Saturday, July 20, 2013

Swingin' Saturday: Favorite 80's Songs

Hey, Y'all,

Folks who've known me longer than an hour know that music is my next favorite thing after writing and reading books. Maybe it's because each song evokes a memory or feeling for me, like life's very own soundtrack. Maybe it's because most music starts out as poetry.

Maybe it's because I can't resist the urge to jump up and bust a move. :)

Anyway, today I'll regale you with a selection of my favorite 80's music. I was born into this colorful decade, and I've gotta say, the clothes and hairstyles might have been something we want to forget, but the music was pretty awesome. Or, rad, as it was called back then.

First up, it's the Human League with their song, Human. Anybody who's been near a television lately has probably seen those insurance company commercials that point out our tendency toward clumsiness and causing accidents. The commercials are pretty clever, and they reminded me how much I liked this song.

Next up, it's Don't You Want Me by Jody Watley. I'm a big fan of Shalamar- not the perfume, but the 70's group consisting of Watley, Howard Hewitt, and Jeffrey Daniel. When Jody went solo, she unleashed an awesome torrent of pop songs that were truly  music to my ears. I loved her attitude, those giant hoop earrings, and that fashion sense.

Last, but not least, is Wishing Well by Terrence Trent D'Arby. I think he's going by some other name these days. Anyhow, the song is just so catchy I don't see how you could not like it.

Well, that's it for today. Hopefully you enjoyed my little musical trip down memory lane, because I'll be doing it again.

Until Next Time,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting Ready for RWA

Hey, Y'all,
Right now, I'm embarking on my trip to Atlanta for RWA nationals. It took me a while to pack, because, well, I'm just not that put together. I debated for weeks about what to put in my bags. I know the conference is business casual, so I'm not going to be rocking my usual yoga pants-and-sneakers combo. (Hey, I'm a writer. I get extra credit for getting out of my PJ's!) It will probably end up being a mixture of dresses, skirts, slacks and blouses, that I can mix and match into something presentable.
I'm very excited about the learning opportunities, as well as my agent pitch. But I'm also glad I'll get to spend time with Beverly Jenkins, who's like Queen Mother of African American historical romance. Nobody does it like Beverly does, and I get "up under" her as often as I can. She has so much wisdom and encouragement to share, and besides that, she's just an all around great person.
I'll be taking lots of pictures, some of which will probably wind up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, so go ahead and "like" and/or "follow" me so you can keep up with my adventures.
Well, I can't stay long. I have to finish packing, and prepare my husband's "One Week Without Mom" survival kit. You know, first aid supplies, electrical tape, a fire extinguisher, and non-perishable foodstuffs. :) I'm sure they'll be fine.

Until Next Time,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summmertime...and the Writing Ain't Easy!

Hey, Y'all

 I could swear laundry and dishes are multiplying when I'm not looking, and my kids are using all this new-found free time to find new and exciting ways to destroy the house and my sanity. Le sigh.
Anyways, on with the show. What am I writing? Well, I'm writing a bunch. I'm working on several projects, three historicals and one contemporary. It's a little insane but I have always worked on several books at once- that's how I roll. :)
Besides, I'm pretty sure if I worked on one thing at a time, I'd never finish anything. Between the time crunch and my tendency to get bored, it would probably be a very bad idea.
I'm really excited about Freedom's Embrace, my first Ellora's Cave title, which is coming out on August 1. You can pre-order it at Amazon and BN, or put it on your wishlist over at the EC website. I have to say, my experience with them so far has been awesome. My editors have been attentive and thorough, and things have been very transparent throughout the process. I will definitely be signing on with them for more books- the process has actually already started. I'll tell you more about that when everything's official.
In a few days, I'm headed to Hotlanta for my very first RWA national conference. I'm very excited about it, and I'll be sure to let you know all the interesting things that happened as I go along, and when I return. I'm road tripping there with four other illustrious authors: Olivia Kelly, Marquita Valentine, Laura Browning, and Erica Monroe- the trip should be pretty dang epic. I'll be recording these events for prosperity.
I('ll check back in Wednesday, with my pre-RWA jitters and all.

Until Next Time,

Monday, July 8, 2013

Love, Loss, and The Deeper Meaning

Hey, y'all,
It's been some type of week. I had a small cookout on the fourth, after two days of very sad news.
Two people I looked up to in some way passed away, within a day of each other.
On July 2, the entire literary community suffered the loss of the incomparable Francis Ray. I was well acquainted with Ms. Ray, because I saw her at the three Slam Jams I have attended to date- 2008, 2011, and 2012. I remember her as a kind, gentle person, someone who always had an encouraging word for me as an aspiring author, and as a newly published author. She always looked so proud at the Emma Awards, as we came together to honor our favorites. That is how I'm going to remember her, smiling and happy.
Then, early on the fourth, I received news of the death of my distant cousin, Tonya Davis. Even though Tonya and I were distantly related on my father's side, I spent a very, very pivotal year at her home in Virginia. The year was 2004, and I was staying with her while my new husband trained in parachute rigging at nearby Fort Lee. She was a gracious hostess to my young, awkward 20 year old self. My 21st birthday happened while I stayed with her. She invited my husband, a total stranger to her, into her home. At the time, she was a busy working mother of two teen daughters, but she took me in anyway, fed me, entertained me and my husband. She never asked for money, and I was hard pressed to get her to accept it when I tried to pay for her hospitality.
But what was so important about the time I spent at Tonya's home is this: she MADE me finish the draft of my first novel, Skye's the Limit. She demanded a chapter a day in exchange for food. While she and the kids were gone to work and school, I toiled away on her office computer. By the time I left in November, I had a finished draft. The book wasn't published until 2009, but I dedicated it to her. I really can't say I would have ever finished it without her.
I don't have a picture of Tonya, and I'm sure you've seen a thousand of Francis over the past week or so. All I can say is losing these two people within a day had me "feeling some type of way."
I wondered about life, about love, and what it all means. The people we meet in passing, or the people we spend only a short time with, can have a profound effect on our lives. These two women did just that, and they have my everlasting gratitude.
So, for Tonya, and for Francis, safe travels to that heavenly realm- until we meet again.

Until Next Time,