Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I am blessed to have an amazing group of sister-author-friends. Warrior women who do what I do and who understand that sometimes we have the best job in the whole wide world and sometimes this literary life can be pure hell. Some of those connections are solely through social media. Others I’ve met in person and I enjoy those times when we can commiserate face to face. And one or two have become regular drinking buddies.

We keep abreast of each other’s activities. We follow up on each other’s children and families. We cheer each other on. We shake pom-poms on book release dates. We exchange tips and writing advice. We genuinely want to see each other excel and we regularly lift each other up in prayer.

It was not always this way. I’ve been published since December 2003 and finding like-minded individuals proved a challenge. I wasn’t about the bickering and cattiness reminiscent of today’s ratchet reality shows. I didn’t last long in those groups that only wanted to make Oprah’s book club list and didn’t care who they dragged down, stepped on, or stabbed in the back trying to get there. Women who couldn’t fathom that we could accomplish more together than we could ever accomplish tearing each other down. I am grateful that those days are behind me.

Writing is a solitary occupation. Authors spend much time in worlds of their own making. Workplace relationships are far and few when you’re the only one in the office. So, this is a shout out to those phenomenal women who’ve been my battle buddies along this magnificent journey. They know who they are and they know I have much love for them all.

Being able to connect to women I can call friends, who do what I do, has been a blessing and I am grateful.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Welcome to Day 11 of the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour!
Today, we're reading author Suzetta Perkins.
Leave your answer on Suzetta's blog for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.
All answers must be left by 10 PM tonight.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


It's day ten or the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour and
it's author Loretta R. Wells' turn to bring the steam and heat!
Leave an answer on Loretta's blog before 10 pm est. tonight for your chance to win a prize!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


It's Day Nine of the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour and we're visiting with author Nikkea Sharee!
Leave an answer on Nikkea's blog for a chance to win an Amazon gift card! 
All posts must be made by 10 p.m. est 12/10/2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


It's the 8th day of our Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour 
and today we're with Author Altonya Washington!

Visit Altonya's blog for your chance to win an Amazon gift card. 
Answers must be left by 10 PM Est!

Monday, December 08, 2014



It's Day 7 of our Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour and we're visiting with author Suzette Riddick!

Leave an answer on Suzette's blog site by 10 PM Est for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Sunday, December 07, 2014


I'm so excited to be a part of the NAUGHTY OR NICE BOOK BLOG TOUR. And it gives me great pleasure to give you the first peek at my next release, PLAYING WITH FIRE. Available from Dafina books on February 24, 2015, wherever books are sold, PLAYING WITH FIRE is the first in my two-book Sultry Southern Nights series. ENJOY this excerpt and please, PRE-ORDER your copy today!

Romeo Marshall is over six feet of cool, smooth, hot, southern seductiveness--just like the music at his popular Raleigh club, The Playground Jazz and Blues Bar. With his beloved mother gone and no father he's ever known, the business is Romeo's everything. It's a place where anything can happen--and the evening one gorgeous young woman and one intriguing old musician walk into the bar--and into Romeo's life--it does. There's something about high-powered, down-to-the earth Taryn Williams that captures Romeo's attention like no other woman has. Yet unanswered questions from his past seem to hold him back from real commitment. For Romeo to move forward in love, he'll have to learn some devastating truths--and James "Piano Man" Burdett is there to teach him. And with Taryn's help, Romeo just may accept that like music, life sometimes needs to be improvised. . .

Thank you to everyone who participated in our book blog tour.
Taryn turned off Duraleigh Road and pulled her Mercedes into the parking lot of the Harris Teeter shopping center. Shutting down the engine, she heaved one last sigh, determined to get her head back on track. She took a quick glance down to her watch. It was late but she hoped they hadn’t yet taken down the salad bar. There wasn’t an ounce of food in her refrigerator at home and she wanted something to eat that didn’t have to do with her ordering at the drive-through window at McDonald’s.

Once inside, Taryn wasn’t surprised to discover she was hours too late. The late night produce clerk, a long, lean drink of chocolate with dreads down to his shoulders, apologized profusely, but he eagerly made suggestions, sharing a host of his quick and easy favorite recipes. His enthusiasm made her smile as he flirted shamelessly.

“I could come cook for you when I get off,” the young man said, his eyes narrowed as he studied her intently. “I’m a great cook.”

Taryn laughed, the gesture easing the stress she’d been feeling. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why not, ma?”

She shook her head. “How old are you?”

“Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, beautiful. In fact, I’m writing a book about relationships between older women and younger men. How it’s all about the physical and emotional connection and nothing at all to do with the age difference between them.”

Taryn laughed out loud. “Sounds intriguing, but the answer is still no. Besides,” she said, with a flip of her hand, “I’m not that much older than you are.”

The young man laughed as well, tossing her a quick wink. “Well, if you change your mind you know where to find me,” he said as he proceeded to unpack a box of fresh spinach, loading it onto the cold shelf.

Nodding her appreciation, Taryn headed in the opposite direction and the frozen food section. Clearly, dinner was going to be gourmet microwave in a box. As she stood in front of the freezer door debating between the meat loaf and the chicken tetrazzini, she didn’t see the man who’d turned into the aisle from the other direction. But Romeo Marshall saw her.

Romeo had left the club earlier than normal. It had been a slow night, affording him the opportunity to head home for some much needed sleep. Also in need of a loaf of bread and a bag of potato chips, he had headed to the late night supermarket.

He stood eyeing her rear view. She was dressed in a form-fitting gold-toned silk suit. The designer jacket was fitted, cinching slightly at the waist, and the pants tapered to a flattering length at her ankles. She stood on five-inch, red-bottomed heels. Her hair was pulled up into a loose chignon atop her head, and for the first time he noted the small tattoo that decorated the back of her neck. She suddenly pulled open the freezer door and bent forward, leaning inside as she reached for something on the bottom shelf. Her lush backside reminded him of two nicely sized melons filling her slacks. A smile pulled wide and full across his face.

As she stood back up, reading the back of a food container, he moved to her side, clearing his throat to announce his presence. Taryn jumped, suddenly startled as she turned toward him. As she met his gaze he licked his lips ever so slightly, the gesture salacious and teasing without any effort on his part. She gasped, her eyes widening in surprise.

“Well, hello,” Romeo said, his deep tone a loud whisper.

“Hi,” Taryn answered, her gaze dancing swiftly over the space he filled.

He extended his hand toward her. “Romeo Marshall. I don’t know if you remember me or not, but we met the other night when you were at the club with my friend Roberta.”

She nodded. “Actually, we didn’t meet. Not officially. But I know who you are.”

Romeo nodded slightly as he acknowledged her comment. He took a deep breath, holding it for a brief moment. “You’re right, we weren’t properly introduced, which is why I wanted to say hello and introduce myself,” he said, still waiting for her to shake his hand.

Taryn finally eased her fingers against his, watching as they disappeared beneath his firm touch. A wave of heat suddenly coursed up her spine and she felt the air catch in her chest. “Taryn. Taryn Williams,” she muttered, fighting to catch her breath.

Romeo smiled, light shimmering in his dark eyes. “It’s nice to meet you, Taryn Williams. Officially, this time.”

There was an awkward pause as the two stood staring at each other. It was unusually quiet, the store practically empty in the late night hour. The hum of the cooler units behind them was a low, dull drone that seemed to amplify the uncomfortable silence wafting between them.

Taryn took another deep breath, finally speaking first. “Well, I need to be going. It was nice meeting you too, Mr. Marshall.”

Romeo smiled. “I hope we run into each other again. Or maybe you’ll stop by the Playground sometime soon?”

She nodded. “Maybe,” she said, her soft voice an easy lull in the space. “I’m sure I will.”

Romeo nodded. “Good. I look forward to seeing you again. Well, have a good night,” he said as he eased past her and moved down the aisle. He tossed her one last look over his shoulder, his smile still brightening his face.

As he disappeared from sight Taryn released the breath she’d been holding. She leaned back against the freezer doors, her knees suddenly quivering with excitement. She felt like a teenager facing her high school crush for the first time. The sensation surprised and unnerved her. She took a deep breath and then a second to stall the emotion sweeping over her. When her nerves were calmed she headed toward the register.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


Welcome to Day Five of the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour! 
Today we're visiting with three teens published by Brown Girls Publishing
 who are all giving us one great holiday read!

Leave an answer by 10 PM Est for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Friday, December 05, 2014


It's Day Four of the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour and we're visiting with author Angie Daniels!

Leave an answer on Angie's Weekly Digest by 10 PM Est for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Thursday, December 04, 2014


Check out Day Three of the Naughty or Nice Book Blog Tour with author Cheris Hodges!

Leave an answer on Cheris' website by 10 PM Est for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Check out Day Two of the Naughty or Nice Tour with author Cassandra Baker Durham!

Leave an answer on Cassandra's website by 10 PM Est for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Monday, December 01, 2014


Check out Day One of the Naughty or Nice Tour with author Iris Bolling!

Leave an answer on Iris Bolling's blog for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


So, I’m on writing hiatus. I needed a break, some serious time away. The last week has been a non-plotting, non-spellchecking, non-#wheretoplantakiss thinking week. And I desperately needed it. I used the time to catch up on some reading. Well into the first book I realized how much I missed reading. I know that moving forward I need to do a better job of scheduling reading time between the writing times.

I started my reading revelry with The Sound of My Life bySuzette R. Hinton. It’s the inspiring, autobiographical journey of Ms. Hinton’s quest to find her voice. Through personal insights, using the analogy of sound, her story encourages everyone to examine their lives and tune into the sound of their authentic voice. It was eye-opening, a quick read, and indicative of the author’s energy and spirit.
I moved on to As I Live and Breathe by Cassandra BakerDurham. I absolutely adore Cassandra and consider her a friend so I was excited for this story and it did not disappoint. It’s the story of a young woman’s healing journey as she survives kidnapping and rape and regains her life, learning to love again. The story is grounded on a foundation of family and faith and was a delightful read.

My next book was Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith. New to the publishing game, this is Mr. Smith’s first book and he has clearly made his literary mark! It was a gripping political suspense thriller, profoundly thought-provoking with a plot that was unique, dark and disturbing. I loved it!

I then took three days to catch up on Jasmine Cox Larson Bush and Rachel Jackson Adams. Authors Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShondaBillingsley have done it again with their third collaboration Fortune & Fame, reminding us why we love these church first ladies. Although I’m not quite sure I like Rachel. Just when I think I do she does something that grates on my nerves! It took me three days because I decided to re-read Sinners & Saints when I realized I hadn’t read the second installment Friends & Foes. It was great reading that kept me smiling. For me, when it comes to faith-based writing these two women lead the pack.

Last night I closed the book on SINergy by Iris Bolling. This one had me ignoring Big Daddy, MeeMi’s sweet baby, and a long list of things I needed to accomplish. This is the first book in her Brooks Family Values series and all I can say is I love everything about this this family. Iris brought some serious drama topped with some steamy passion. Adept at painting a detailed picture for her readers, I can already see this one on the big screen!

Walter Mosley’s Rose Gold is next on my reading list. After that I want to read Driven by the Drama by Val Daye. Then it’s back to the writing grind. I have to start thinking about my meeting my next deadline. Until then, I plan to thoroughly enjoying my hiatus. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I once told an artist friend that her work couldn't sell if she didn't ever show it. I need to take my own advice. I love to paint. It relieves my stress and helps me to write. One of my most favorite people in the whole wide world use to encourage my efforts. I use to love being her student. I aspire to one day be as good. So, here it all is and it's for SALE!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


I have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. They are part of my marketing strategy and keep me connected to friends, family, and book fans. Since I stepped up my participation I’ve been “friended” by a number of men. Most are respectful, no malice or ill-intent associated with their connecting. A very select few have actually become great friends that I have much respect for.

Several have “messaged” me to tell me how pretty or beautiful I am. One or two have asked to be “good” friends, wanting to converse about my likes and their own interests. Two men out of Africa were hoping to find a wife. And one or two individuals have just wanted to be my sugar daddy or in one case he was looking for a sugar mama. Typically, once I make it clear that I have a Big Daddy and neither they nor I will ever disrespect my favorite guy, we have no problems.

And then there is that one. I connected with this person on Facebook and only after seeing that he was “friends” with others I was associated with. His first message was nondescript, a simple “hello”. My response was short and sweet, hello back and a line of appreciation for connecting. After that I ignored most of his messages since he didn’t seem capable of taking the hint that I wasn’t interested in what he was offering. And since his messages weren’t frequent I mostly forgot that he existed. Until today.

Today he messaged me with one word: SLUT. Did this fool really just call me a SLUT? And here is where I had some issues.

This man clearly doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know that on the wrong day had he been standing in front of me when he uttered that word that he might have actually lost a testicle. He doesn’t know that my own tongue can be viperous and I would have had no problems verbally castrating him. He doesn’t have a clue that I’m the wrong woman he would want to disrespect because I no longer sit passively by and allow a man to throw barbs at me for his own selfish pleasure. I’m not the woman he wants to play that game with. He will lose and in ways that he can’t begin to fathom.

But then, I wanted to know more about this individual who didn’t think twice about calling me out of my name and so I went to his Facebook page. He is located in the Middle East. His page is filled with racist propaganda against women and others not of his religion. Most of his postings needed to translated and truth be told, knowing what is going on in the world today, his rhetoric might be considered suspect.

We are no longer “friends”. I have blocked him completely but not before sharing one last short and sweet message with him.

I am a wife and mother and grandmother. I love God and although I sometimes struggle with my faith and occasionally fall short, I strive to live a virtuous life. I am a writer. I love what I do and I work hard to do it well. My husband and my sons would not appreciate you calling me a SLUT, any more than you would like some stranger calling your mother or your sister or your wife a bad name. Then again, you might not care. Keep your testicle…this time. Next time trust that you might not be so lucky.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


In February of this year Ray Rice, a 27-year old professional football player with the Baltimore Ravens assaulted his fiancĂ©e, Janay Palmer, in a hotel elevator. Rice was arrested and subsequently indicted for third-degree aggravated assault.  Not long after Rice and Palmer were married, Rice entered a pretrial diversionary program, avoiding jail time and the NFL gave Rice a two-game suspension for his bad behavior.

After initial outrage over what many deemed a simple slap on the wrist, the league subsequently revised its policy regarding how it will handle future domestic violence cases. And then video tape of the incident became available to the public. People were outraged to see Palmer punched so viciously and the NFL had to do some serious back pedaling. Rice’s contract was subsequently terminated and the NFL has suspended him indefinitely.
Comments on social media have run the gamut. Some have said Palmer deserved it for provoking Rice. Others believe castration would be a more fitting punishment than suspension. Everyone and their mother has tossed in their two-cents expressing everything from support to outrage and moral indignation.

I personally do not believe that was the first time Rice has hit Palmer. Nor was it the last. Like many women in abusive relationships Palmer has since come to the defense of her man, claiming the media is at fault for blowing this all out of proportion. She even apologized publically for her actions related to the initial assault. She has proclaimed Rice a good man who should not suffer the hurt and shame they are now going through. I don't know if Rice is a good man or not. I know he punched the woman he claimed to love in the face and then dragged her out of an elevator. I also know that if it had not been caught on camera we would not be having this conversation because Janay Palmer would never have told. 

It breaks my heart to see so many young women who accept a man's bad behavior without question. We are not teaching our young women that they have value that extends past their private parts. Nor are we getting the message across that they don’t have to settle for relationships where they are blatantly disrespected or abused. If young girls today think it’s okay for a man to put his hands on them, or for them to put their hands on a man, then we are failing them all. If a woman doesn’t know and understand that love isn’t supposed to hurt then she is being taught the wrong lessons. And if we are saying those things and they still are not hearing or learning those lessons then we need to shout it louder and say it more often.

My late grandmother was never short on relationship advice. She would quote one adage after another.
  • A man can only treat you the way you allow him to.
  • Throw a punch at a man if you want but don’t be surprised if he punches back.
  • If you don’t believe you deserve better, then how will he?
  • A man only has to hit you one time. Then all you have to do is wait for him to fall asleep. (My personal favorite!)
Grandma’s advice made a whole lot of sense until I had to put it into practice. I discovered early on that maneuvering a relationship with an abusive partner is like maneuvering a minefield with a ton of weights. Every step is potentially dangerous. And every step is petrifying. And every so often that step can come with no repercussions at all. As I think back though, what my grandmother never said was that it's okay to leave. And leaving isn't failure. And his issues are not your issues.

But women in abusive relationships stay. They readily dismiss those moments when harsh words, or a vicious slap leaves them broken and battered. They stay in situations others would turn and run from. They defend bad behavior and continue to love their abusers, believing that things and people can change. And an abused woman can justify a man’s bad behavior as if her life depends on it because sometimes it does. Right or wrong some women will stay. I know I did. I stayed until staying was no longer an option.

I wrote a book once about a man who was abusive and the woman he abused. There’s a passage where someone asks “Why do you think she stays?” And the matriarch answers.
“At first, she stayed because she was scared. Angelette won’t nothing but a baby when Graye bought her home. Y’all know that. Came here running from something, thinking that Graye was going to make it all better. Then she stayed cause she loved him. Problem was she hadn’t done enough living to really know what love was. Just knew that Graye wasn’t as dark as what she’d been running from befo’. Thought that was love. After a while she just stayed cause this was all she knew. She knew what to expect. Knew what to do, when to do it, and if it got messed up, she knew how to fix it. Now…now, she stay cause she don’t have any other choice. Graye done beat all her choices out from under her and she think she ain’t got none left.”
Palmer will stay because she's still young. She will stay because she loves him. She will stay because it's all she knows. She will stay because she thinks she can fix it when it breaks. She will stay because she hasn't yet learned that she deserves better. She will stay until staying is no longer an option. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


I am getting back to the business of writing. And I’m not talking about the marketing or the editing or those details that enable the craft. I mean I’m getting back to the business of being vulnerable, of opening myself up and allowing all my shit to spill out onto paper. Lately, writing has been a host of challenges. More times than not I find myself dealing with deadlines that tax my creative spirit. Or editorial comments that have transformed my words and my story into something that no longer feels like it belongs to me. When the writing has needed to be cotton-candy like and tied with a pretty pink bow. That kind of writing has been more the norm lately than not. And I’m consciously making the decision to leave it all behind for a while.
I live to write stories that are haunting to one’s spirit. Stories that linger like the sweetest memory of times long lost. I need to get back to the business of writing that put me here in the first place. I need to spin words that might be dirty and ugly, speaking truth that touches someone’s heart in a way no other words before have. Stories that come in damaged boxes, with torn paper, and no pretty bow at all.
My books Rested Waters and Graye are those kind of stories. Both are tales that dig deep holes and will take you places you’d prefer not to go. Stories with characters that are flawed and endings that aren’t neat and perfect.
I need to write what’s in my heart because there’s a story pulling hard at my spirit, determined to be told. So I’m getting back to the business of writing...my way.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014



Craving Temptation
Deborah Fletcher Mello. Kensington/Dafina, $6.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7582-9298-8
Mello dishes up rich emotions, memorable characters, and family intrigue set against a background of cultural and political conflict in the second Just Desserts contemporary (after The Sweetest Thing). When attorney Troy Elliot, who’s running for mayor of Memphis, meets the vivacious Amina Salman, his opponent’s campaign manager and daughter, Troy finds his priorities changing. As an accomplished professional, Amina is frustrated by having to balance her conservative Muslim father’s expectations and her own dreams. Amina and Troy creatively plan dates while her brother secretly pursues unsavory business deals. Following their hearts, the lovers marry, setting off a chain of events that tests family loyalty and exposes schemes. Mello handles sensitive religious and cultural issues with grace, and her captivating and heartfelt novel will please new and returning readers with its skillful characterizations, well-paced action, and scintillating love scenes. Agent: Pattie Steele-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014


We are still trying to find balance. There are some moments that are sweeter than others. When we're good, we're really good. When we're bad, well, it just doesn't work, both of us feeling awkward and out of sorts.

He frequently admonishes me for being too stiff, saying that I need to relax more and just let go. I have issues with him being inappropriate, having to remind him too often that he needs to be aware of his audience and people who might look to him to be a role model.

Joy is found in the laughter that can come easily and make any frustration worth the effort. He's my baby but he's also his own man. This has been a learning experience for us both. I am discovering much about him that I did not know and he is getting to know me better as well.

He's my son and I'm his mother and though we are close, bonds of friendship between us, I am forever his parent first, before all else. And as his parent, I have no problems reminding him daily that nothing's real but love. It was the perfect theme song for us.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


For additional information contact us at: mellotalks@aol.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Craving Temptation
Deborah Fletcher Mello. Kensington/Dafina, $6.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7582-9298-8
Mello dishes up rich emotions, memorable characters, and family intrigue set against a background of cultural and political conflict in the second Just Desserts contemporary (after The Sweetest Thing). When attorney Troy Elliot, who’s running for mayor of Memphis, meets the vivacious Amina Salman, his opponent’s campaign manager and daughter, Troy finds his priorities changing. As an accomplished professional, Amina is frustrated by having to balance her conservative Muslim father’s expectations and her own dreams. Amina and Troy creatively plan dates while her brother secretly pursues unsavory business deals. Following their hearts, the lovers marry, setting off a chain of events that tests family loyalty and exposes schemes. Mello handles sensitive religious and cultural issues with grace, and her captivating and heartfelt novel will please new and returning readers with its skillful characterizations, well-paced action, and scintillating love scenes. Agent: Pattie Steele-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014

Monday, July 07, 2014


Neither one is my daughter but I feel compelled to mother them when I see either headed for charted territory fraught with danger. Neither responds well to my maternal advice, believing, like most adult-children, that they and only they know best.
It was an exhausting conversation as each argued her point until she was blue in the face. And I was just seconds shy of wringing both their scrawny necks. My emotions ran the gamut from frustration to anger to sheer disbelief that such intelligent young women could be so damn stupid. And stupid being the only word fitting for the ignorance they were so desperate for me to believe.
I have no patience for weakness in other women and probably because it holds a mirror to my own deficiencies. Their insecurities are particularly unattractive since both know better. Their collective experiences couldn’t fill a thimble and neither is interested in learning from women who’ve already been there and done that. Despite constant assurances from friends and family who love and support them, they don’t have an ounce of confidence in their talents and abilities.
The two are very different, one extremely high-maintenance and prissy, the other less so. Yet both have the same failings. They react before they rationalize and emotion overshadows common sense. To hear them tell it the War of the Roses defines both their future relationships and if you aren’t out to get them then you couldn’t possibly love or care about them. They cry victim and go on the defense at the drop of a hat and every conversation is like talking to a brick wall that only hears what it wants to hear.
I have butted heads with each of them many times before and I have no doubts that we will butt heads again because when I see them headed in the wrong direction, as a mother, I am compelled to point them down the right road.
And despite their best efforts to convince me otherwise, calling another man who you only met thirty minutes earlier in WallyWorld to come give you a ride to an undetermined location because you’re afraid your boyfriend is going to throw you and your children out at 3 AM has to be the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever heard. And putting your hands on your man to prove your point is NOT a good idea because slapping him and throwing his things around the room will either get your butt tossed in jail on a domestic charge or hurt if he ever decides to hit you back.
They are both determined to learn their lessons the hard way. And despite their best efforts, I’m not falling for the excuses they use to justify their bad behavior. Wrong is wrong and I have no problems telling them so.

Friday, June 06, 2014


They’re like two bulls in a ring going head to head. It’s a constant back and forth game of one-upmanship against everyone else and each other. I’d had enough when one noted that an uncle’s cousin’s daughter, twice removed, had written a 900-page tome in ten days. Really? When asked if the relative had ever been published there was a list of reasons why the publishers hadn’t gotten it right, the relative’s rejection list substantially long. I suggested that the author might want to give the writing another ten days to try and improve upon what had been deemed perfection. It was suggested back that she might be able to give me some pointers on how to write faster.
The tall tales they spin are blistering. I am equally amazed and appalled that two individuals can lie so easily, neither batting an eye. I've seen them lie about the weather (it rained harder where they were than it did here), what they had for breakfast (if you made pancakes, they ate at IHop), and who they've dated (their significant others always having more money than anyone else you know). Both have this obsessive need to show that they are somehow superior to all others. Being above and better than the rest of us would seem to top their agenda.
I am equally entertained and mortified whenever they're around. Despite my best efforts I don't have the energy to even attempt to keep up with them, but it's been pointed out to me that such is one of my deficiencies because they have both run marathons.
It’s a game of swinging dicks each determined to prove theirs is the biggest. Neither has a clue just how small they both really are, most especially since neither has a dick to swing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


It's always a great time when good women get together to share what they love. A while back I had a blast at the Wake County Library event with fellow authors Lecelia Turnage, Sharon Ewell Foster, and Lisa Watson. Writers panels, book signings, and conferences. It's just a day in the life of an author!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Much appreciation to our host, Cyrus Webb! It was a great conversation and a pleasure to become acquainted with author Andrew Peterson.

Find Additional Entertainment Podcasts with Cyrus Webb on BlogTalkRadio

Monday, April 07, 2014


So, this post has been muddling around in my head for a while now and I’ve refrained from writing it for a host of reasons. But annoyance has pushed me right off the edge.
I’m putting Walmart on blast. Walmart #1751 and its management team. Former manager Brian M. and current acting manager Jason F. specifically.  Well, maybe not so much Jason since he’s only been at the helm for a week or so. Him I’ll give a pass to. Brian, not at all. And maybe, many of my issues with Walmart #1751 are why Brian’s not there anymore. We all know leadership can either make or break a business.
I’m indifferent about Walmart. They are neither my most favorite nor my least favorite place to shop. I see them as a necessary evil, a means to an end. Plus, in the middle of the night, when I’m bored with insomnia, going to Walmart gives me something to do.
I use to love spending time in Walmart #1751’s book section. They had one of the best ethnic book sections around. And it was a hellava lot of fun to go see how my books were selling when they came out. Yes, I admit that I did that! Then two months ago the ethic books all disappeared. And not just the African-American tomes but all the ethnic books. I had a whole conversation with former manager Brian M. about the disrespect to his shoppers, a very diverse and multi-cultural community, who depended on finding their favorite authors in that section. Former manager Brian M. assured me that the problem would be resolved quickly and the ethnic books section would be reinstated. It seems he had gotten a lot of complaints and mine was not the first. Brian failed to make that happen before his departure. No worries. It’s on my list to repeat that conversation with current acting manager Jason the next time I’m in the store.
Most of the employees at Walmart #1751 are decent folk. Professional, friendly, and a pleasure to deal with. A few on the late night shift know me and Big Daddy by face and we enjoy chatting with them as we stroll the aisles or check out. They are why I've continued to shop there. Then there are those minimal few who make the experience tedious and unpleasant at best. It’s those few that give Walmart a bad name and makes me wonder why the management team isn’t doing a better job with their customer service.
And why does it take someone in excess of twelve minutes to answer the phone? And when they answer the phone why do they immediately disconnect the line so that you have to call back and wait another twelve or more minutes for someone to answer? That’s the kind of annoyance that pushed me over the edge. That and my last visit to the customer service counter.
I am very easy going. If I’m complaining then I have had my last button pushed, my last nerve tested. I’ve reached that point. Frequenting this store as much as I have I feel a kind of kinship with the people I encounter on a regular basis. I talk and make conversation. Walmart #1751 has a customer service person who clearly does not like her job or its customers. Despite my best efforts, trying to engage her is like banging your head against a brick wall. She is dismissive at best and many times outright rude, her mood of the moment dictating how she deals with customers. This past weekend, she pushed my last nerve. It’s supposed to be customer service. No matter what kind of day she might be having she should at least SPEAK to the customer she is supposed to be assisting. This woman never once opened her mouth to SPEAK to me. No greeting. No comment. Nothing. She simply rolled her eyes when I told her I had a return. Took my item and snatched my receipt off the counter. She handed me my cash back, then turned her back as if I weren’t even there. It was blatantly disrespectful. Corporate might want to catch a clue. That’s not the way to retain or grow customers.
I’m hopeful that Walmart #1751 will get their act together. Perhaps new management will infuse new life and make any future shopping ventures a better experience. Until then, I’m putting Walmart #1751 on blast. And I’m taking my money down the road to Walmart #5118 if I even bother to return to Walmart at all.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Two weeks after the birth of their second child, Dennis Paul married his baby mama. His OTHER baby mama. Alicia had heard the rumors about Dennis and Paula but Dennis always had a good excuse for the whispered tales of her and him together. After all, Paula was the mother of his first two kids and the third little girl who’d come just weeks after the birth of his and Alicia’s little girl together. Even that little faux pas wasn’t enough to convince Alicia that Dennis wasn’t quite the guy she kept telling herself he was. In fact none of the abuse she suffered at Dennis’ hands was enough to convince her that Dennis really wasn’t much of a catch at all.
To hear Alicia tell it, Dennis was just misunderstood. He really did love her and their family and wanted them all to be together. So much so it had taken very little to convince her to cross state lines and follow behind him. Upending her life and sacrificing her dreams was well worth all that love Dennis was known to lavish on her when he came to visit those two, maybe three days per week.
But then he got married. The news came via Twitter. It was a quick shout out to the happy couple with pictures of the decorated church and the wedding program posted on Instagram. It came from a mutual friend who either assumed Alicia already knew or who purposely wanted to break the news to her.
With less than thirty minutes to make it to the chapel, Alicia was grateful that she and her children had all had their baths. So Alicia put on a new dress purchased for the next date night she and Dennis had planned, put bows in the little girl’s hair and a new outfit on the new baby. When her own hair and makeup were perfection she packed her small family into her car and pointed it in the direction of the church.
The bride had already made her way down the aisle by the time Alicia found her way inside. She sat on the edge of the back pew and watched as Dennis said his I do’s. Dennis and Paula stood with loving looks on their faces, family and friends wishing them well. When the pastor asked if anyone had any objections, Alicia’s baby boy let out a loud wail, moving everyone to turn and stare in their direction. Standing, Alicia didn’t say anything at all, only turning an about face as she headed out the door. Returning to her apartment Alicia packed all of her belongings, called her parents and asked if she could come back home.
Dennis wasn’t fazed by the unexpected intrusion. Alicia knew better than to make a scene in front of his mother. Dennis figured by the time the honeymoon was over Alicia’s hurt feelings would be a faint memory. Her missing him would be enough to overlook the fact he now had a wife. Dennis had been playing both women for so long that he figured he’d be able to do so even after legalizing his relationship with Paula.
But Dennis didn’t expect to find his second home abandoned when he finally made his way back. Being unable to reach Alicia, her cell phone number changed, gave him reason to pause. He also didn’t like that he’d been unfriended and blocked on Facebook as well. And the restraining order and court summons demanding child support came as a complete surprise.
Alicia isn’t the first woman to have this happen to her. But she is the first who read a similar tale on my blog a few years ago and was determined that her story would have a very different ending.
“I hope that my heartbreak will be a lesson for any woman who isn’t being treated the way she deserves,” Alicia wrote. “I thought having this last baby would make him love me more. I realized I needed to love myself instead. And my children needed to see me do better.”

Friday, March 21, 2014


What a day, what a day, what a mighty fine day!
It started early. Too early. I haven’t been up and out of the house before nine in the morning in I don’t know how long. But I’m a writer. Some of us keep vampire hours. Today I had an early morning dentist appointment to get my six-month cleaning and polishing and my preferred practitioner is a two-hour ride away. I will eventually need to get a dentist closer to where I live but for the time being old Dr. Alex is my go-to guy. So riding on less than two hours of sleep we headed out of town and then it began.
The dentist appointment went without mishap. Got my kudos for my oral hygiene and a new purple toothbrush. Then I ran into the old people. Old people amuse me. Nothing is sacred with them. They tell all your business and what might fall out of their mouths can awe and appall. I wasn’t sure of the relationship dynamics but they had a lengthy history and there wasn’t a full set of teeth between the three of them. Our conversation went something like this:
“Baby, baby, I know you. Ain’t your related to ‘dem Pritchards?”
“No, ma’am. I’m a Fletcher.”
“Look just like your daddy. Hey, Jim, this here is one of Pritchard’s girls. Looks just like her daddy!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! Looks just like him.”
“No. I’m sorry but Mr. Pritchard’s not my father.”
“Pritchard was a rollin’ stone. It’s alright.” (As she’s patting my hand.) "But he wouldn’t work. Never could hold down ajob. And he was triflin’. Just no damn good. But we can’t pick our daddy. Just got to keep the one we get.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
Then there was the search for the perfect hotdog. Three hotdogs, an order of fries and a gallon of tea later and I still wasn’t satisfied. But I was full. And my stomach hurt. So we went looking for the castle because I knew that would make me feel better.

We’d heard the whispered stories. The fantastical love shack built for a woman who had the builder’s heart. Then she died. And with her passing, their castle was abandoned, the memories too painful for a man to endure. Others say it was a divorce, the wealth of it bitter and ugly, his hopes lost on broken promises. But I know about stories and how they can be twisted to suit the teller. So I wanted to see this place for myself; this fantasy built on love that was lost.
We found the castle and I am now obsessed. The property, crowned Mont Rouge, was the creation of renowned sculptor Robert Mihaly. The sculptor built the marble and cinder block structure to serve as his part-time studio and home. “It is constructed in a mash-up of styles ranging from European-styled towers to fantastical Middle-East-inspired minarets and cupolas which are covered in copper.” Unfortunately, while most of the exterior was completed, the interior was left unfinished after the death of Mihaly's beloved wife. Mont Rouge sits atop a long and winding mountainous road. At one point it is so narrow and so steep that ascending it is a tad bit scary. It sits on a precarious slope and the acreage of hardwoods surrounding it is home to a double-wide trailer here, and an obscure farmhouse there. The views below it are spectacular!
Since being abandoned, this extraordinary property has been vandalized by teens who had no sense of appreciation for what was not theirs. They’ve trashed and graffitied the interior, the windows have been broken, weather has rotted the wood, and it is now just a semblance of what it was meant to be. But there is still something about the place that drew me in and captured my soul. As I stood at the edge of the property, taking it all in, a small red bird flitted past and came to rest on a branch in front of me. It chirped excitedly as if it were happy to see me there but as I aimed my camera to take its picture, it disappeared and the air became eerily still.
In that moment, as I stood in awe of the castle, its failing infrastructure aside, I had the sense that Mr. Mihaly’s story was even bigger than the whispered tales that had led me to his dream home. In that moment I could feel the love that had been clawed in all that stone and mortar and now I am obsessed.
It was a very fine day indeed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Love is the best treat of all...
When the owner of Memphis' most mouthwatering bakery, Just Desserts, suddenly dies, pastry chef Quentin Elliott and his brother, office manager Troy Elliott, are distraught. Everett "Pop" Donovan was more than their boss, he was a beloved mentor. So they're shocked to learn that Pop left the business to his beautiful, estranged daughter--a woman they know nothing about--and who knows nothing about running a bakery...
Harper Donovan intends to sell off Just Desserts as quickly as possible. She has no interest in Memphis, much less sweets. However, handsome Quentin has definitely sparked her appetite--and business aside, the feeling is irresistibly mutual. But soon a powerful, smooth-talking rival appears, vying for Harper's heart and her bakery. Harper might have a taste for Memphis after all--and Quentin might have to prove he's exactly what she craves...
Praise for
The Sweetest Thing
"Mello (Hearts Afire) delivers a delectable romance that explores family values while ladling on the hotness. A wealth of multifaceted characters adds to this scrumptious and satisfying treat." -- Publishers Weekly
"In the first outing in the Just Desserts series, one romance develops organically as another relationship is best described as abusive and possibly dangerous. In the background of Quentin and Harper’s central romance is the relationship between his rival, Dwayne, and the woman who cheated on him with Dwayne. The contrast of these couples is a bit distracting, but Mello ties them together well. Dwayne is more nuanced than he appears and the author manages to explain his emotional issues and bring both couples to a point of contentment. 4-Stars" - RT Book Reviews

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TALKING WALLS presents...

IN THE READING ROOM with Deborah Fletcher Mello
Published by Kensington Dafina
Pub Date: March 4, 2014
Music: Smooth Jazz Saxophone Band - Ain't No Sunshine (When She's Gone)
Smooth Jazz Sax Instrumentals - Papa's Gotta Brand New Bag

Friday, February 14, 2014

TALKING WALLS presents...

IN THE READING ROOM with Deborah Fletcher Mello
Published by Harlequin Kimani Romance
Pub Date: February 1, 2014
Music: Anthony Hamilton - WOO
Video Background: "Angel Angel" by Olivia Gatewood

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce has recently invited Michael Vick to be a guest speaker at their Evening of Champions event. It is a decision that has been met with much controversy and derisiveness.
Michael Vick is an American sports figure, the first African-American to quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, leading them to the playoffs twice. Despite a stellar career where he set career highs in passing yards, passing percentage, QB rating, passing touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns Vick fell from grace after he was charged with unlawful dog fighting activities.
A search of property owned by Vick uncovered evidence of a dog fighting ring where seventy-plus dogs said to be showing signs of injuries were seized. Gruesome details of abuse, torture and execution of under-performing dogs outraged animal rights activists and put a spotlight on animal abuse and cruelty. Vick received a three-year conviction for federal offense conspiracy charges and was imprisoned. He was suspended by the NFL, ordered to pay the Atlanta Falcons back a portion of his earnings and lost endorsement deals worth millions.
Public outrage was venomous. I myself even posted my disgust for his actions. But as I noted back THEN I was also on the fence, both outraged and hopeful that he would be able to redeem himself. Unfortunately, not everyone has been willing to forgive Vick nor will they consider giving him the benefit of doubt.
There has been a moral majority who have been vicious in their responses to the GRCC’s invitation. Mr. Vick has been called everything but a child of God, the commenters certain that there is nothing he can ever do now, or in the future, other than die, that could redeem him for his crime. And not even then. Somewhere along the way they seem to have forgotten those bible verses that say hate the sin, not the sinner.
I don’t like what Mr. Vick did. His actions were brutal, barbaric, and cruel. But I know others who have done much worse who don’t receive an ounce of the condemnation Mr. Vick is receiving. I’ve witnessed some of the same people who are castigating Vick’s behavior, defending a child murderer, feeling more remorse for those abused animals than a mother's dead baby.
 The GRCC posted the following comment about their decision to their Facebook page:
“Our decision was made knowing that some would disagree, but our steering committee felt that his career story offers our guests an informative perspective about the excesses of fame and money in celebrity culture. His presentation includes what he learned from his mistakes and the consequences and how he has worked to change his life. His conviction and subsequent reinstatement to the NFL were one of the biggest stories in sports. We believe he has an important message to share."
I have to agree with the GRCC. I believe Mr. Vick’s experience can be a teachable moment for anyone willing to be open-minded. I admire his comeback story and his willingness to turn his life around, determined to just be a better man. I personally look forward to the opportunity to hear what he has to say.
And for those so anxious to continue to castigate the man for his past, I say clean the rocks from your own house first before throwing stones. It’s hypocritical for PETA and its supporters to champion animal rights and claim to be fighting against all animal suffering, when, for years, they themselves and their co-founder Ingrid Newkirk have been routinely euthanizing animals that would otherwise have been eligible for adoption. And don’t even get me started with their sexist and racist ploys to draw attention to a mission they themselves don’t even follow.
I’m not willing to pass judgment against Michael Vick, or anyone else for that matter. I don’t have a heaven or a hell to put him in when the time comes. Apparently many others seem to think they do.