Monday, January 30, 2012


He was a man of means who led a simple life.  And despite the jobs he may have done, or the titles he might have held, he was first and foremost a father and a husband.  And it was what he did in those two roles that will be the most lasting vestige of his life.  
He was a man of great faith, respecting the high priority God put on his role as a husband and a father.  And it was what he gave to his family that defined the enormous impact he had on those who loved him best. 

His success is evident in the children that carry on his name.  His sons and daughters understand the value of an education and the importance of hard work.  They know sacrifice and persistence, possessing impeccable work ethics.  And they know that family and their unwavering faith in God has been the cornerstone of all their accomplishments.   They live the lessons their father taught, passing his wisdom down their family tree.

His daughter recently paid tribute with words of love that moved me to tears, writing--

Prayers went up and blessings came down.  God asked me how bad did I want this and I held up my hands, closed my eyes and started to walk by faith and not by sight.  When most kids were catching rides, he bought me a new car, gave me a home to house my family to make nursing school easier for me.  There were at home bible lessons for me, then years later for my daughters.  It was an honor to give up one of my jobs to take on my most important RN role, caring for my daddy.  Once in a life time when you have unconditional love, you know your purpose because God clearly orders your steps.  All that you have is nothing because you have only one reason to fight, a million reasons to not let go.  You said you were tired and I begged you to keep going.  You said you were in pain and I begged you to endure.  Procedure after procedure, pain after pain, you did it for us and in the end, we did it for you.  You are the best.  I will remember your lessons -   "Daughter, all that glitters ain’t gold.  Watch who you keep around you, everyone smiling in your face ain’t your friend.  Stay on guard because every shut eye ain’t sleep.  Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.  Lean only on God’s word and my favorite, remember every goodbye ain’t gone. " So with that I will see you later, dad.  You beat cancer, you are finally free.  When you told me you saw Jesus I realized that letting go didn’t mean giving up, it meant placing you in better hands.  I love you, Daddy.  Rest in peace. (Tawana Harrison)

He is gone from us now, much loved and forever remembered.  And the greatest lesson he has taught all of us is that those lives that you mark at home; whether it's by your involvement positively or your neglect negatively, will be the lasting legacy of your life.

I am in awe of the legacy that that my dear cousin has left behind. 

Rest in peace, Robert Lee Fletcher, Jr.
 January 29, 1953 - January 28, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I eavesdrop on a lot of conversations.  It’s a bad habit of sorts but eavesdropping on some verbal exchanges helps me determine how some of my characters may or may not interact with one another.  It gives me material to pull from when I have to write those verbal interactions. 
Today, as I shopped my favorite store, I couldn’t help overhearing an exchange between a group of young women.  Young being old enough to know better.  They were lamenting men and fathers and sperm donors---  "baby daddy" being the term of choice.  One of them was bemoaning her boyfriend’s other lover forcing her child into the neat little package that was now his life.  The current girlfriend had issues with him and his responsibilities. 

One of her friends had the audacity to comment that were that man stepping up to the plate to be a decent father and take responsibility for the child that was his child, then that baby’s mama wouldn’t have to force anything on any of them.  After their terse discussion I didn’t get the impression that the two women would continue to be friends. 

It made me revisit my book The Right Side Of Love.  There was a father in that story who didn’t want to be a father until it served his own personal needs.  The main character was a woman who didn’t force him to be responsible for his son, not wanting to be that kind of woman.  This father turned his back on his family, moved cross country and suddenly set down roots with a new wife and new kids, proving himself to be quite the paternal figure, all the while ignoring that he had another child who also needed him.   It was one of my best books and, of course, there was a very happy ending.

The young woman with the issues couldn’t seem to grasp that if her man could so easily dismiss one child, then her own children with him might not stand a fighting chance.  Heaven forbid if her children might one day have need of a father and his new woman needed him not to be. 

Her friend tried to make her understand that if the boyfriend were half the man she thought him to be then he would be gladly making himself emotionally and financially accessible to all of his children, their well-being first and foremost in his heart.  She stressed again and again that it should only have been about his child, who didn’t ask to be born in the midst of all their mess. 

But girlfriend wasn’t hearing any of it.  As long as her man was playing daddy when she needed him to, she wasn’t concerned about any of his other offspring.  She couldn’t comprehend wanting better for herself, and more importantly, wanting a better example of a man for her own children to one day admire, respect and emulate.

Sadly, for her, having a small piece of a man was better than not having a man at all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


It was a rough start to the day.  A wild night left me with little sleep.  Then my rest was disturbed by the loud thump of a teen’s rude stereo.  Crude rap should not be the first sound heard on a beautiful Sunday morning.  To make up for it the kid gave me ten minutes of gospel and I was appeased.  Then the day improved significantly. 
I caught up on some writing while the men were off doing men things.  It was quality alone time.  Then I was in the mindset to go prowl the stores to buy myself something pretty.  But it was cold outside and I don’t like cold.  So I decided instead to stay inside and make a pot of homemade soup. 
I made the meatballs first.  Ground beef with just the hint of breadcrumbs and an egg, then seasoned to perfection and rolled into picture-perfect orbs.  While those were browning in the oven I caramelized an onion in my cast iron soup pot, adding a crushed clove of garlic, julienned carrots and diced celery.  When those onions were translucent and ready, I threw in two bunches of fresh, organic spinach and tossed them just until they were wilted.  After adding eight cups of chicken broth, two freshly diced tomatoes, a few ounces of elbow macaroni and a spattering of seasonings I left the whole pot to simmer slowly atop the stove.  Twenty minutes later I tossed in those browned meatballs and soup was ready.
The meal was complete with grilled cheddar cheese and tomato sandwiches on thick, crusty whole grain bread and deep glasses of rich, red merlot.
Now I’m curled up beneath my favorite blanket with a new book, Bernice L. McFadden’s latest release Gathering of Waters, while brownies are cooling on the counter.  I am certain that after a few chapters, a decadent dessert, and a large mug of hot chocolate tea, my day will end on a note of sheer perfection. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


 “Hot damn!” she cursed, swimming back to where Malisa now stood.  “When are these people going to put some heat in this water?”
Malisa laughed.  “You know it’s cold for only the first few minutes, Mama.  They’ll have you sweating up a storm before you know it.”
Miss Etta grunted, rolling her eyes.  Before she could comment further the familiar faces that made up the early morning class dropped into the water to join them.
Malisa and her mother both smiled and nodded their hellos as people began to greet them.  Both women didn’t miss that Irene Hill was the only one who didn’t have anything to say, not even bothering to look in their direction.  Miss Etta had had just about enough of Irene’s rude behavior and it wouldn’t take much more for her to say so, she thought. 
“Let me tell you a story,” Miss Etta started, leaning against her daughter’s shoulder.  “Now we done told you a dozen or more times about how your Daddy and I met up but I don’t remember if I ever told you about me and Beau Hill.”
Malisa shook her head.  “No, I don’t think you did.”
“Well,” the woman started.  “Before I met and married Gattis, Beau Hill used to chase after me like a chubby kid chases cake.  This was before he was married to Miss Irene over there.”  She gestured at the woman with her head and a raised eye.  Wasn’t my fault old Beau was all worked up over me.  I just had it going on like that!” 
She grinned and winked at Malisa as she continued.  “But it didn’t take me long to figure out that Beau wasn’t worth my energy, so I had to let him go.  Hard!  You would have thought I’d broken up with Irene the way she be actin’.  The woman still burns hot with spite that I had him before she did!”
Malisa chuckled, her head waving from side to side.  “And then you met Daddy?”
"That rights.  See, what Beau had to offer didn’t amount to more than a bland frankfurter with no bun.  Two bites and you were done with it, the taste not even lingering against your tongue.  I like a man who comes with the works: chili, spice, onion, and slaw.  A man who leaves you wishing you had ordered just one more of him with a side of fries and a thick milkshake.  Your daddy was like that, a full meal with leftovers!”
Malisa laughed heartily.
“And Gabriel Whitman, well, daughter, know it when I tell you, that man is an all-you-can-eat buffet special with free sweet tea and banana pudding for dessert.  He’ll keep you fed and fed well for a good long time,” she said with another wink of her eye.  “This is not an opportunity you want to pass up, Malisa.”
She started to move toward the center of the pool as she tossed one last look in Irene’s direction.  “Irene’s problem,” Etta concluded, laughing softly as she propelled herself through the water, Malisa trailing behind her, “is she needs to slip out and get herself a real meal instead of settling for that snack she’s married to.”  Excerpt from Her Holiday Gifts by Deborah Fletcher Mello

Thursday, January 05, 2012


It doesn’t seem possible that it has been four years since I introduced the Stallion men, the four billionaire brothers out of Dallas, Texas.  Oldest brother John Stallion’s story was the first, told in my book, To Love A Stallion.  Since then two additional brothers and a cousin have had their stories told.
I really loved the first two brothers.  John was like a fine drink of wine on a summer’s night when Marvin Gaye done got you hot, buck naked, and thirsty for something you didn’t even know you needed.  Then came brother Mark in my book Tame A Wild Stallion.  Mark was more rum punch in the desert heat with Wyclef Jean guiding your shimmy, and a hard body grinding you at your best friend’s blue light basement party.  Brothers Mark and John I liked very, very much!
I struggled with the next brother.  He was the baby.  By the time I finished Luke’s story, Lost In A Stallion’s Arms, I was feeling him more but with his youthful exuberance he was still very much an anomaly to me.  Luke was like The Fresh Prince and Summertime, young and impulsive, fun and fearless.  He was one of those devilish drinks, Sex On The Beach, Slow Comfortable Screw, Fuzzy Dick, or maybe a Piece of Ass, in a large plastic cup with a cute little umbrella in it. 
The Stallions had a cousin tossed into the mix, Travis Stallion, whose story Promises To A Stallion, was one of my favorites.  Travis had more maturity for my blood.  He was military and I absolutely adore a man in uniform.  Travis was a hot cup of coffee with a double shot of rum on a cold night and a very tall Long Island Iced Tea when it’s warm outside.  Travis had me trippin’ on Tyrese, Joe, and Jaheim.  Travis just had me trippin’!”
And now I’m thrilled to introduce the last brother’s story.  Seduced By A Stallion will be released on April 17th and will kick off a very good year for the Stallion family.  There will be two Stallion stories this year, the second, Forever A Stallion, coming in August and the introduction of their extended family.  And three, count ‘em, three books coming in 2013!
Matthew’s story challenged me in a very good way.  Matthew is the most conservative out of the four Stallion brothers.  With his Harvard law degree he’s accustomed to doing things a certain way.  He’s a 25-year-old scotch, refined and proper without being stuffy.  As cool as a glass of Courvoisier after a prime rib and lobster dinner.  He is old school slick like Otis Redding, Al Green, Bill Withers and Sam Cooke and as fine as an expensive aged wine. 
So preorder your copy now!  I can’t wait for you to read about Matthew.  And I can't wait for his story and the return of my darling Stallion men to get here!