National Poetry Month Day 2

Love Dirge

I miss you. I need you. To see you. Touch you. Listen to you breathe. Laugh. Stir in your sleep. I want to hold your hand as we cross the street. I want to kick you under the table and laugh at a private joke. Your smile. Your voice. The way you drag your fingertips across my skin. The simple of your everything. Love me always. Laugh with me forever.

April is National Poetry Month – one of my favorite times of year, where I attempt to write a poem every day. They won’t be perfect, they never are, but they’ll be here, every day of April.

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REVIEW: DEATH by Madhuri Pavamani

Around the World in 80 Books

By Tqwana B.

4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆

Urban Fantasy/Erotica
September 2017

Let’s just get right into it…

This book is intense! And filthy. So beautifully filthy. The same unique blend of sex, blood, and poetry of the previous books in the Keeper series, but with a new urgency as Juma and Dutch know their final confrontation with The Gate and The Dark Mistress are upon them. And the intensity in battle and in bed increases with every life Juma loses.

This book moves fast, but maybe a little too fast. Some major deaths seem to go by in a blink. The limited page time for The Mistress was felt as well. But, the narrative slows down when it matters most, and that’s with Dutch and Juma and their love. At the heart of the story is always Dutch and Juma’s bond, which leads to…

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Random Thoughts

I’m going to make this quick because it’s late and I need some sleep. Also because I haven’t written in this space in so long and I’m feeling kind of shy and out of sorts about it. Mostly because I’m over myself – at least the version of myself I dealt with today – and am ready to put her to bed and see what tomorrow holds.

So here goes nothing much.

1. do I need to get Last Jedi tickets now? like right now?


2. I wish I had the kind of money that allowed me to buy last-minute plane tickets so The Kid and I could hop a flight to Chicago this weekend and make it to The Edibles’ birthday party.

3. FINN!


4. It’s October 10th and I’m still running the AC and these nut jobs out here want to deny climate change. GTFOH

5. I have a knot in my back that’s so bad it’s difficult to side plank…because side-planking at midnight is what’s important in these dire times

6. I have three words for you: Purple Suede Pumas. Watch for them…soon.

Goodnight y’all

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#Writing Contemporary Romance: AMAL, Part 12


The previous post in this serial was an introduction to Andrew.

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew.

I kind of love him.

I love Jackson, too, mostly because he’s based on a guy I dated and loved in that way you love someone when you’re young and free and full of fire.

But Andrew is the person you meet when life gets interesting. Meaning, it starts getting complicated and too fast and you either let the madness swallow you whole or you meet it head on. And deal.

Andrew is all of the fuckery, tatted up, sexy, and smart AF, coming at you full speed ahead.

And to that, I say bring it.

All of it.

Or should I say, all of him…


I saw her long before she saw me, mostly because I was looking, completely incapable of casting my glance anywhere but the door every time it opened.

Dax was right. Even from across the room, Jackson Rashard Davis was a force to be reckoned with, stealing the show the minute he and Amal crossed the threshold and entered the party. But she was just as brilliant, maybe even more so in her slight hesitance and discomfort with the introductions and salutations. She smiled and laughed and charmed everyone Jackson knew, but here and there her jaw would clench or she would glance around as if somewhat bored by the fuss. It was in those moments I knew she and I were somewhat alike. Both of us here, at this party for people we loved so much, we slogged through the inanity of the bourgeois because it mattered to them. 

I wondered if Jackson knew what a lucky fuck he was?

Maybe he did, but most likely he was past the point of such ruminations. I did my research, Amal and Jackson had been a couple for more than three years, with some slight breaks here and there, but always coming back to one another. So yeah, I’m sure once upon a time he viewed her through the same prism as I, but based upon his body language with the attractive older woman who couldn’t stop touching him and fawning over every word he uttered, I gathered Amal was no longer the center of his everything. Not that Jackson didn’t love her, but he probably loved himself a little more. 

Just my two cents.

“Has no one ever told you it’s incredibly rude to gawk at another man’s woman?”

Laughter and a smack on the back brought me face-to-face with one of my oldest friends, Philippe Narcisse, Afro-French beautiful bastard but for the gash running down the side of his face, care of a terrible childhood car accident. We met during a skateboard camp in London the summer we turned twelve and had been thick as thieves ever since. While I was busy learning the ropes at Maynard Brothers, he was running one of the most successful custom tailors in the city. Bespoke was that motherfucker’s middle name. 

“Fuck you,” I tossed back the remains of my whiskey and set the glass down on the bar. 

“You mean fuck her,” Philippe laughed and ordered a scotch. “And if you don’t, goddamn, I will.”

I raised a brow and shot him a look.

“You’re taken,” I informed as I brought another whiskey to my lips, “and last time I checked, so is Ms. Naipaul.” 

“Yes, yes, so I’ve heard a million times since she walked into the room,” Philippe cast a glance Amal’s way, his eyes resting on her ass because seriously, how could they not. “Apparently, she doesn’t do these things. Ever. But she’s here tonight and for some reason it’s a big, fucking deal.”

Philippe laughed mischievously before adding, “I don’t care why she’s here, I’m just glad she is because fuuuuuuck, that ass makes me think some wicked shit. I’m not even an ass man and she’s got me wanting to put my face all up in it.”

“All right, all right,” I glared at my friend and he grinned. 

“I knew it, Maynard,” Philippe tossed his head in Amal’s direction. “Spit it out. I know you, motherfucker, and I know you know her.”

“I don’t know her any more than you do.”

“You cannot bullshit a bullshitter,” Philippe insisted. “I want the story, with all the juicy bits, like how that ass feels when you’ve got your hands all over it.”

“Fucking christ, man,” I laughed. “Ease up.”

Philippe leaned back on his heels, studied me for a second, then burst into deep peals of laughter, so loud several heads at the bar turned our way, curious as to his amusement. I tossed back my whiskey and ordered another, delighting my friend even further. He smacked me on the back again and kissed my cheek, long and loud and sloppy.

“Come on,” I pushed him off me, “control yourself.”

“I believe one Amal Naipaul has gotten under the skin of New York City’s most eligible bachelor,” Philippe said with a grin. “So as much as it pains me, in respect to you and because I love you like a brother, I shall cease making vile cracks about her splendid ass.”

“I’m certain the very lovely Sylvie,” I raised a brow in Philippe’s direction, “who last time I checked, remains your very devoted and stunning girlfriend, would love to hear all the filth escaping your lips concerning a certain derriere.”

Philippe stole another glance at Amal and sucked in his breath. “Mais oui, Sylvie would love to hear it and then join in my admiration, being the ass woman that she is.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. He was incorrigible. 

“For the record, her name is Amal Warrier Naipaul,” I tipped my drink in his direction and smirked, “and she is the most stunning woman ever created.”

Philippe let my words sink in for a second, took a sip of his drink, and shook his head while shaking a warning finger in my face. I pushed his hand away and waited for whatever advice I knew my friend could not help dispensing. 

“Did you fuck her, Andrew?”

“Nah, man,” I shook my head. “Not at all.”

He squinted his eyes and waited, as if by doing so he could tell whether or not I was being truthful. “Did you think about fucking her?”

“The second I saw her and every second afterwards,” I admitted to him and myself, “until I learned of Jackson. And then I forgot her.”

“Now you’re lying, Maynard,” Philippe squeezed my shoulder affectionately. “No one forgets an ass like that. But if you didn’t fuck her, what’d you do? Dinner? Drinks? Spill it.”

“Just a chat, and if I’m being honest, it probably didn’t last longer than five minutes.”

“Longest five minutes of your life, my friend,” Philippe noted, “that much is written all over your face.”

I started to protest when long, lean arms circled my waist and warm lips pressed to my neck. Sylvie. Only Sylvie could make the simplest hello so goddamned sexy. 

Mon cher,” she whispered in my ear as she ran a perfectly manicured hand down Philipp’s arm. “My two sexies. The things we could do together,” she whispered as she slipped between us and settled herself onto Philippe’s lap. He pulled her close and sucked on her ear while Sylvie practically purred in delight. It was sensual and endearing and so very Philippe and Sylvie. 

“Get a room,” I groused.

“With Amal’s name on it? Happily,” Philippe joked and immediately pricked Sylvie’s interest, something I knew he intended.  

“Amal?” Sylvie’s eyes widened as she played with the rim of her champagne flute, “as in Naipaul? As in Doctors for Hope?”

“As in Jackson Davis’s girlfriend,” Philippe added with a laugh. 

Sylvie rolled her eyes as she kissed his cheek. “Ignore him, Andrew, he’s a horrible gossip and probably loves the fact you haven’t been able to take your eyes off that woman all night.”

And now it was Sylvie’s turn to look rather impish and incorrigible.

“Fuck both of you,” I replied and they laughed as Sylvie pulled me close for a kiss.

“She is lovely and her behind has me captivated,” Sylvie whispered in my ear, “but she is very taken and Jackson is very tall and incredibly strong and impossibly fuckable. Just please watch your heart.” She kissed me again before leaning back into Philippe’s embrace. 

I touched her furrowed brow as if to smooth it out and smiled. “You have nothing to worry about, Sylvie. My heart is as cold and dead as ever.”

She smiled sadly and kissed my hand. “Well, in that case, my concerns are all for naught, mon cher.”

We chatted a bit longer before Sylvie begged off due to an early-morning photo shoot and Philippe happily trailed after her, thankful for the excuse to leave the festivities. 

“Don’t shut the bar down, Maynard,” he smacked the back of my head and disappeared into the crowd, leaving me to my whiskey and thoughts. 

Which explained why, when I saw her sitting all alone, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I came up behind her, leaned close, and paused. Not because I intended to but because she smelled like heaven and I got lost in her for a second. Recovering before she was any the wiser, I held my breath and took a leap of faith.

“Amal Warrier Naipaul, have you fucked your professor yet?”

Andrew knows better, he just can’t help himself. Amal is all kinds of magic. Happy weekend, gorgeous people.

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A Writer’s Running Log, Day 5

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 5 – 3.2 miles

  1. Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On got into my bones during this morning’s run.
  2. I like running alone. Tomorrow I have my first run with two girlfriends who are already amused by my desire to wear my headphones and be non-social while we’re together.  I think they think I’m playing…
  3. Despite the treasured alone time, I must admit to always being aware of my surroundings and the fact I am very much alone as I run. It’s a woman thing – we are always on guard, we have to be. I shared this with a friend today and asked him whether he ever worries about being alone on his runs, already knowing his answer: No. Never.
  4. I decreased the time of my mile to 10:53. Not sure I can do much better – that felt really fast. Despite the fact it is not fast at all.

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A Writer’s Running Log, Day 3

I don’t run. I do yoga. And yet…

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Random Thoughts While Running – day 3 – 3.1 miles

  1. Shoes really do matter. I laughed at my friends Meisha and Mei as they talked to me about shoes and where to get them and how much to spend. But the fact of it is they were right – shoes make a world of difference. I bought some New Balance on Thursday from Super Runners World in midtown, near my office, and used them for the first time this morning. They’re the first new sneakers I’ve purchased in years and if I keep up this running thing, I can see how sneakers are going to become one of my main expenses. My run felt so different this morning with my feet well-cared for in these babies. 
  2. My mile is slow AF. I started using the Map My Run app during this morning’s run and at every mile, the woman’s gentle voice interrupts my music to let me know I’ve completed another mile. Slow. As. Fuck. Is she mocking me? That thought crossed my mind and I seriously contemplated it because I am quietly a competitive motherfucker and the possibility of being mocked by my app kind of got a little under my skin. Right now my mile is at 11 minutes. I would like to think it’s because I (foolishly) took the scenic route through my neighborhood and all of the hills slowed me down, but it matters little. 11 minutes is 11 minutes is 11 minutes. It sounds horribly slow.
  3. The hills. As much as I abhor the suburbs and living out here in West Orange, it is gorgeous. Stunning. The trees are magic. And running around here is a treat for the senses. That said, I should have thought it through a bit better this morning when I ventured off my path and headed up up up Walker Road. UGH. The hills around here are a bitch.
  4. Kanye West was a beast. Music is my thing, which by no stretch of the imagination means I listen to good music, only that music I love can motivate me like nothing else. Kanye West’s Black Skinhead is such music. I haven’t heard that song in a hot second and forgot just how get-off-your-fat-ass-and-move it is. Those drums, that beat, the chanting – total super hero theme music that had me running hard for it’s entire 3:06 minutes.

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Five Randoms About The Keeper Series

The Nine Hash Marks: when I began developing The Keeper Series in 2015, I figured like The Sanctum Trilogy, I would self-publish it. So as I neared the final chapter of DUTCH, I touched base with my magic friend, Michele Mason Holmberg, that brilliant woman who designed my covers for The Sanctum, and asked her to put something together for DUTCH. I told her I wanted it to be both dark and sexy and I needed a symbol I could use on all three covers. I also mentioned that Juma had nine lives and Dutch had to end each of them. Michele came back a few days later with her dark sexy cover and these babies – the nine hash marks. They’re ominous and full of foreboding and I love them like nothing else. So much that I insisted St Martin’s use them on my covers. So much that they’re tatted on my right inner forearm. They are Dutch and Juma. They are chilling. They are perfect. Thank you Michele. For everything.


Kash Kalish:  the soft-spoken Keeper too kind-hearted to keep – is based upon my favorite uncle. In my mind’e eye, Kash is tall and handsome, with a meticulously maintained beard, twinkling mischievous eyes, and a laugh that makes you want to join in on the fun. In other words, my uncle to a tee. Much of my personal life is interwoven in the passages of The Keeper Series, sometimes purposeful – like the first chapter of DUTCH – sometimes by accident, like Kash. It’s probably what every single person who is friends or family with a writer fears, but in the case of Kash, I can say with confidence, were my uncle ever to read his character, I know he’d be proud.

Poochas: my parents are from India. South India to be more precise. Trivandrum and Calicut to be exact. They both speak Malayalam, the language of their state of Kerala. Dutch Mathew and his family live in Kerala, inhabiting the halls of Trivandrum’s Kowdiar Palace with their special brand of fuckery. But I digress because I’m not here to talk about Dutch, but rather Juma and Poochas. I came up with the main premise of The Keeper Series one day while walking up the street in my old neighborhood, thinking to myself how the word for cat in Malayalam is “poocha”, and cats have nine lives, and wow – I could create a character who has nine lives and another character who has to kill her nine times and she can be called a Poocha because it’s a cool name for a character type and a subtle shoutout to my folks and my roots. Soon after, I started plotting and planning and the rest is Keeper Series history. Also, the way my brain works…yeah, there’s that…

Old Scout bourbon: my dark nasty sexy Keeper, Dutch Mathew, lives on a steady diet of sex, cigarettes, and bourbon. Old Scout bourbon, if you’re keeping score, because trust me, he is. I’ve had plenty of folks email and message me, wondering whether Old Scout is real and if so, where can they get some because they want to try it. It is very real, straight out of Appalachia’s Greenbrier County, it is very amazing, and if I could, I would live on the stuff. But since I cannot, I let Dutch do the honors. Distilled by the good folks of Smooth Ambler Spirits, who also make a mean gin, Old Scout is 99 proof perfection and I highly recommend finding out whether a store near you sells it. If they do, go grab some and thank me later. (full disclosure: my girlfriend’s husband is Smooth Ambler’s President of Sales, which means when she visits, we get bottles of all kinds of deliciousness.)


Juma’s name: a few months ago, while thinking about Dutch and Juma and writing The Keeper Series, I experienced a random epiphany about the way my writer’s brain works. I was describing my character, Death, to my publisher, and realized with a start that she is kind of a brown Uma Thurman. Somewhere deep in my brain, I always knew this because every time Death saunters onto the page, I see a brown-skinned Uma in that yellow jump suit and that killer body from Kill Bill. But with her Pulp Fiction hair. Because that hair – gah – I always loved a good bang. Even though Death seems so Uma, I really didn’t put two and two together until that conversation with my publisher. It was then I also realized Juma, as in the name not the character, might be an homage to Uma as well, as in Uma + J. Because for real, I love me some Kill Bill and The Bride. Not quite like my love for Rihanna and her everything, but pretty freaking close. Close enough that Uma is probably all up in my writing without me even knowing it.


Books I and II of The Keeper Series are available now, so grab your copies and get lost in the dark magic that is Dutch and Juma: 
 for Amazon 
 for Kobo 
 for B&N
HERE for iBooks
 for Google Play

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#NationalPoetryMonth – Day 22

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you should know
I’m not talking
about him
I insisted
she kissed me and
and you should know
I’m onto
your bullshit
tell me
all about him
every dirty detail

April is National Poetry Month and even though I’m woefully behind on my goal to post a poem each day, I’m still enjoying myself. This exercise in my love of words began last year, inspired by the wondrous Jason Reynolds and my writing promptress Jena Schwartz. It was fun and full of magic and makes me so excited to see what pieces 2017 produces. They won’t be perfect, they never are, but they’ll be here, every day of April. I hope you stop by and enjoy the words and maybe even feel moved to share some of your own.

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#NationalPoetryMonth – Day 21



all I
was to
the lines

April is National Poetry Month and even though I’m woefully behind on my goal to post a poem each day, I’m still enjoying myself. This exercise in my love of words began last year, inspired by the wondrous Jason Reynolds and my writing promptress Jena Schwartz. It was fun and full of magic and makes me so excited to see what pieces 2017 produces. They won’t be perfect, they never are, but they’ll be here, every day of April. I hope you stop by and enjoy the words and maybe even feel moved to share some of your own.

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