Monday, April 30, 2012


How cool is this! The cover for the anthology All I Want Is You is a finalist in the contemporary category of Cover Cafe's annual romance cover contest.  The anthology contains my story, Her Holiday Gifts, one of my favorite short stories of all time. 

The cover contest will open for voting this Wednesday, May 2nd. Readers will be able to vote for two weeks, from May 2nd to May 16th and the contest organizers hope to announce the winners in early June.

All I Want Is You is up against some stiff competition because there were some really great covers produced last year, but I think we'll have a winning chance if everyone VOTES HERE!!

Thanks in advance for the support!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


This past week I was in Little Rock, Arkansas for the 2012 ROMANCE SLAM JAM.  Romance Slam Jam is the premiere writing conference for authors and fans of multi-cultural romance.  It was started by Miss Emma Rodgers, Miss Ashira Tosihwe and Miss Francis Ray in 1995, the trio wanting to acknowledge what author Nikki Giovanni described as “The Power, Passion and Pain of Black Love.” 

Talk about a good time!  Not only was I able to meet icons whose works I've loved and admired for many years, but book fans and author friends who reminded me why I love writing what I write.  The event was informative, with workshops and author sessions galore.  I reconnected with some old pals and made a host of new friends.  I left with a whole other appreciation for what I do, how I do it, and those that are doing it with me.

Historically, romance has been written by women, but with time and change, men are now able and willing to toss their collective hats into the mix and give readers love stories from their perspective.  It was an honor to meet what I've coined, The Fabulous Five, authors Wayne Jordan, Keith Thomas Walker, Sean Russell, Earl Sewell, and Norwood Holland and to discover what they think and feel about writing romance.  Norwood Holland, a freelance writer and attorney out of Washington, DC wrote a wonderful ARTICLE about his experience for which I just had to share.

So, with everyone back home, we are all energized, inspired, and writing!  I'm already planning for next year's Slam Jam and believe me when I tell you, I can't wait!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I’m writing at the airport.  My flight from Little Rock, Arkansas to Dallas has been delayed due to the wave of storms bruising the country. 
Airports are interesting places, a menagerie of personalities passing from point A to point B.  I watch families clinging to each other as they say goodbye.  And couples wrapped in deep embraces when one is returning from being gone.  Then there are always the kids, many an awe of their surroundings, holding tight to parental hands.  This morning there was a little guy in costume although I had no understanding of his pig nose, the batman pajama bottoms and doctor’s smock for a coat.  But he was happy with laughter and it made me smile.
Many are consumed by their schedules or change in schedules on this particular day.  I understand the frenzy because when I travel I am obsessed with the timing of everything.  I must arrive early enough to not feel rushed.  Heaven forbid I have to run to a departure gate in the wrong cute traveling shoes.  Then for me, there is always the issue of my motion sickness.  Dramamine and valium are evil necessities that keep me smiling and my stomach from heaving midflight.  The taking of that Dramamine must be timed just so and since I typically travel on an empty stomach, prepping for five hours of travel with nothing to eat is vastly different from knowing that I will have to travel for an excess of twelve hours.  There was a time I had it all down to a science, no anxiety whatsoever when I had to fly domestically and internationally every other week or so for business.  But that was many years ago and I’ve discovered that my rhythm is just slightly off kilter.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard that pre-recorded message to be wary of unattended baggage and persons who look suspicious.  Heck, for all I know, after being here since the wee hours of the morning I am probably starting to look suspicious!  I know I have my eye on one or two.
A gregarious gentleman stood in line behind me as we patiently waited for airport personnel to deal with an overbooked flight, offering substantial flight vouchers for volunteers to extend their stay here at the airport instead of traveling to their final destinations.  He laughed, noting that he would have taken the direct flight home if the expense of such hadn’t been so costly.  I laughed with him and responded that at the rate things were going he’d probably be on that flight anyway at a fraction of the cost.  There have been many who have been anxious for conversation, sharing their stories, the trials of their traveling dilemmas, and the requisite jokes and laughter that can come when sharing  one's self with people they do not know.
Despite the inconvenience of it all I’m excited.  Even though I’ve had a wonderful week with incredible friends I’ve missed my guy and our routines together.  I can’t wait for the deep embrace that will be waiting there to welcome me back.  I can't wait to be going back home.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


They called him Jewel.  Lean and lanky with weathered hands and salt and pepper hair, he was neatly attired in his guest services uniform.  I had an issue that needed resolving.  I sought help from three persons on the hotel’s staff and each pointed me in Jewel’s direction.  I posed my question and he paused for a brief moment as he contemplated resolutions.  Then with a quick nod and a shy smile, he gestured with his index finger for me to follow him.

It was a short two block ride through downtown Little Rock.  He shifted from rescuer to tour guide and historian, pointing out the architecture.  His Southern drawl was comfortable and easy, like flannel fabric on a cold night.  His laugh was contagious and abundant, something found when I had not even known it was missing.
In our brief encounter I heard a story of land and service, of generosity and blessings.  My spirit was nourished and a weight of sadness was lifted from my shoulders.  I felt renewed.  Problem resolved, he returned me to our starting point and wished me a day of abundance.
When I thanked him, it was for far more than he will ever realize.  Jewel was a true gem.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


April 15, 1915 – April 2, 2012

Elizabeth Catlett, renowned sculptor and artist, whose depictions of social issues and the politics of gender, race and deprivation made her one of the 20th century’s most important artists, died on Monday at her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  She was 96-years old.
In 2001 I had the honor of meeting Ms. Elizabeth Catlett at an art event here in North Carolina.  With a career that had spanned over five decades, she gave a lively presentation sprinkled with anecdotes and memories of the events that had inspired her work over the years, work that honored the strength and dignity of Black women.
In the fall of 1932, fresh out of high school, Elizabeth Catlett showed up at the School of Fine and Applied Arts of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, having been awarded a prestigious full scholarship there. But she was turned away when it was discovered that she was “colored.”  She returned to her home in Washington to attend Howard University.
Seventy-six years later, that same institution that had rejected her, now Carnegie Mellon University, awarded her an honorary doctorate in recognition of a lifetime’s work as a sculptor and printmaker.  By then, after decades of living and making art in Mexico, she’d known a wealth of rejection.  And she had known even more success.
During my encounter with Ms. Catlett I recall her saying that “art made her happy” and had been a “significant part of fulfilling her life”.  For me, she epitomized how we can triumph over adversity by staying true to who we are and what we love.
Ms. Catlett is survived by her sons, film director Juan Mora Catlett, jazz drummer Francisco Mora Catlett, and David Mora Catlett; 10 grandchildren, including granddaughter Naima Mora of America’s Next Top Model fame; and six great-grandchildren.   My condolences to her family and friends.