So, I’m knee deep in my next book, Superstar. You got a brief look at my heroine, Sioux Dupree in Dark Star. She was a famous pop star, part of the blockbusting girl group, Honeychile. Until she crashed and burned spectacularly at the ripe old age of twenty. She was strung out on a multitude of narcotics. Now she wants a comeback in the worst way.

Sioux appeals to me in the same way Lola did in Try a Little Tenderness. She is definitely damaged, but redeemable with the love of a good man. Thad Barclay wants to be that man, unfortunately Sioux is not convinced that she’s worthy of that love or that she won’t ultimately be the cause of his destruction. I hope to have this book out at the end of the summer. This will probably be my last StormCrow story. The book after Superstar is Love Me Some Him. I also have Drawing the Stud, which is my first project with Ellora’s Cave.

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.


Throwaway Characters

I like creating characters. I was a lonely child and had lots of imaginary playmates. Now as a writer I get to put all those fun people down on paper. The thing that’s most interesting to me though, is the way those secondary characters tend to capture the imagination of my readers. I put in a lot of work on my primary characters. They typically have long a long backstory much of which doesn’t make it into the book. My secondary characters are typically created on the fly. Take Nate Randolph, the hero of my current WIP Dark Star. Nate was part of Tonya’s backstory, her long-lost love who takes off for the Peace Corps and is never heard from again. So when I was writing Rock Star I knew someday I’d do this story reuniting her with this secret agent man. The interesting thing is the way he popped up in Try a Little Tenderness. In that story once I’d stranded Koss and Lola on Ile de Lina, I needed a way to get them out again. As initially written Koss was going to do a rescue type thing and save Lola, but really that made no sense. Koss is one sexy geek, but he’s no commando, it seemed crazy to have him going up against professional mercenaries alone. So, I went through my catalogue of characters for a fighting man, it worked perfectly to have Nate show up and help them out. Also, Nate was talking to me incessantly the whole time I was writing Try a Little Tenderness. It was deucedly hard to finish that book because he simply wouldn’t SHUT UP! I had to put him in the book or lose my freaking mind. It wasn’t a big part, but boy did it have impact. I’ve had more emails about Nate than any other character I’ve created besides Tonya. And once I revealed that he was Tonya’s long-lost love the interest went stratospheric.

Another more recent character is Jacinto from Buttercream. He doesn’t even appear in the book, yet something about the adopted Vietnamese man with the Latino name who lives in a yurt in Kansas making goat cheese struck a chord with people. I do plan to do a whole series of novellas about this quirky little family which is near and dear to my heart, but this interest in both him, and Poppy’s sister, Daffodil caught me by surprise. I love off-beat characters and I think I’ll have a lot of fun with these ersatz hippies.

For the writers who read this blog, how about you, do you have secondary characters that have taken on a life of their own? Forcing you to write their story NOW! Readers, how do you feel about secondary characters, how much is too much? Do you enjoy having them, or are they a distraction?


I’m still working very hard on Dark Star, and enjoying the hell out of the process. Something has come up though: Tonya is a young woman in her early thirties, and I’m so not a young woman in my early thirties. In fact some people think I’m my children’s grandmother. (I guess that beats people thinking I’m the nanny, but not by much). Anyway, I had to vet Tonya’s reactions fairly thoroughly because I suspect a younger woman’s tolerance for male bullshit is a lot higher than my own. At least I know that when I was young I put up with a lot of crap that leaves me wondering just what the hell was my problem back in the day.

Nowadays my bullshit threshold is practically nonexistent. Y’all know I love my husband’s dirty draws (after all I do wash them), but he knows that if he nuts up I’m like, One less egg to fry, motherfucker. As I get older I’m more that way about a lot of things. It’s definitely liberating, but when I’m creating younger characters it can be problematic. This wasn’t an issue with Let’s Do It Again. Those characters were older and had some life stripes on them. I enjoyed writing that book immensely and think I will do more with “women of a certain age.” Never fear, Tonya’s been talking in my head for so long I know I’ve got her right, but it’s a bit disconcerting to create someone who’s a decade and a half your junior. Of all the characters I’ve ever written Tonya is the one who is most like me. I didn’t realize it until I re-read Rock Star in preparation for writing this book. So yes, Tonya’s a bit of a bitch. Okay, actually Tonya is totally a bitch, but I like her. Of course, there’s a strong possibility no one else will.