big strides and making our own mark in this big, wide world. She had huge hopes and dreams for those she loved best and we honor her by trying to fulfill every last one of them. I know Miss Hattie is surely doing her thing in heaven while smiling down on everyone of us here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I listen to a lot of music when I’m writing. It’s like fuel for my spirit, my go-go juice that sets a mood and defines the tone of a story. I’m smack dab in the middle of finishing the last two books of my Stallion Brothers series and it took much music to help me regroup and find my balance to get a feel for brother Matthew and a Stallion family cousin.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my Stallion boys, I finished baby brother Luke’s story, LOST IN A STALLION’S ARMS, late last year. It will be released in May 2010. I loved writing every bit of Luke’s story. The boy is twenty-something young and every bit a stallion stud. He is a walking sex machine, bringing much pleasure to the vivacious Joanne Lake, a full-figured beauty who captures his heart. The couple has become one of my favorites to have written about. Tracy Chapman’s 1997 hit single Give Me One Reason was the inspiration for much of Luke's sexual bravado.

Then the writing schedule went a little haywire. Publishing conflicts knocked me off kilter and I couldn’t find my rhythm. When it came back it came back with a vengeance. Then an extra Stallion book got tossed into the series mix. So now, right after Luke’s story, my book STALLION BRIDE featuring a distant cousin, Travis Stallion, will drop in August 2010. Everything about Melanie Fiona’s current hit, Give It to Me Right, has kept me and Mr. Travis on our collective toes. That song has ignited some serious heat between Travis and the delightful Miss Tierra Braddy. It’s also had me putting out a flame or two of my own, but that’s a whole other post!

Matthew story, STALLION HEAT got pushed to the back burner but it’s just pages from being completed as well. A Harvard-educated attorney, Matthew was one of the more conservative brothers. His energy has been quite different which makes for a different kind of delivery with him. Although he’s very old-skool smooth I keep reaching for Terrence Howard’s Sanctuary and Joe’s If I Were Your Man. I haven’t quite tapped into Matthew’s joy juice yet. But I can feel it coming. I can feel it wanting to explode as soon as I put out some of these here flames that cousin Travis has ignited.

Deadlines are approaching fast. My stereo is pumped on high and it doesn’t get any better than this!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Three years ago today I warned that my blog presence would be one heck of a ride. I could say so with much certainty because I knew that life could throw you some serious curves when you least expected.

You all have followed me through the end of my marriage, the death of my child, my writing highs, my publishing lows, and the beginnings of what has proven to be an incredibly beautiful and loving relationship. You’ve read me rant and rave about absolutely nothing and about some things that have been exceptionally important to me. I’ve introduced you to family and friends and have told a few secrets some would probably have preferred I not disclose.

But through ever single word I hoped I have entertained you, lifted your spirit as some of you have lifted mine and just been a good time you could slip away to if only for a brief reading moment. If not, if you were ever bored or insulted, tough cookies. Like I’ve said many times before, you do you, ‘cause I can’t do anything else but do me.

I have loved this blogspot. It has been a source of great energy and has fueled some of my best writing. I keep coming back to it because it engages my creative spirit, gives me a space to vent, and has just been a lot of good, innocent fun.

It’s been three wonderful years and some 360-plus blog posts. Not all of them were great but quite a few were really, really good! I appreciate each and every one of you who keeps coming back to peek inside my world and I welcome all who are finding me for the very first time.

So, continue to hang on and hang on tight. There’s a lot coming around the bend and I don’t imagine that I’m going to start holding back any time soon. I promise, I ain’t sayin’ nothin' but a word and this ride is sure to get a whole lot bumpier!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Two old people inspired a beautiful love story.

Some eight years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer. Subsequent surgeries made for a very lengthy recovery. She spent months in a nursing facility struggling to get back on her feet. Within weeks of her arrival she began to get visits from another patient. “The Mister” would wheel himself into her room every morning shortly after breakfast. He’d pull his wheelchair up beside her bed and there he would sit for the rest of the day. They were a strange pair, this elderly black woman and even older white man. And most interesting about the two of them was that they never spoke one word to each other. Not one single word.

At first we didn’t know what to make of the stranger who had attached himself to the old woman. But he seemed harmless enough and so we did what granny appeared to do. We ignored him. Family would come and go, moving around the room as if “The Mister” wasn’t there. He didn’t seem to mind, nor did he seem interested in connecting with anyone but granny. The two would sit together and watch television, enjoy their afternoon meals together and just before dinner, one of the nurses would come collect “The Mister” and take him back to his own room. The next morning he’d show up like clockwork.

This went on for weeks and then one morning “The Mister” didn’t show. By lunch time my granny became concerned and sent me in search of the old guy. It broke my heart to have to relay the news that the old man had passed away in his sleep the night before. I’ll never forget how she quietly nodded her head, rolled over on her side and spent the entire next week sleeping her time away. She never spoke of the old man again.

Until today.

Out of the blue, granny wheeled herself to the door of her hospital room and peered down the hall. I watched her for a few minutes eagerly searching for something and so I asked what it was she was looking for.

“The Mister. He’s rolling down the hall. I thought he might stop by.”

“Mama, the Mister was back at the other hospital. He’s not with us anymore. Remember?”

Then she gave me that look she gives me when I apparently don’t know what I’m talking about and she said, “He might not be here with you anymore, but “The Mister” is always here with me.”

Then she wheeled herself out of the room, headed toward the recreation room and “The Mister” who was waiting for her to arrive.

And so I wrote a love story.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I’m really starting to think that arranged marriages really aren’t a bad thing at all. There was something to parents sitting across a table and negotiating a union between their children. After all, whether they realize it or not, most times we do know best. SIGH

My baby boy has a new gal pal. The girl was sent straight from hell to haunt me. Yes, I said it and I have no earthly intentions of taking it back. Besides, both he and she know perfectly well how I feel about them together. They both know I would much prefer they not be. To say I haven’t bitten my tongue is putting it mildly.

This new friendship brought back memories of my oldest son when he brought his future wife home for us to meet. I didn’t like her either. But back then, he was still my baby too, and there wasn’t any girl that he brought home that I was going to take any kind of shine too. But that future Mrs. Mello had great potential under her rough and much-too-young exterior. That son also had a good head on his shoulders, had always made great choices for himself and I trusted his intuition. Time proved him right and me wrong. She turned out to be the perfect partner for him. Her potential blossomed exponentially and she is truly a magnificent individual. He couldn’t have done better if I had hand-picked her myself!

But this thing with my baby boy is a disaster waiting to implode big time. He trolled this cretin right out of the gutter and she has proven herself so unworthy that it will make for a great book as soon as I can move myself to write it. She comes with so much unpacked baggage that she could start her own luggage line down at the five and dime.

When I first became aware of their connection I didn’t say anything at all, hopeful it would run its course quickly. I also knew that the minute I said I didn’t like her baby boy would dig in his heels and hang on tighter. Time proved me right. It didn’t take a hot minute before Miss Hot-In-The-Pants went running back to her baby-daddy. Then the drama queen kicked her game into high gear, playing both boys like a cheap game of dominos. Since then she’s been bouncing back and forth between the two like a tennis ball in the middle of a Wimbledon match.

Baby boy has been threatened on more than one occasion by her ex-honey and his gun-toting, badge-wearing cronies. This She-Devil has him convinced that the decisions she’s making are to protect him from harm. He’s also afraid of what she’s convinced him the ex-honey will do to her if she doesn’t play these games with the two of them. And through all of this I can’t help but wonder why my child can’t see that he is being used and played like a ten cent banjo? Why doesn’t he know that he deserves better? Why doesn’t he understand that she is making the choices she is making because she wants to and she can, not that there is some unseen force making her? What is possessing him to settle for last year’s trash?

My very special friend pointed out that in matters of the heart folks aren’t always rational. I was happier believing that the boy was simply thinking with his little head and not the one wrapped around his brain. Then I had to acknowledge that for whatever reasons my baby’s heart is caught up in this mess. He actually believes he’s in love. And that single fact makes me even hotter. I see his first real heartbreak primed and ready to happen and it is everything I can do not to pull every single strand of cheaply dyed blond hair out of the little tramp’s oversized head.

I don’t see her sitting across from me at my Thanksgiving table. She won’t be but so safe if I’m in a room with her and I have a knife in my hand. It’s a good thing Thanksgiving is a few months away. With any luck, by the time the holidays get here, she will have moved on to Tom, Dick, or Harry for her entertainment since she seems to have so many issues being without a man in her life. I don’t want to see my son hurt but I will sleep better when Miss Thang moves herself permanently back to the hole she crawled out of and stays there for good.

So, anyone have a daughter with a dowry?

Friday, July 03, 2009


Make this a celebration to remember. Stir up some fireworks and have your selves one heck of a good time!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I’m on a diet. It’s not a “lifestyle” change because that’s not what I need. I needed something that would give me a good swift kick in my very wide derriere and jumpstart my weight loss. So my very special friend and I embarked on a “diet”. I won’t say which one because I don’t necessarily condone the philosophy of most “diets”. I will say though that this one is depriving me of the foods I love most and has put me in an evil frame of mind. What keeps me enduring though is my man proclaiming that he will last longer than I will and lose more weight than me. He knows my competitive spirit won’t allow me to back away from a challenge. Not even for the chicken fettucine I’ve been craving like crazy.

There is much going on in my life right now. I’ve seriously got my hands full and I am loving every minute of it. First on my list is the benefit fundraiser I’m hosting in August. I’ll give you more on that at a later date.

The other biggie on my list is my new company. It’s something I started some time back and eluded to once or twice in this space. Much like my writing though it’s a business I’ve let evolve slowly. I’m thrilled at how fast that growth has actually been. The business has undergone a number of transformations including two name changes and the loss of three potential “partners”. Folks ran fast when they realized it would be more work than profit in the beginning. But I’ve hung in, allowed my creative vision to do what it does best and JOI COUTURE is now thriving. So visit my new space for JOI COUTURE and let me know what you think!

Until then, eat some chocolate for me. I can’t until I’m down at least twenty pounds. One hundred pounds from now I’ll work on that lifestyle thing.