Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#BlackWomenWriters in Romance: A Portrait of Who We Are

Hey, y'all!

In my travels to book related events all over the country, I've had the privilege of meeting so many of my author colleagues. Every time I meet another Black woman writing romance, I want to learn more about her. And in my informal polling and research, I've found that African American women writing romance are among the most educated, successful, and accomplished people I know.

There are folks out there who'd love to categorize us.We can't be packaged into a neat, stereotypical box, and I think that's what bothers some folks about what we do and who we are. They'll just have to get over it, because I for one fully intend to go on doing what I love. If it upsets you that you can't lump all #BlackWomenWriters of romance into some tired old stereotype...

Think of Gwyneth Bolton, who in her "real life" is a doctorate and professor. Or Piper Huguley, who teaches at Spelman and is insightful enough to include Beverly Jenkins' classic novel Indigo in her curriculum. There are many more Black women who are steeped in academia by day and turn out great romance novels by night.

Consider also our own Hot MAMAs. Altonya is a university librarian. Bridget holds a vital position at an electric company. And Iris, before retiring just a few months ago, was an indispensable asset to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As for me, I do some freelance writing of the non-fiction variety; very dry stuff, usually. I'm also a busy wife and mother. The point I'm making here is that we, as #BlackWomenWriters of romance, are a diverse group. We lead lives filled with responsibility, hard work, and full calendars, yet we still manage to write. We multitask like masters. How do we do all of this, you ask?

Our stories are vital and important to the cultural fabric of this country. It's true, we are not writing "serious non-fiction" or "self-help" books. Some may want to to dismiss what we're doing as pointless fluff. That simply isn't true- there is something transformative and meaningful about creating stories that celebrate the love of people of color (and yes, people of color DO fall in love and live happily ever after.)

I'm proud of my books, and every time a reader tells me they enjoy my work, I cherish it. Not only that, but I celebrate the accomplishments of my esteemed colleagues. The writing game is rough, especially for Black women, whose stories are constantly misjudged, marginalized, or outright ignored in favor of other books deemed to be more "mainstream." That's why I fully support my friend K.M. Jackson in her quest to reshape the industry with her #WeNeedDiverseRomance hashtag. (Follow that hashtag and getchu some fine readables, y'all!) I also encourage you to follow the @WOCinRomance account on Twitter, run by Rebekah Weatherspoon, for another dose of diversity.

We are here, we are not going anywhere, and we are going to keep telling our stories as we see fit. And as for all those who who would dismiss black women are worthless, "Welfare queens," illiterate, or otherwise unworthy of all we've accomplished...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When the story makes you uncomfortable, you're doing something right

I've been working on a story for two years.
Since I've started this book —Fighting Back—I've written other books. But this story makes me feel sticky, hurt and excited.

Cynthia Rose is a victim and a hero. She falls in love with the very cop who arrested her after she killed the men who violated her.

Of course, her parents aren't happy about this relationship. And then there are people in Union County who want Cynthia behind bars.

Dealing with race, love and murder is hard. Writing this story, I have to stay away from stereotypes and tell a compelling story. I've started and stopped. Drank and written some utter bullshit, deleted and wrote some more.

But Cynthia Rose is going to fight back and I'm going to finish this story.
See, I've stepped out of my comfort zone and when writers do that the results are often awesome.

Cynthia has been haunting my dreams, it's time to get busy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

This is one busy M.A.M.A.

Hey Y’all,

I know everyone is doing great because you are reading this. Not just because you want to see what little, ole, me has to say but that you are awake. I know it sounds simple but we woke up today so whatever the Lord has planned for us He knows we can handle it.

As I type this it’s a reminder to me, because so often we get caught up in the situations that are occurring around us. We are quick to say “there is not enough time in the day” to do all we want to accomplish. Well if you had more time would you really be able to complete that list or would you simply add more to it?

I know that’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s true. Take the 24 hours we are blessed with and do the following:

v  Take a moment to be thankful for another 24.

v  Spend some time on yourself with yourself (No TV no phone no computer).

v  Do something us-expecting for someone else. It does not have to be anything big or costly, a simple “I’m just checking in on you” text will do.

v  Don’t worry about that list you have all the time you need.

I hope to see y’all at the Hot MAMA Land Fly Hat Society Meet and Greet that will be held Saturday, July 11, 2015 in Greensboro, NC.


Giving you Gems of Romance


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The End

The end. Two of the most prolific, amazing, thrilling, satisfying words an author can hear and write when working on a project. We take on the pain staking task to put out a good... no great book, all the while wondering if we've done enough, is it good enough, will the readers love it. Why do we do it. Its ingrained in our blood, seared to our bones. It goes beyond understanding to just have the desire to write. We want to write well. We want to write a lot. Life is always present in our minds. Will the laundry get done today. Will the house get cleaned. Who's feeding the children? Are our spouses and partners satisfied. Some of us work other jobs outside of the writing career as well. And all the while we write. We find nooks and crannies, any place where we can hide to get the job done. We also come together in groups at conferences and work shops and even a retreat or two. We punish ourselves with late nights, lack of sleep and poor nutrition just to get it done. We try to slide a little relaxation and a healthy snack in the mix, but for the most of us, chocolate is a main stay and reward. Between the lines, we ask ourselves is it enough and will the reader love it. We edit all the way to the printer and sometimes when we can't stand the smell of our own bodies we come out of the writing hole and slap some soap on our body, grab more coffee and then crawl back into our works in progress. But why do we do it? Because we wouldn't have it any other way. Or dreams become reality in the writing grid. People read our books and they say thank you, well done. I couldn't have it any other way. Continue reading for a taste of my latest release. Saint's Bayou is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Create Space. Blurb: Tyson St. Jerreau didn't believe in fate, luck or love at first sight. He believes in getting the job done. It's about the missing women and children. The girls and the boys. It’s about the case. The one thing he certainly didn't have time for was history repeating itself. Raine Jacobs doesn't believe in fate or love either or anything else that instills beliefs that life is fair and what it's supposed to be. After all, she shouldn't even be here. She's supposed to be dead. As anger builds and sparks fly, when their paths cross... again, will they be able to put the past where it belongs... in the past and allow what's building between them to blossom or will the lies separate them forever. Excerpt: Shaking his head to rid the thoughts of what his life missed, knowing sometimes you had to accept what you were going to achieve and what wasn’t in the books for your life, his gaze circled the crowded room where Nolan and some of his other friends sat around a table. The beer flowed like water as much as the laughter and good times. He’s met a few of them before but their names escaped him. What caught his attention was the sultry woman who gyrated her hips on the dance floor with three other women. They were all great looking however, the one who captured and held his eye was the tall one with the hair that flowed below her shoulders. It moved with each sway of her body like a whisper of a breeze through the trees. Her eyes were dark, her lips full and her body was wrapped in lush curves. She wore a dark blue halter dress that dipped into her cleavage leaving nothing to the imagination as his eyes fixed on the swell of her breast. Any man would love to press his face between those two pillows of heavenly goodness. The dress looked as if it was as soft as a cloud and it moved around her body like the wind, caressing her skin and tantalizing his mind. His mouth went dry. Damn, was hard. He wondered if she had any idea what she did to a man when she moved like that. “Yo, Ty!” He was quickly back from his perusal of the woman to his friend. He laughed at himself and turned his attention back toward the table. “Why don’t you go on over there and get you some of that,” one of the other men jested. “Oh, yeah. I shouldn’t be the only one getting hitched.” Tyson shook his head. No way. Marrage, commitment and white picket fences were not in the cards for him. He was already shocked at the sudden announcement from Nolan when he got the call about his upcoming nuptials. However, he understood the hurry. Nolan and his fiancĂ© has been together for several years. They met in collage and fell head over heels for each other and they claimed love at first site. Tyson didn’t believe in love at first site, sure there was lust at first site but never love. He was pretty sure what he felt stirring low in his belly was lust when he stole another glance toward the beauty on the dance floor. Now there was a little Nolan on the way and his friend wanted to make sure his woman and child are well cared for if for any reason he didn’t make it back home. Reasons, Tyson didn’t want to even think about. Nolan had better make damn sure he made it back to raise his own child. Tyson planned to be the best God Father a child could have but he didn’t want the job by default. He wanted to be there alongside Nolan. “You back in the game now.” Nolan slapped a beer into his hand. “Now if you want, I’ll get you one of those Chicas to give you a nice lap dance.” “The fact that you’re even talking about a lap dance is going to get you in trouble,” Tyson said while shaking his head. He wouldn’t mind a lap dance but it would have to come from the one woman who captured his eye. And, he definitely wouldn’t be in this club. His bronze beauty was still moving her body to the beat of the music even though she and her friends had moved from the dance floor and now stood next to the bar. Beauty didn’t describe her, Tyson thought as his gaze trailed a line the length of her body. Beauty was too simple a word, to corny. He wasn’t sure what word to use to describe her however that wasn’t it. “This is your party, man. If anyone’s getting a lap dance it’s you,” one of the other men said. Tyson grunted, knowing he’d give anything to have her in his lap, her body gyrating against his. He also knew if he didn’t reel it in he was going to come in his pants. The table erupted in laughter, hoots and hollers. One of the men held up a twenty dollar bill, as did another. “I don’t think this is that kind of establishment.” Nolan interjected. “Maybe not, but I bet we can at least get them to join our table,” another said. Tyson hunched a shoulder. Indifference clouded him. While he loved the company of a good woman, the last thing he wanted was for this woman to get any closer to him. If she did, the hard on he’d been fighting would most likely make the zipper castrate him. He groaned when the man walked over to them and they smiled. Seconds later the women moved toward their table. Damn all of them. Six men, four woman. Maybe if he’s lucky she’d stand away from him, next to one of the other men. His jaw clenched when anger he didn’t expect shot through his body. What was he angry about? Certainly, he wasn’t getting mad when she did just that. She pulled a chair up to the table and sat it between two of the other men. Two men who knew nothing about how to treat a lady. If they did, they wouldn’t have let her get her own chair. When the introductions went around her name cemented into his brain, Carla Tisdale. Their gazes locked and he almost moaned and fell off his chair when her tongue snaked out and licked her bottom lip. Fuck! He shifted his position to get some relief from his rock hard shaft. His gaze shot to the man Nolan introduced as Nick when he heard him say, “Let’s dance.” Tyson’s head moved from side to side, silently telling her to say no. She tilted her head to the side, laughed and said, “Sure, why not”. Damn it. What the hell? What was wrong with him? He didn’t know this woman. Hadn’t even been properly introduced, yet here he was attempting to tell her what to do. Apparently it didn’t matter, since she was now moving toward the crowded dance floor with what’s his name. If this wasn’t Noland’s party he’d kick Nick’s ass. Her gaze stayed on Tyson’s as she moved around Nick, her body swaying and sashaying to the tune of KEM. If he wasn’t mistaken her eyes were saying ‘come and get me,’ but he knew his mind was exaggerating. He didn’t know her, knew nothing about her and she sure as hell didn’t know him. What he did know was his mind and body was playing a dangerous game. A game he hadn’t played in years. “Stop lying to yourself and go over there and get her.” Tyson didn’t have to look to know it was Nolan talking to him. Sometimes Nolan knew him better than he knew himself. The last thing he wanted in his life right now was a relationship. Sure he loved woman, he loved the softness of their body against the hardness of his. He loved how they smelled and tasted. He definitely loved how their bodies molded into his no matter what they were doing. His heart had been broken one time too many in the recent past and he’d vowed to love his playboy life style for as long as he could. A wife, two point five kids, a dog and a cat was not for him. No, he’d leave that to Nolan. Nonetheless, he couldn’t stop his body from pushing away from the table and strolling over to the dance floor. The only thing that saved Nick from his fist was the music hadn’t changed from the fast upbeat rhythm. If it had been a slow sexy pulse and Nick’s hands were roaming her body where Tyson’s should be, he wasn’t sure how he would have reacted. It was almost comical how his body betrayed him. He knew from the second he set his eyes on her he was a goner. He wanted her and would have her. For how long he didn’t know. He lived in Baltimore and he had no idea whether she lived here in Norfolk or some other city. She was so exotic looking with her bronze skin and seductress eyes and mouth she could very well be from another country. The particulars he’d have to figure out later, but for now… what? Just as he stepped onto the dance floor the music changed to something slow and hot. His body was already pulsing with the heat from her gaze that was still locked on him, but also from the anger when Nick’s hand slid around her waist and pulled her flush to his body. Oh hell no. Not tonight. He grabbed Nick’s wrist and unwrapped his arms from around her. “Beat it, Nick. What you’re thinking isn’t gonna happen.” Nick’s hands came up in surrender and he backed away. “You don’t have to tell me twice. Have at it.” “Wow. Well that’s a lot of nerve. First, I’m not an object and I’m certainly not an it.” She turned to leave the floor and Tyson grabbed her arm, turned her to face him and brought her body up to his so that you couldn’t get a penny between them. “Not, tonight.” His voice lowered as his gaze scanned her face, pausing on her mouth for a few seconds and then settling on her eyes. “He’s not the one.” “And you are?” She raised an eyebrow and his dick hardened even more. Damn she was hot, and feisty and… and… Damn she was everything. “Yes.” Was all he could say around his desert dry throat. His tongue was too dry and his chest too tight against a heart that was beating too fast against his rib cage. If he moved the wrong way, he was sure his zipper was going to saw right through his dick. “Then what took you so long.” She gyrated her body against him, her hips pressing against his rock hard shaft. Her mouth opened into a perfect ‘O’ and he knew she felt it. “Wasn’t too sure you wanted the same,” he said after swallowing down the lump. Her arms moved around his waist and pressed against the small of his back while her hips moved against his front. She didn’t speak. Didn’t have to. Damn. He didn’t come all the way to Norfolk, Virginia for a one night stand. Regardless of why he was there, he was a goner. He couldn’t form a coherent thought when the heat from her body wrapped around his. Sweat dripped between his shoulder blades and his palms itched with the need to touch her without the barrier of clothing. He glanced over her head toward the table and Nolan smiled, tilted his head toward the door and then nodded his approval of the thoughts he’d been afraid to speak. He lowered his mouth to her neck and pressed his lips to the curve of her shoulder. She shivered under his touch and tightened her grip on his shirt. Her body swayed even more and her hips ground into his front in a fashion that anyone watching would have thought it was the most erotic thing a woman could do to a man. If she didn’t stop, he was going to come in his pants and that is not where he wanted to be when he came. “What’s your name?” her voice wrapped around his head. It was as sultry and piercing as her gaze was hot. “Tyson, Tyson St. Jerreau.” He swung her around, bending her back across his arms and then drew her to him, their faces only inches apart. “Well, Tyson, Tyson St. Jerreau, what on earth are you going to do with me.” He groaned, swallowed, groaned again. Damn, she’s a fiery hell cat. “Not as much as I’d like to.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Writing a Book in a Month JuNoWriMo Style

In the past I've participated in book in a  month challenges like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is to write at least 50,000 words during a single calendar month. I've often wondered why November was chosen. With Thanksgiving coming at the end of November, it's easy for a writer to get sidetracked, especially toward the end of the month.

Fortunately, November is no longer the only month this kind of challenge runs. There are similar challenges in April and July (Camp NaNoWriMo), June (JuNoWriMo) and July (JulNoWriMo). There is also a challenge in March to help you edit the book you've just finished--NaNoEdMo.

June Novel Writing Month (JuNoWriMo)I opted not to participate in these events the last couple of years. A bad move, since this also marked a period during which I only finished one novel. With my new goal of being a prolific indie author, now seems like a good time to jump back on board.

This is my first time participating in JuNoWriMo. However, the group is extremely enthusiastic. Managed by great leadership, the JuNoWriMo Facebook group has been very active in the weeks leading up to JuNoWriMo, as participants plotted their stories and tackled other pre-writing duties like character sketches or cooking large batches of meals and freezing them.

You can't be part of the JuNoWriMo Facebook group and not be inspired.

After completing the first book in my new series and sending it off to my beta readers, I am now focused on writing the second book, set in the same North Carolina beach community. My target word count for the book is a bit higher than the 50,000-word goal for the month. But completing this challenge will put me well on my way to finishing Book Two.

The goal of writing 50,000 words in a month may feel intimidating, I know. But the important thing isn't whether or not we reach the goal. It's that we are actively working on completing a story. I haven't "won" every challenge I participated in. Still, I ended the month with far more words to my story than I had in the beginning. And several of those "failures" went on to be completed manuscripts. Both of my published novels began life as NaNo projects. One in a month I won. One in a month I didn't.

Have you ever participated in a reading or writing challenge? What did you gain from the experience? What were some of the drawbacks? Would you recommend the experience?

Monday, June 1, 2015

"My name is Dita. I'll be your mistress tonight."

Hi Kittens,

One of the great things about being an author is being able to share our craft with interested readers. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Interracial Romance Authors Expo put together by author Kassanna. It was held in Orlando, Florida. The event was amazing! Since I write interracial romances, it was great to connect with readers who absolutely love the genre. Readers can feel comfortable asking us authors anything about our work and our process. I can't wait until we do this again next year. Kassanna has already set up new dates for May 2016.

Thanks to authors like Yvette Hines and Kassanna, I decided to put on an event this November with erotic romance author Adrienne Kama. It'll be called "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway." Click here for more information or to register for the event.

I'm very excited about this event because we'll be releasing new work to readers and because we'll have people from the Lifestyle doing demonstrations throughout the day. One Dom named Sir Knotz will demonstrate rope play. I actually can't wait to see that. I've written about rope play and Shibari, the Japanese art of rope play, in several of my books. It'll be great to see it up close. I've been teasing my readers with pictures of rope play. This one caught a lot of attention.
Although I would love to show up to my event in this, there's no way I could ever rock an all-rope dress. Interesting thought.

As I had mentioned in my blog post a couple of months ago, I'll be releasing Is This Love? during the event. This will be the third and final book in the Love trilogy. I can't wait for that to happen. Before it can, though, I need to get to work and finish that book.
Until next month, I'll chat with you all later!

Stay sexy,