Random Observations for the Week

It’s Friday, I’m feeling a little random and just a touch ranty. So here are my observations for the week:

1. This is my hands-down obsession for the week. OBSESSION.

2. Scarlet on Nashville has to be one of the most annoying characters ever written for television. After watching this week’s episode (yes, I’m still watching because yes, I am that in love with Tami Taylor), I found myself hoping homegirl will just OD on those stupid pills she’s ingesting (I mean, come on, really? Are we supposed to believe she’s just so sweet and naive that she’s going to start throwing back some pills without asking any questions? You know what that looks like to me? Nothing but some dumbassery. She’s an idiot. Plain and simple.) and put us all out of our misery. It’s bad enough that she has horrible hair and her clothes are atrocious, but then add that drippy personality of hers and you’ve got me cringing every time she’s on screen. I used to give her a pass because her voice is amazing, but even that’s not helping her these days.

3. My job cutting off Facebook, Gmail, Pinterest, Evite, Instagram, and any other site you might visit for all of two seconds to make the day just a bit more pleasant is total fuckery.


4. After being sick for almost two weeks, I’m back in the gym and hitting my slew of weekly classes and all I have to say is ouch. Yesterday’s MetCon 3 class was a killer (it always is, but after being gone for so long, it was especially brutal); I think I want to die. Or at least my thigh muscles would like to.

5. I’ve suffered from writer’s block all week and it’s been rather depressing. I’ve been stuck on chapter 26 of Book II, the same paragraph, day in and day out, getting nowhere fast. Then wouldn’t you know, last night around 2 in the morning, I worked my way out of it but by that point, it was so freaking late, I made myself close down the lap top and go to sleep. But at least I moved past that damn paragraph.Offending Paragraph (this is the offender…little fucker!)

6. The snow and the extreme cold can blow me. I’m over all of it and cannot wait to escape for a bit to somewhere warm that serves lots of super strong rum punch and is flooded with sunshine. I’m starved for some sun. And not that I want to sit out in it and fry my skin, I’m far too vain of a bitch to do a thing like that, but a little warmth on my shoulders would be nice. I’m certainly not going to complain about a few days, running around in shorts and flip-flops. (Of course, come find me this summer, when it’s 2000 degrees outside, because after this winter we’re having, you know that’s exactly the kind of summer we’re going to get, and I’ll be bitching up a storm, cursing the sun and the heat up and down, right and left.)

7. Attended my first book club for THE GIRL and had a blast with Greg and the crew down at 9th & Coles Tavern in Jersey City. By the way, if you haven’t been there, you should go. What a cool spot to stop by, grab a drink and hang. It’s exactly the type of bar I would love to own. Anyway, I digress. The book club. I stopped in, we chatted about the book, we drank and generally had a good time. In my humble opinion, all book clubs should involve alcohol. Interestingly, they pointed something out to me about the book which I hadn’t really thought about but now realize needs to be addressed in book II. Smarties!

9th & Coles Tavern

8. I started reading Niko this week. This is major. I haven’t read a book since I started writing THE GIRL last May! I usually read 1-2 books a week. But I’ve found writing to be all-consuming and so have stayed away from reading, while amassing quite a “To- Read” list along the way. Niko’s author read my book and we’ve become friends and support one another in our writing endeavors, so I thought the least I could do is return the favor and read Kayti’s book. So I started it and now I’m sucked into her world of acid rain, Slithers and the Rose Circle. It’s a good read, so if you’re looking for something new to pick up, give Niko a shot. I’ll even give you the Amazon link, which means now you really have no excuse not to check it out: Amazon link to Niko

Niko cover

That’s it. Nothing else. At least for the moment, I have nothing else. I’m sure, three minutes from now I’ll have another morsel or two, but by then it will be too late, as I will have already published this week’s random observations.

Oh! Actually, I do have one more. This morning, on the way to taking The Kid to school, and he’s chatting away in the back seat about something completely random and ridiculous, I looked back at him and was simply blown away by the cuteness. You know when you have those moments where you’re just like “wow! I made that and he’s just so freaking awesome”, that was me this morning.



OOSA Online BookClub Review – 4.5 Stars


I have been waiting to hear what the folks from OOSA Online BookClub would say about THE GIRL and now I know:

Good vs. Evil – Who Will Win?


This is the story of The Sanctum, ten founding families chosen by the gods to uphold moral authority for all magicals, vampires, witches, fairies, and trolls. Peacekeepers, if you will, as well as protectors of all humanity.


I usually don’t frequent this genre much but every now and again an excellent novel will come forth dealing with fantasy and magic that will just grab and hold my attention from beginning to end. That is exactly what this novel did.  The author weaved an excellent novel dealing with good versus evil and even managed to bring forth a love story in the midst of battle.  This novel had me reading well into the night because it was just that spellbinding that I could not put it down!  Readers will be pulled into a world of fantasy and the emotions they will encounter are real and heartfelt. The storyline flowed very well and I found myself yelling at the main characters, wishing death on some and rooting for Wyatt, Ryder, Jools and Dev.


Madhuri Blaylock is a very talented writer and I look forward to the next novel in this series as I know Dev and Wyatt’s story is not done.  Great job, Madhuri!


Thanks OOSA. You just made my week.

The Bad Review

It finally happened. Got my first bad review. I’ve had some “meh” reviews of THE GIRL, but I would categorize the review I read this morning as bad.



In all honesty, I was kind of expecting it. The reviewer emailed me Monday to let me know she finished my book, would be posting her review on Thursday and after reading it, if I want her to, she would post it to Amazon and Goodreads. It all sounded very ominous and in fact, I said as much to a friend yesterday.

But still.

You hope your gut is wrong and that it won’t be so bad. Or maybe there was something specific about it that bothered her, but overall she liked the read and would recommend it.

Well…ummm, that’s not what happened.

I think the only thing she did like about the book was some of the dialogue between my characters. And my editing (shout out to my friends and family…HOLLA!!). I gather everything else rubbed her the wrong way, she felt the book was too violent and at the end of her review, she did not recommend THE GIRL to her readers.

Oh yeah. I checked.

That’s what she does with books she likes. She recommends them. All I got was a salty “if you like urban fantasy…you’ll like this book.” And then she added a little “Warning: cliff hanger ending” for good measure.

Being true to my southern roots, I graciously thanked her for taking the time to read and critique my book, especially in light of her busy schedule, and although I am disappointed she did not enjoy THE GIRL, I appreciate her honesty. I then told her to feel free to add her review to Amazon since it’s honest and that’s what Amazon is all about these days (see my last blog post).

So it goes without saying, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Homegirl did not enjoy Dev and the crew. Hopefully whoever is reviewing me tomorrow will come away a tad bit more satisfied.

Then again, maybe they won’t. I’ll live. My ego will be a little bruised, it’s still a little bruised from this morning’s review, but I’ll make it. Or I’ll just call one of my friends and have them tell me how much they love THE GIRL and can’t wait for the next book. And then I’ll keep chugging along. Either way, it’s all good.

Have you had any bad reviews? How’d you handle it?

Me? I blogged about it.

Amazon, We Have A Problem

About a month ago, I went to check out the reviews on Amazon for THE GIRL and noticed something quite strange. Where I once had 13 reviews, I now only had 10.

As any Indie author out there knows, the reviews of your books are like little nuggets of gold, especially the good ones, and you scramble to collect as many of them as you can, in hopes to draw more of the same. So you can imagine my consternation upon discovering what appeared to be the loss of three such heavenly morsels.

IMG_2584 This is my not-amused face

Amazon deleted 3 excellent reviews of my book. But why? And how can they do this? According to a 2012 article from the New York Times, this is Amazon’s new policy to curb false reviews:

In explaining its purge of reviews, Amazon has told some writers that “we do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors.” But writers say that rule is not applied consistently.

The article goes on to explain that:

In some cases, the ax fell on those with a direct relationship with the author.

“My sister’s and best friend’s reviews were removed from my books,” the author M. E. Franco said in a blog comment. “They happen to be two of my biggest fans.” Another writer, Valerie X. Armstrong, said her son’s five-star review of her book, “The Survival of the Fattest,” was removed. He immediately tried to put it back “and it wouldn’t take,” she wrote.

In other cases, though, the relationship was more tenuous. Michelle Gagnon lost three reviews on her young adult novel “Don’t Turn Around.” She said she did not know two of the reviewers, while the third was a longtime fan of her work. “How does Amazon know we know each other?” she said. “That’s where I started to get creeped out.”

Well, apparently a year later, Amazon is still conducting their purge, removing what they consider to be false reviews without providing any forewarning or justification. Two of my reviews they removed were from people I don’t know, the other is the following review from my brother, who genuinely enjoyed my book and last time I checked, has no financial stake in it whatsoever.

IMG_1598 Me and the bro

I’ll preface this by saying I’m an attorney by day and for some reason I dream of being Jason Bourne by night…so I tend to fly through spy novels.  Fantasy novels never really appealed to me…until a friend turned me on to Book One:  The Girl (The Sanctum).

I was turned on to the book a few months ago…I had the opportunity to read it ever since early November.  I just never found the time because the NFL season was in full gear, the college football season was going strong, and I honestly had forgotten about checking the book out.  I finished my christmas shopping, I handled all of my holiday parties, the college football season ended, and I found myself staring at my fantasy football page waiting for my championship game and realized I couldn’t do much more to fix my squad heading into my super bowl of fantasy match ups…so I decided I’d give Book One:  The Girl a shot.  It didn’t disappoint!

I quickly got into the book once I realized that all of these vampires, magicals, and warriors were all hanging out with us regular folks.  I know this probably sounds like a simple thought to most of you…but I never realized that we normal folk were included in these books!  So I quickly jumped into the book.

The plot moved along really well.  There was plenty of action, but rather than focusing on too much action, Mrs. Blaylock did a great job of having enough action to move the story along, but also doing a great job of developing the characters and the relationship dynamics and historical dynamics of the characters.  Seeing as how this is Book One, and there are presumably other books to follow, it was interesting learning about The Sanctum and the prophecies and everything that led to time when the book takes place.

As for the characters…I enjoyed seeing the relationships between Ryker and Wyatt grow to include Jools and Dev.  Darby added a nice touch (somewhat made me think of the Patricia Arquette character from Boardwalk Empire this past season…go figure!  Funny thing is now that I say that, doesn’t Steve Buschemi seem like he might be a real life vampire?!?!?!).

Overall I really enjoyed reading the book!  The plot really moved along at a nice pace and each chapter left me wanting to read on and on.  It didn’t take me long to finish this one, and now I’m ready for Book Two!


A month later, Amazon’s deletion of my reviews still irks me. And has me checking my book every morning, to see if any other reviews have met the Amazon chopping block.

Being an Indie author is tough enough, I don’t need Amazon adding to my stress.

Paying It Forward: Interview with Shonda Brock, Author of Eternal Traces

I’ve got a little down time before I hit the streets for a girlfriend’s birthday, so let’s get down to business and indulge in another installment of “Paying It Forward”, my posts where I return the favor to those who have been kind enough to lend their talents and skills to helping me in some way with THE GIRL.

This is my chance to finally say thank you to the fabulous Shonda Brock, who holds a special place in my heart.  She is the first person who interviewed me about THE GIRL and my experiences as a writer and of equal import, Shonda is the inspiration for my “Paying It Forward” posts.

Shonda uses her blog, The Paranormal, to help promote other authors in a series of posts called “Paranormal Wednesday”, where she interviews them about their current work and experiences as a writer. I remember the first time I visited The Paranormal and being so impressed and moved by the fact that Shonda herself is trying to promote her own work and yet, still has time to help others. It’s such a great way to step outside the realm of constantly promoting yourself and your work and give back to your crew of supporters; I told myself right then and there that I wanted to do something similar.

And so “Paying It Forward” was born.

So let me stop blabbing about how great Shonda is and let you see for yourself.

Shonda-Brock-PsEternal Traces Jacket Cover

When did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did it come to you later in life? Have you reached a point with your writing where you actually call yourself a “writer”?

Deep Question Momma, I started writing in High School. I never thought I had a talent for it until my girlfriend drew my attention to it. She said I had interesting characters and unusual details. To me, it was my imagination running free. For years I kept a journal/diary and I would write down short stories or some intense moments I needed to clear from my mind.

I have one book published and I’m editing the second installment to Eternal Traces and I release blogs with the help of my social media representative, Christa, at webbella.com. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m writing or editing every day, yet I struggle to call myself a writer. I probably need a therapist for that one.


What was your inspiration for Eternal Traces? For Meryt?

My inspiration for Eternal Traces? I’ve always had a special love for the paranormal. It’s been woven into my life. It’s reflected in the books and movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. At the time when I was writing Eternal Traces, I had a passion for Ancient Egypt and her queens, like Queen Nefertiti and Queen Hatshepsut. They had such a rich history that involved more than Nefertiti’s famous bust and Hatshepsut’s temple. I wanted to create a story that highlighted Egypt and Nubia.

In my mind the best fiction is always based in truth. So I mixed real history with fiction and added a touch of suspense, plus what’s a Paranormal Romance novel without a few sexy vampires. Voila, Eternal Traces was born.

Eternal Traces was originally designed for Queen Nefertiti as the main character, but I couldn’t bend the truth enough, so Meryt was created as the glue between the old and the new. I definitely wanted a modern day brown-skin female heroine.

[YEA! for the kick-ass, brown girls!]


Describe Meryt in six words.

Restless, Haunted, Short-tempered and Totally Driven

[She and Dev would be perfect friends!]


What’s next after Eternal Traces?

Two more installments!!!!

[Right on!]


Writing is a very solitary process, but aspects of getting a book published involve others. Describe your support system – who has helped you along the way to getting Eternal Traces published?

My inspiration for Eternal Traces to be published came from my oldest son. He came to me several years ago wanting to self-publish a book he had written called Enhanced. I didn’t know much about the business of publishing or self-publishing, so I thought, “Why not pull my short stories together and learn the business with my son?”

It’s been tough, costly and extremely time consuming, but I love it. Every week I self-evaluate what I’ve done and what have I learned from the process. I think in the beginning I wanted more and I expected more! But I am reminded of an old parable, “Rome was not built in a day.”   I’ve finished the parable with my own thoughts, “When it was complete and the last brick was laid in place, I’m confident that person didn’t know it was the last brick.”

That’s how I look at this process. It’s a constant building. It’s a building of my skills as a writer, it’s a building of a fan base, and it’s a building of my understanding the business of publishing, which is currently evolving and redefining itself as we speak.

My support system now contains Christa Wojciechowski at Webbella.com, an editor at Changeitupediting.com, two friends and my son, who I can bounce ideas around with.


What has been your experience as a woman of color writer? Discuss all aspects, from creating your characters, to connecting with other writers to marketing your work.

I too am a working mother of four. I have two large dogs and a busy husband. Somewhere between the hours of late and very early, I find the time to do what it takes to become an author.

I wish I had more experience to share with you. I am a woman of color who writes about strong women of color in the paranormal romance genre. I know that is my niche. I’ve sent in a few query letters. Most have been rejected while others have offered help if I spend more money with no guarantee of sales or marketing.

As a reader, I wanted to see more women of color in dominate roles, but I didn’t want the storyline to be based solely on color. I wanted it to be a true blend of today’s society.

I think I’m just touching the surface of that market while at the same time defining it. Plus, I still work full-time, so I haven’t had the opportunity to attend writer’s conventions. That is on my list to do this year. I hope by the end of the year, I will have more of a solid answer.

[I should have asked you about your day job! Of course, now I’m curious…what do you do?]

What is your favorite aspect of writing? Your least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is getting lost in the story. When I write, I’m living in the storyline. In the beginning as I outline the story and develop the characters, it’s me driving them to be involved.  But mid-way into the story, when the characters are fully developed, I stand back and watch their personalities drive the story.

My least favorite part is editing. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m most creative when I’ve had a few glasses of wine, at least that’s what my husband says. Anyway, I’m terrible at grammar. As much as I love Eternal Traces, I should have held it back a little longer. Editing is what I spend most of my time doing.

Currently, I’m re-editing Eternal Traces and cleaning the sequel, Eternal Burns. I hope to have both of them out by March.

[I love editing! It’s my dad in me.]

When I came across your blog, I thought it was so interesting how willing you are to help other Indie writers. Your blog is actually what inspired me to do this Paying It Forward series. What made you decide to open your blog to other writers?

That’s the easiest question so far, I’m collecting information from fellow writers. I’m trying to learn the industry and stay inspired at the same time. I figured writers love to write so why not create a free platform for them to do just that and in the process learn from them.


Tell me about yourself: 5 favorite songs? 5 favorite movies? 5 favorite books? 5 favorite writers.

5 Favorite Songs (that’s tough because I LOVE Music!)  Stevie Wonder “As”; Prince “The Ladder”; Miki Howard “Ain’t Nobody Like You”; Annie Lenox “Why”; the list can’t be complete without Michael Jackson and I can’t narrow it down to one; and  Jill Scott “Blessed”

5 Favorite Movies “Color Purple”; “Interview with a Vampire”; “Silence of the Lambs”; “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” Hmm….. and James Bond’s “Casino Royale”

[InterviewI’m a total sucker for Louis.]

5 Favorite Books (Another Tough One) I love magazines, but I do read novels, but picking my favorite? That’s a hard one. “Pet Cemetery”; “The Present”; “Needful Things”; “The Bible” and “Eternal Traces”

5 Favorite Writers: Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe; James Baldwin; Anne Rice and Chloe Hart (she’s a new artist with a series of short stories on fays and vampires) Oh, and I must add Dan Brown.


Describe your perfect day

Wake up! Followed by 90 minutes of Yoga, writing all day and cooking dinner for family and friends while enjoying awesome wines and great conversations.


Jeans or a skirt? sneakers or heels? lipstick or lip gloss? Vodka or Tequila? Cook or bake?  Pool or the beach?

My two favorite designers are Lulu-lemon and St. John’s. (I told you I needed a therapist. I go from expensive workout clothes to high-end dress wear.). I would go for the skirt over jeans. I prefer a sexy pair of strappy heels when I’m not wearing flip-flops. I like sheer lipstick. Definitely Vodka! I like both cooking and baking, but hands down, I’m known for my marinated meats. It’s so tender you don’t need a knife and it melts in your mouth. Definitely a beach baby!


Favorite vacation spot? Place to write? Place to escape?

Favorite vacation spot is Maui. I wish I could afford to live there. I need to sell about 10 million books for that dream to come true.

Favorite place to write is my office. My husband allowed me to decorate it, and it’s the only place in my house that feels solely mine.

My favorite place to escape is always close at hand. When I need a moment or two, I escape to my own imagination. It never fails to take me away, especially if I have a little vodka on board.


3 words to describe yourself.

The total sum of me is my Past, my Present and my Future. Om


Your best you?

The best me is found in my four children. Not when they are being lazy and asking me to buy them the world, but when they are being brave and willing to do things that I never thought about doing at their ages, like writing books, using computers as a daily part of their lives, teaching themselves musical instruments and writing songs.

Or when something happens at school and I ask “Who was it? Were they Black, White or Indian,” and they respond, “Does it matter?”

Or when my daughter says unsolicited, “I believe in God and I also know He comes in different forms to different people.”

My absolute moment of pure joy is when I see love in their eyes staring back at me. They see all of my flaws and they still love me! They are truly the best of me.  And I must add, they have limitless energy. I think they stole that from me at birth because sometimes I barely have enough to get through the day.


Anything else you’d like to say?

Yes. Thank you for the opportunity to share myself and to also learn from you again. Please stay positive and live the best you and don’t forget… Stay Inspired.

[Thank you, lovely lady.]



If you’d like to learn more about Shonda and her series Eternal Traces or her work with The Paranormal Blog, follow these links:





I Was “That” Girl

To call my adolescence awkward would be an understatement of epic proportions.

I had bad hair, braces, baby fat and horrible clothes (those, I blame on the 80s). I was surrounded by skinny, Jordache-wearing, white girls with straight hair who could get their “wings” just perfect while my not-so-skinny brown ass smooshed itself into Lees and my hair…well, let’s not even go there.

TBT.Me and MJ

Those are just a few of the things that stand out in my mind when I think of middle school. At least they were until a few seconds ago.

I just saw an ad on television that suddenly jarred my memory and reminded me of one of the top five moments from my adolescence.

My first school dance.

Sixth grade to be exact. Quite honestly, I can’t believe my parents let me go, but they did so off I went. I don’t even remember who I went with or if they just dropped me off at the gym by myself, but oh boy, was I there.

You know what I did at said school dance?

Vomited ALL over the gym floor.

Oh yeah, I was “that” girl.

HOLLA bitches.

“Driver, roll up the partition, please.” – Beyonce

To Cleanse Or Not To Cleanse?


Every year I say I’m going to do a cleanse and then January 1st rolls around and I conveniently pretend I’ve never even heard the word “cleanse” before and go about my business much the same as always. But this year, thanks to the power of Facebook, I was kind of suckered into it.

A friend posted a cleanse she was doing and I, like a fool, commented that I’d like to try it but was not sure about not chewing for three days. Then two other friends said they would do it as well, another friend told me not chewing (because isn’t that essentially what cleansing is? Not chewing!) my food for three days was totally doable and before I knew it, I was cleansing.

I took my reluctant ass down to the grocery store, spent about a hundred bucks on ingredients (being healthy is expensive as shit!) and Monday night, blended up my breakfast and lunch. Admittedly, breakfast looked kind of yummy…lunch…eh.

Fast forward to Tuesday, when my smoothies never defrosted (I froze them – no way I’m drinking warm veggies…barf) and I’m sitting at my desk, suffering from a caffeine headache and starving. By late lunch time, the breakfast smoothie was drinkable, so I downed that sucker in like ten seconds. Honestly, by that point, after hitting the gym and no coffee, I was ready to do some serious damage. That damn smoothie defrosted just in time.

Tuesday dinner was really Tuesday lunch. That drink that was “eh”. It defrosted and let’s just say I wish I never tasted that thing. By the end of it, my gag reflex was completely engaged and I was convinced I had just ingested a meadow.

Needless to say, Wednesday I tweaked shit.

Breakfast smoothie was a go since it’s edible. Lunch became a salad of raw veggies, some olive oil and red wine vinegar. Perhaps that’s cheating, but seems pretty reasonable to me. For dinner, I tried the dinner smoothie and much to my surprise – since it’s full of kale, which I’m convinced is exactly the ingredient that led me to believe I was devouring five acres of pastureland – it was delicious. The mixture of kale, fruit, coconut water and cayenne pepper hit all the right spots for me.

Or else, after that lunch of green shit anything was tasty. Either way, suddenly the cleanse seemed doable.

Oh! And on day two, I managed to make it without coffee, which is major for this chick. I cannot think of a time I’ve given up coffee. I even drank that shit when I was pregnant! I do not play with my coffee. You might take my smokes, but you’re not touching my coffee. But I digress.

Anyway, yesterday was day three and I have to admit, I was feeling good – light, healthy, powerful – but also a little loopy. At one point in the morning, I walked into the pantry on my floor, which was full of other people, all of them getting coffee and tea and going about their business in the very professional, tight-assed way lawyers do (myself not included, because I always seem to have some random joke or nonsensical story to tell someone), and asked them who was cooking bacon.


Oh yeah, I was smelling bacon. They all laughed and told me to stop cleansing. Ain’t no bacon cooking on the 27th floor of Paul Weiss.

But otherwise, the day was fine and I happily drank that yummy smoothie for dinner and proceeded to tell Henry and Sydney that I think I’m going to feel weird returning to the world of chewers. Henry gave some story about how he’s going to give up meat three days a week (Sydney and I both know he’s full of shit) and Sydney looked at me like I have three heads, then asked me to make her a smoothie.

The worst part of all of this, that green, shitty lunch smoothie not included, was not drinking coffee and then when I did drink coffee, because you know I totally cheated on the coffee part and drank a cup, feeling guilty about drinking the coffee and LOVING it.

Otherwise, I feel really good, have great energy and in fact, feel clean. And that’s without taking all the suggested supplements that make you totally shit your brains out all day. I wasn’t feeling like being “that girl” at work, so I said no thanks to the supps and stuck with the fruits and veggies. And I think I’m going to do a modified version of this cleanse at least once a week. It just seems so healthy to get rid of all the crap here and there, literally and figuratively.

[By the way, pardon all the references to shitting and crap. As I recently told a friend, certain things bring out the five year old boy in me and taking a shit is at the top of that list.]

Now that I’m all fresh and clean, pour me a nice, big Glenlivet.