And the Changes Keep Coming

Wow, the past six months have been an absolute whirlwind, and the changes keep coming. I’ve taken down my website and now only have the blog. What do you think of the roses background? It’s a favorite picture of mine. Some people complained that the white text was too hard to read on the dark background. Is this better? Hot for Teacher was slightly delayed by my husband’s hernia surgery. He’s my cover designer and just hasn’t been up to any design work for the past couple of months. Fortunately, he’s feeling better now and I hope to have the book out the first week of June. That pushes the new Pussycat Death Squad book to August, but I’m determined to make the schedule. Superstar should be right on time.

You guys so totally rock and I always want to produce my absolute best for you. Dark Star sold well beyond even my wildest dreams and I love you for that. I want to always be deserving of your incredible support. I haven’t forgotten the write as you go contest, just a bit sidetracked by my husband’s illness. Please do continue to submit ideas. I was thinking that maybe limiting it to holidays wasn’t such a good idea. So, you guys submit any ideas you want for a story I can write and post on the blog. I’m really looking forward to your ideas. Again, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

2012 Publishing Schedule

I know I haven’t been blogging much, but that’s mainly because I’ve been working my butt off trying to make sure I have a book for you guys every few months or so this year. Next up is Hot for Teacher. I don’t think I’ve talked about this book at all in this blog because I wasn’t too sure where I wanted to go with it. Essentially, it’s about Caja, the owner of a local gym who is an avowed adherent to the hit it and quit it school of romance, and the hotter than the hinges of hell second grade teacher who is determined to change her mind. God willing, and provided nobody else in the household comes down with flu, I hope to have this one up by April.

I’ve also got a Pussycat Death Squad sequel in the works. Vries St. John is a world-acclaimed supermodel and an assassin so skilled she can, “slip a blade between your ribs and be off to have a manicure before you even know you’re dead.” The newest member of the the Death Squad, her assignment is to protect a Russian billionaire mogul who is testifying against the Russian mafia. The tough part of her job? Keeping him alive without revealing that she’s his bodyguard. I hope to have this one ready in July.

And the last book for 2012 is Superstar. Sioux Dupree, who you met briefly in Dark Star, was a multiplatinum superstar at 15 and a washed up pop star by the time she was 21. Seeking to redeem her career and to save her soul from the drugs that have plagued her since puberty, she finally achieves her goal: Being the opening act for StormCrow, her favorite band of all time. The question is, can she survive the travails of the road, and if she crashes this time will she take Thad, the band’s young guitar prodigy down with her? This will be late December or possibly early January next year.

Dark Star is doing very well, and I so appreciate your love and support. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. God willing I will continue to fulfill my contract with you:

Exciting stories about black women living and loving thrilling lives.


***Dark and Dashing Contest***

To celebrate our first forays into self-publishing, Lisa G. Riley and I thought we’d share a little of our joy by offering an absolutely FANTABULOUS contest that will reward not just one, but TWO, winners! We will randomly pick two people who answer the following questions correctly and who subscribe (or are already subscribers) to both Lisa’s and my blogs to win a Kindle Touch and one copy each of Lisa’s and my co-authored e-books together, Given and Stolen. If the winners so choose, they may have a $100 or B&N gift certificate instead of the Kindle Touch.

Didn’t I tell you that this contest is fantabulous?

The Dark and Dashing contest — or as it’s more affectionately known, the Double D,  will close on February 20, 2012, noon CST. Please send all answers to

Lisa’s new book is Dashing Through the Snow and as you know, mine is Dark Star. Subscribe to Lisa’s blog here and mine here. Good luck!

Contest Questions:

How old were Lily and Smith when they met?

What is Tonya’s favorite treat?

What does Lily’s cousin want her to bring him back from Chicago?

What’s the name of the island Nate takes Tonya to?

Who did Smith bring with him when he left Texas?

What’s the name of the restaurant chain Tonya’s books are based on?

What is Lily’s first client’s name?

What university did Tonya and Nate attend?

Putting Dark Star to Bed

I finished Dark Star this morning. Now the real work begins. I sent it over to Lisa, this isn’t for editing, I just want feedback on the general feel of the book. To see if the plot works and if there are any gaping holes. If there are she’ll send it back and I’ll fix it. Then she’ll get it again for editing. There will be much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth and we’ll eventually have a book. Then it’ll go to my beta readers and after taking their feedback into account I’ll edit it again. With any luck we’ll be done in time for a Valentine’s Day release.

Scene from Dark Star

I was editing last night and came across this scene. I like it a lot. What do y’all think?

Nate exhaled heavily as he pulled up a ladder back chair from the desk on the other side of the room. After sitting down he succinctly recited the events that had occurred over the past few hours. Tonya closed her eyes as the memories flooded back. Despite the death threats and mind-numbing fear, the shock of seeing Nate had somehow had more impact than the threat of being kidnapped by some international badass who wanted to kill her.

“Are you sure about all this? It just seems like it has to be some big misunderstanding. Or maybe it’s some crazy trick you’re playing on me,” she said grasping at anything to make sense of the bizarre circumstances.

“Do you really think I would make up something like that, Onion? I mean seriously. I know you’re pissed at me, and you have good reason to be, but I’d have to be one sick bastard to do something like that,” he said.

“Stop calling me that,” she snapped. The nickname brought back too many sweet memories.

“Why? Your ass is still so gorgeous it makes me want to cry.”

Vintage Nate, part courtier, part swamp rat. “Personally I wouldn’t believe you if you had your tongue notarized.”

“I might lie about some things, okay, a lot of things, but I’d never lie about your ass. Some things are sacred.”

“I’m not talking about my ass, I’m talking about this nutty situation you’ve dragged me into,” she said.

“I admit to being dishonest with you in the past. But you have to believe I wouldn’t risk your life for any reason,” he said.

Tonya sucked her teeth then took the water bottle up to finish it. The situation was totally Looney Tunes, but for some reason she did believe him. More fool her. “Can we start with simple questions? Where am I and what do you plan to do with me?”


I realized the other day that Dark Star is the first book I’ve written with flashbacks, and I’m really not sure why. Certainly reunited lovers is one of my favorite themes, but I’ve never done flashbacks before. Looking back, I think that was a problem with Try a Little Tenderness. I wrote it as essentially a two-part story because I didn’t want to tell the whole story of them meeting in flashback. That style worked for some, but didn’t work for others. I think it might have impacted the pacing.

Now with Dark Star I’m wondering if the flashbacks might be hurting the pacing as well. I don’t think the story works as well without them and there are only two, but I’m not really sure. How do y’all feel about flashbacks? Do you prefer them italicized or in regular font? Do you like them, tolerate them, or loathe them with a deadly passion? Let me know what you think.