Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Six...

I love starting to write a new book. Even though this is the final book in my Stafford Brothers series, I'm excited about INNER CITY BLUES, Jesse Stafford's story. Jesse is an oncology surgeon who works with his father in his practice. He's been married for six years to the former Cydney Nelson, whom he met when she worked in the records department at one of the hospitals. 

I used actor Jesse Williams as the character model for Jesse, and I merged some of what I've read about his personal life as a community activist and some of the character he plays on Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Jackson Avery.

I chose actress Nia Long as Cydney because of her down-to-earth personality and her appeal as the "girl next door."

They have three small children and are living the life made possible by his professional success.

Jesse's book will be a bit different from the others, because it deals with a serious subject, the shooting of an unarmed thirteen-year-old boy in the neighborhood where his wife, Cydney grew up. Yes, this is a fictional account, but I've taken some of the details from real accounts in other parts of the nation.

Of all the brothers, Jesse is the most active in the community, only it's not the community in which he lives, but the one in which he works. He volunteers at a neighborhood free clinic and speaks to elementary school children on Career Day at every school in what used to be known as the Bankhead area of Atlanta. He knows the people and their problems first-hand, and after the shooting, he participates in the protests. An incident in the opening chapter puts Jesse in a situation that puts his and Cydney's comfortable lifestyle in jeopardy.

As always, when I start a new book, I create a collage of characters and ideas for the story.

Today the meter looks like this: 

As time goes on, I'll be sharing excerpts from the book here on Sample Sundays and optimistically aiming for an October release.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Carol P. has been chosen by Rafflecopter as the winner of the Kindle Fire in my contest! Congratulations, Carol!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Hiatus...

Before I Want You Back released I had decided to take a little time off to take care of things I'd been avoiding during the writing phase. It's been a week, and I have successfully crossed several big projects off of my To Be Done list.

The major one was to purge my office files and sort my reading material. It was a huge job that took several days, but that chore was finished yesterday. There's something about clearing out clutter that makes me happy...

One of the things I wanted to do once the office purge was done was to take a few days reading all of the craft and marketing articles I've saved over the past year or so. Hopefully I can get some of that in before Monday when I plan to start on Inner City Blues, the sixth and final book in my Stafford Brothers series. 

This last book is going to be a bit different from the others, because Jesse is already married. Here's a hint: Jesse volunteers at a neighborhood free clinic in one of the roughest parts of Atlanta where his wife, Cydney's family still lives. When an event similar to what happened in Ferguson, Missouri takes place in this neighborhood, he finds himself in an ethical dilemma and at odds with some family members. It's going to be good! Here's the title song...

I still haven't gotten I Want You Back uploaded to Nook because of a formatting issue. I've contacted them twice, and still haven't received a response, which is typical for B&N. No wonder we keep seeing these signs...

Keep an eye out for my announcement about the upcoming contest...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring cleaning - office style

I promised myself that when I sent Book 5 to my editor I would take a day to clean out my office. Well, yesterday was the day.

This is what it normally looks like. 

I'm pretty neat and relatively organized, but that's only because I file everything away. Thirty years as a secretary/administrative assistant creates some habits that are hard to break. As a result, I tend to save and categorize everything -- just in case I might need it. LOL!

I've been writing now for sixteen years, and when I first started I absorbed myself in research of the publishing industry and information on the craft. I spent countless hours on writer web sites and on the pages of well-known literary agents like Nathan Bransford and Chip McGregor. Gradually, as the years passed and the rejections started coming in, I moved from agent web sites to the authors like Joe Konrath, who was breaking new ground as a Kindle author, and Stefanie Bond, who had a wonderful site on the business of writing. There were three-inch binders full of their blog posts.

Once I started a blog of my own, I also printed out a copy of each of my posts. I have four large binders of posts from 2007-2008, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-2012. 

In my four-drawer upright file cabinet, there were folders full of inspirational articles from the old book section of Essence, Ebony and O magazines along with expandable folders full of submission letters and rejection letters from publishers and agents.

This is my "rejection collection", which I've decided to save as a reminder of the agony I went through before making the decision to self-publish. It might be hard to tell from this photo, but that's and expandable file with at least 500 sheets of paper - a lot of queries and a lot of rejections! I'm keeping this file as a reminder of all the hard work I did trying to convince Big Publishing that I was worthy. SMH...

On top of all that, I used to lead a writer's group at a local Barnes and Noble store for three years, and I kept every handout and article I shared with them. 

All of my research for the twelve books I've written takes up an entire drawer of the cabinet, but I'm keeping all of that.

There are two files of reader e-mails and comments (I was afraid to call it fan mail back then) that I started when I published Have You Seen Her?, the first book. I will keep these forever, because it was confirmation that the editors and agents were WRONG! It blew me away to realize people actually liked what I'd written, and I was building a readership.

Needless to say, it was time to let most of this stuff go, so I bit the bullet and started tossing. Now I have room to save new memories... 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Refund revelry!

In past years, hubby and I have usually assigned our income tax refunds to paying bills. This year I decided to use my half to go gadget shopping! You know, the stuff you don't have the cash for during the year. LOL!

Here's what I got...

A laptop bike from Sharper Image. I'm trying to find something that works for me as far as getting some exercise goes. Since I'm on my laptop 8-10 hours a day, and I hate breaking up my work time to go anywhere, I figured this might help. It also has exercise bands made into the big so you can work your arms and chest.

This is an air fryer. I'd never heard of such a thing until my brother-in-law and sister-in-law paid us a visit last week. They have one and swear by it. It fries food crispy without any oil!

An MP3 converter to convert the hundreds of cassette tapes I have in my music collection into digital files. It didn't arrive yet, so I can't say how good it works. :)

 A storage bench to go by the front door to hold all of our shoes. I hate wearing shoes in the house, so this provides a convenient place to to sit and take them off as soon as you come in.

I have never had a waffle iron, and we give too much of our money to the Waffle House! Now I can make my own on Saturday morning. 

Right now, I'm a happy