Friday, October 22, 2010


The ABC television show, Primetime: What Would You Do, puts paid actors in scenarios where they create awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes discriminatory situations to film the genuine reactions of passersby. Watching tonight, one story moved me to tears.

One of the actors, dressed as an intoxicated, homeless man, falls to the ground in the middle of a busy sidewalk. As he lay there pretending to be unconscious eighty-eight people walked by, barely giving the man a second glance. And then came, Miss Linda Hamilton.

Miss Linda has some age on her. She is black, disabled and also appears to be homeless. Miss Hamilton’s efforts to get help for the man are unsuccessful, the passers-by ignoring her as well. But Miss Hamilton persists. She refuses to leave the man’s side. She gives him a nickname, calling him “Billy”, humanizing the stranger lying on the street. She pleads to people passing by to please call for an ambulance but no one does. Frustration and discouragement are painted all over Miss Linda’s face. It is finally passer-by number 115 who finally stops and dials 911.

Miss Linda’s efforts to help the homeless man were genuine. Miss Linda is a shining example of the person we all should try to be. Miss Linda showed that it shouldn’t matter who you are, that you should always show kindness and compassion whenever and wherever you can. Miss Linda is my role model.


I try not to get caught up reading reviews of my books. And although I may try hard, I sometimes can’t help but want to know what readers have to say about something I’ve written. Most especially when I’m in the midst of a series and trying to finish a sequel to a previous book. It kind of helps to know what readers loved and what they didn’t.

My very first book review had the potential to end my writing career before it even started. The reviewer essentially hinted that I might not want to give up my day job. I didn’t, but not because I didn’t think that I could write or be successful at it. I understood from the review that I just needed to bring more to the table if I was going to get it right. Numerous accolades and an award later, I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

Recently I read the following review from a reader who identified herself as “Keepin’ It Real”. She had much to say about my last book, Promises To A Stallion. Her review wasn’t negative but one line struck a nerve.

"I get sick of the "billionaire" Stallion story line, as it’s so annoyingly unrealistic, but it’s a story and if she wants her readers to get caught up in the fantasy realm so be it.”

SIGH! All I could think was she so nailed that one. Don’t get me wrong. I love my Stallion boys. I love their individuality, their respective styles, everything. But I do hate that everything about them has to be so over the top, so annoyingly unrealistic, that Nancy-Next Door can’t fathom that kind of relationship for herself. I hate it so much that writing Stallion Heat, brother Matthew’s story, proved to be particularly difficult. I’m still on the fence about the finished product.

I do want my readers to get caught up, but I want them to get caught up in the magnificent possibility of finding an amazing love and life partner. Let’s be honest. Black men who are billionaires are hardly a dime a dozen, nor does your average black female have the opportunity to hobnob with one. When writing Promises To A Stallion I got slammed by the powers in charge for making the story too realistic. I was told that the discussions between the characters were too every day. The powers didn’t want every day. Travis Stallion, the hero, needed to not only have more wealth but he needed to flaunt it more as well. I whole-heartedly disagreed. I won’t say either of us, the powers or me, was happy with the compromise.

I know that some readers like the fantasy of that which might be unattainable. I also know just as many would like to see a damn good story with a regular Joe stepping up to the plate and being just a really great guy. iIt's mixing the real with the not. Balancing the dynamics of both is proving to be my newest challenge.

And just a quick footnote: The above image was done by Ryohei Hase, an illustrator out of Tokyo Japan. Ryohei specializes in realistic fantasy art. Cowgirl is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


One of my favorite writers/bloggers shared this on his facebook page. It brought to mind some of the comments I've heard lately about Will and Jada Smith's young daughter Willow, and her new song/video - Whip My Hair. A few folks aren't feeling Willow's hairdo, feeling it is clearly a hair don't. Mama Jada let her shave the side of her head and baby girl is rocking her tresses in her own way. I've got mad respect for a nine, about to be ten -year old who doesn't feel any need to conform to what everybody else thinks her hair should look like. It's her style and she rocks it with a level of confidence that some women three, four, even five times her age have never been able to master. On one recent interview both she and her mother commented that "it was just hair".

I've boo-hooed my fair share of bad hair experiences here before. Even now, I'm torn between what to do or not do with my hair. It has grown out again, just beginning to brush past my shoulders and now I'm bored with it.

I've done the weaves, the braids, the perms, au natural, and some styles that would scare the bejesus out of Madusa. Thinking back though, one of my all-time favorite hairdos happened the summer I was fifteen. My mother, in one of her off-beat moments, got creative with my hair. My shoulder-length strands were cornrowed up on the sides, banded down the center of my head with multi-colored rubber bands and the loose ends then curled back in a mohawk that outdid mohawks. I absolutely loved it!

At the family reunion there was no end to the comments that were made about my hair. The one that stuck most in my head came from an older relative, now deceased, who told me to take that mess out of my head. Apparently, it wasn't as refined or as socially acceptable as she thought it should be. Subsequently, when school started, my tresses were bone straight, pulled back into my requisite cute-girl ponytail.

To this very day I still fall back to that bone-straight, ponytail. It works, even when it doesn't work. So pondering my own hair don't, this Sesame Street video made me smile. This was definitely my feel good moment of the day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I have been purposely enacting change for months now. Change in how I handle difficult situations. Change in how I deal with difficult people. Change in my quality of life. Change, whole-heartedly, different from what I have ever known before. It has been like a free fall, exhilarating and damn scary.

Then tragedy stuck. It came on the heels of loss. Loss so significant, that I was left to re-evaluate every aspect of my own life. And then I had a light bulb moment, one so monumental that when it hit, it knocked me right off my feet.

Life is short. Tomorrow is not promised to us. Which is why making the most out of today is monumentally important. And though it is so easy to say, it is not necessarily easy to accomplish because life will inevitably get in the way.

I have a good friend who has invested an unfathomable amount of energy in being angry. Angry at her current situation. Angry at family and friends. Anger so pervasive that it has taken full and complete control over her entire life. Her anger prevents her from making the most out of her days and subsequently each and every day for her is filled with far too many regrets. Some of those regrets are inevitable. Others, not so much. For me, enacting change was necessary to stall my own anger and keep me from having too many regrets.

Making the conscious decision to live one’s life differently comes with a multitude of pressure. It also comes with much responsibility. I thrive under pressure. I’m really not big on responsibility. Discovering such about myself has been enlightening.

Change manifests more change. The doors are wide open and I take much delight in stepping over to the other side to see what opportunities might be out there for me. I have a good friend I hope will take the walk with me. She needs a good free fall.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010



God looked around his garden
And found an empty place,
He then looked down upon the earth
And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you
And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough
And the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids
And whispered, ‘Peace bethine’.
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.

Rest in peace, cousin. You will be missed.