Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Talk on the Bayou - My Visit with Lynn Emery

From the first page, I was hooked on Lynn Emery’s ALL I WANT IS FOREVER, the story of Talia Marchand and Derrick Guillory. But that Monette! She is one of the most unforgettable characters in any story I’ve ever read. When I knew that Monette would have a story (and a love of her own) I couldn’t wait to read it. And with the title SOULFUL STRUT how could I not introduce myself and my own Soleful Strut Butter Balm (www.solefulstrut.com) to Lynn at Romance Slam Jam in Shreveport? Since then she’s been a great supporter of me and my business, for which I’m truly grateful. Today, Lynn has invited me to make a cyber-stop in Louisiana. Check out our interview – she’s asked some great questions! Visit us here: http://lynnemery.blogspot.com/
Here’s more about Lynn:
Mix knowledge of Louisiana politics and forensic social work, with the dedication to write fiction while working each day in an acute psychiatric unit for women, and you get a snapshot of talented author Lynn Emery. Lynn has been a contributing consultant to the magazine Today’s Black Woman for three articles about contemporary relationships between black men and women.
Lynn sold her first novel in 1995 to Kensington publishing for their groundbreaking Arabesque line. NIGHT MAGIC went on to be recognized for Excellence in Romance Fiction for 1995 by Romantic Times Magazine. Her third novel, AFTER ALL, became a movie produced by BET and aired on December 3, 1999. Holly Robinson Peete was the female lead as Michelle Toussaint, an investigative television reporter. In 2004 Lynn won three coveted Emma Awards. She was chosen Author of the Year and her novel KISS LONELY GOODBYE won Best Novel and Favorite Hero.A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lynn writes after work and on weekends. Flagging energy does not present a problem. “I began to write when I was eleven years old and I won’t ever stop. That tough little kid inside me who dreamed of holding her own book won’t hear of it. Let me tell you she cracks the whip!”
Lynn's latest novel is SOULFUL STRUT is from HarperCollins. She has also completed a inspirational non-fiction book called BE ENCOURAGED: WORDS OF SUNLIGHT FOR THE SOUL.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Girl, What IS Your Problem (The Lost Chapter and a Give-Away)

“I wanted to shake her!” “She’s just too daggone stubborn!” Ayo Montgomery brought out strong reaction in some readers and reviewers. (So I had to show my girl some love by posting a picture of her favorite flower) :) I imagined them talking back to the book: “Girl, just what is your problem?” There’s always a reason; it may not be good enough, but a reason, nevertheless. So what could have happened in a woman’s life to make her say “I can’t go through that again.” And is the reason good enough? Is she letting the past dictate her future?

So read on to make your own decision. Let me know if you understand. And please share your thoughts on what I call the “lost chapter,” a prologue I was advised to cut. It’s a no-no for the beginning of a romance. Still, this chapter has moved everyone who read it. Actually, the story of Ayo’s young life is an almost completed manuscript. I just haven’t figured out what to do with it.
And to make Friday the 13th some reader’s lucky day, I’m offering a prize to the first person who can email me at niambi@niambibrowndavis.com with the name of Ayo’s DC condominium. The gift is a duplicate of the Romance Slam Jam Mini-Swag Bag. It includes a jar of Orange Blossom Balm, Coconut Cloud, a Dusk to Dawn CD, a bookmark and recipe card. Good luck - I can’t wait to hear from you!

Night fell like a velvet, star-strewn curtain in Trinidad. In the hills of Maraval, it was especially beautiful; they seemed closer to earth here than anywhere else in the world. The night breeze cooled the plantation-styled home, blowing from the front gallery straight through to the kitchen. In the living room Maurice Montgomery stretched out on the hardwood floor cradling nine-month old Kedar and watching the country’s evening news. The baby laid in a chubby sprawl on his father’s chest. With his fluffy baby Afro and deep dimples carved into his honey-butter face, Kedar was Maurice in miniature. He loved this time of night – home with his wife and child. His love for them was like a white hot comet that never burned out.
“Ayo!’ Maurice called out. “Come look. This is the story I filmed today!” He choked back a burst of laughter at the antics of The Earth Mother’s back to nature group. Today they had come down from the hills into Port of Spain wearing nothing but grain bags over their dry, dusty bodies. “See, they dressed decent for town, because up in the hills they go naked.” When the ultra-smooth reporter began to recite their names – Cucumber, Sweet Potato and Cassava – chosen because of the vegetables they grew in ground fertilized by their own waste, no less - she choked back a burst of laughter of her own. Maurice guffawed, and Kedar joined in. Instead of all-gums, his wide grin now exposed two new baby teeth. Maurice stretched his arms, holding his son high over his head. “Yuh laughin’ too, baby boy?”
As quickly as it had come, Maurice’s laughter died. A grainy, live shot of a small scowling man replaced The Earth Mother’s ragged band. Each sentence of his scowling, rambling rant was punctuated with a jab of his knobby forefinger.
“Dat man is trouble, oui!” The sight of Martin Gary pulled a rapid-fire stream of patois curses from Maurice’s mouth. Gary, a petty tyrant, held a choking grip on the small island country of Meridia. Dissention meant a cell in the capital’s medieval prison, most times on murky, made-up charges. Gary practiced a cynical kind of obeah – he was in fact a confirmed Catholic, but he knew his people and held believers hostage to the ways of their ancestors. Even so, he couldn’t control everybody - there was open rebellion with anarchy rolling across the country like a towering, violent tidal wave. Meridia was in chaos; so much so that US troops were rumored to be on their way to protect its citizens and embassy.
Later, the sounds of Maraval’s night creatures soothed the family to sleep. The next morning, Ayo leaned up on one elbow and gazed at her husband. She loved her “old man,” as she called him when she teased him about the 10 year difference in their ages. He was 6 feet of sleek, honey-colored muscle with the face of a fallen angel. But Ayo didn’t care what he looked like, because Maurice Montgomery was a gift. He loved her the way a man is supposed to love a woman. If she could have created a mate out of a dream, he still couldn’t come close to the real life man beside her.
She sighed with contentment, putting Martin Perry and his goons out of her mind until a phone call interrupted their morning coffee and planted the seed of fear into Ayo’s mind. She watched Maurice’s expression change from surprise to determination and then resolve. He stood quickly, leaving his coffee to grown a thin, cool film.
When Ayo approached with Kedar, the freshly bathed baby gurgled with glee at the sight of his father. Maurice lifted the child from her arms and held him against his chest, stroking Kedar’s hair and nibbling the curve of his son’s tiny ear.
“Baby, I need to talk to you. Something has just come up.” Holding Kedar in the crook of one arm, he reached out with the other to draw her close. “You know how I feel about this Perry mess, don’t you?”
“Yes…” Ayo’s stomach lurched. Both hands balled into fists; the nails dug into her palms.
“The station wants a report straight out of Meridia. They asked me to go.”
Ayo’s voice rose sharply. “But Maurice, that place is a battle zone! Perry is crazy and so are his people. They want to keep power and they don’t care who or what they destroy to have it.”
Kedar’s mouth trembled with the beginnings of a whimper. “It’s okay, baby boy.” Maurice lowered his head and crooned in Kedar’s ear. He grasped one tiny hand and rubbed his thumb over the soft surface. Kedar let out a shudder and settled back into the warm strength of his father’s arms.
“But that’s the point,” he countered. “No one outside the country really knows what’s going on. Perry has the place in grip! I’ve worked there before that criminal took power. I made a lot of contacts, from government officials to the country folks struggling to get by. I can get more than the party line because the people I know trust me. And they want the truth to be told. I have to go.”
And so it was done. Maurice gave her the courtesy of a discussion, but Ayo knew the decision had been made before that phone call ended. Three days later, the station manager sent a car for Maurice and two print journalists, one from each of the country’s major newspapers.
In Trinidad her extended family had become Roy and Gemma Charles and Neville James, who were also Maurice’s best friends. Roy and Gemma owned the Scarlet Ibis Restaurant. Neville operated an art gallery out of a magnificent colonial mansion near the Queens Park Savannah. “Come stay with us,” Gemma urged. “We can play in the Ibis kitchen and I’ll show you some more Trini dishes to keep your man fat and happy – well, at least happy,” she chortled.
“I’ve got my baby and my books,” Ayo laughed. “The time will fly and he’ll be home before we know it. You know how much I love being up here.” Bright bursts of flowers bloomed among the lush green plants carpeting their hillside. Broad banana leaves provided just enough shade against the brunt of the mid-day tropical heat. The evenings were fragrant and cool. “It’s just how I imagine the Garden of Eden would be.” Waving her friends off, she settled herself to wait for Maurice’s homecoming – and what a homecoming she planned for the man she loved!
That Sunday afternoon, after Kedar’s bath, Ayo dusted his warm, wriggling body with powder. She’d just leaned over to kiss his forehead when the phone rang. She grabbed it up, certain it was Maurice. “I’m on my way to the airport, “ he shouted over the static, wavering connection. “When we get to Trinidad, the station will have a car waiting to bring me home. See you soon, baby. I love you.” The connection failed, but Ayo plopped on the side of the bed and wept with relief. He was safe; he’d be home in a few hours.
By air, Meridia was an hour away. On-time flights were rare, even before the country’s upheaval. When four hours passed since his phone call, Ayo didn’t worry. Besides, there was always a traffic jam coming from Trinidad’s Piarco Airport. She and Kedar dozed in the cushioned rocking chair Maurice bought for his wife and son when Kedar was born. The memory of that day made her laugh out loud. Her strong man looked like a little boy at Christmas, dragging that chair out of the back of his too-small car.
The sound of a car winding up the hill jolted Ayo out of her barely-there sleep. “At last!”
She rushed out onto her porch and into the warm tropical night, cradling Kedar against her chest. She frowned; instead of four men there were three. Two of them were Maurice’s traveling companions. Roy had no reason to be there. Sunday was his only day off from the restaurant and with few exceptions, he spent it at home with Gemma,
She latched onto a shred of hope. Maybe this was another of the tricks Maurice loved to play on her. But one look at their stricken faces told her different. She began to tremble and in an eerily calm whisper, directed her questions to the man she knew best.
“Roy, what’s going on? Why are you here?”
Roy reached forward to place both hands on her shoulders. He struggled with words that came out in a ragged whisper. “Because I’m the only one who should bring you the news. His calm broke into heaving sobs, “Oh God, Ayo – Maurice was shot and killed!”
Ayo mouth fell open but there was no sound at first. Then her scream spiraled up and out into the night. She stumbled back. Kedar slipped from her grasp and clutched the front of her blouse, desperately scrambling to hold on. Terrified by the sound and his near-fall, Kedar wailed, burying his tear-streaked face into his mother’s chest. Ayo’s brain was frozen in disbelief but instinct pushed her to wrap her arms around her terrified child.
“NO”! She shrieked again. “I talked to him earlier. He was on his way to the airport!” her mind could not hold on. This was some horrible dream. Ayo squeezed her eyes shut, hoping that if she didn’t see them, the men standing on her gallery would be players in a nightmare from which she’d soon awake.
Ricky Maraj, one of the newspapermen, stepped forward. Dust settled on the jet black hair that brushed his collar. His dirty, torn shirt showed signs that something had gone wrong in what should have been an uneventful ride to Meridia’s airport. His jaw worked; he swiped one hand across his face and swallowed.
“Mrs. Montgomery, please hear me out. Maurice’s contacts got us into places that would have been difficult for anyone else, but thanks to him we got our story. One of the men we interviewed asked for a ride. We dropped him off near a rum shop and just as Maurice stood up to let him out, shots were fired in our direction. We all ducked, but Maurice was still outside.’ His voice broke. “And the shots hit him.”
Ayo swayed but Roy grabbed her before she and Kedar fell. “It was an area that was usually safe, but a dispute between the political factions spilled over into that neighborhood. We just got caught.” Maraj was utterly miserable; he looked like he would soon be sick.
“Where is my husband?” Ayo whispered, holding back the wail that would surely frighten her trembling son.
“Ayo, there’s more. As soon as these men got word to their papers and the TV station, the manager found Neville. You know he has connections. He took over. Went straight to one of his big time friends and chartered a plane. He said that anybody who stood in his way in that godforsaken Meridia would have a lifetime of hell to pay. He’s on his way to bring Maurice home. The plane lands at 3:00 tomorrow.”
Ayo’s head jerked up. “Now you hold on a minute!” A jolt of anger pierced through the fog of her shock. “Nobody asked me! I’m his wife. I’m supposed to bring him home!”
“Listen Ayo. No one wants to take away your rights. Black or not, you’d be spotted as a foreigner and when you opened your mouth, as an American. The US Embassy has rounded up all its personnel and they’re holed up in the embassy. They’ve evacuated their citizens from the medical school campus on the other side of the island. You see how serious it is?”
Ayo didn’t reply, but she knew he was right. His reasoning cooled her fury.
“You would be left with no protection. Although you hold a US passport, you’re not on the list of US citizens living on the island. Even if you got to the embassy, you’d be stranded. And if not, you’d be arrested. Then who would see about Maurice? And who would care for Kedar?”
This is not real. None of it; not this conversation, these people in my house – none of it. He was almost home. But being what he called a “true Caribbean man,” he had to find out the truth for his people. And being the good guy he had always been, he wouldn’t leave his source without a ride. Maurice’s good deed had gotten him killed. Weak from the weight of shock, Ayo clutched Kedar and dropped down on the couch. The two men who witnessed Maurice’s death each bent to take her hand and offer condolences that to all of them could never be enough.
Before she lost her courage, Ayo made the call to Canada that she dreaded. When Maurice’s sister dropped the phone and screamed out for her husband Trevor, Ayo had to repeat the dreadful words to her horrified brother-in-law.
“Lord, please help me,” she mouthed, over and over into the sleepless night. The next morning, she felt slapped awake, jerked from sleep and made to stand on legs too weak to hold the weight of her anguish. The sense of loss was a cold gray undertow, pulling her deeper and deeper into grief. Earlier Maurice’s Aunt Elvie had come up from Belmont to keep Kedar. The feisty matriarch was the Montgomery family’s backbone, but today she appeared shrunken and frail. Her voice trembled. “T’ank God my sister already gone; it woulda kill she to lose any of she chirren.”
As it was in the rainy season, a few minutes of hard rain gave way to a burst of sun that baked away any evidence of a downpour. Justine Lewis had flown all night from DC through almost every island in the Eastern Caribbean to be with her best friend. Roy and Gemma waited with the two women. They all stood at a door off the runway, clutching huge umbrellas. Trinis called them “house and land” but today Ayo found no amusement in her adopted countrymen’s knack for nicknaming anybody and anything.
Just as the brilliant tropical sun broke through, the plane bearing Maurice’s body turned in a semi-circle and began its descent. Ayo took deep gulping breaths to swallow her sobs. “Lord help me,” she mouthed the plea softly. “Hold me up.”
The door of the small plane opened. The cargo bay opened and Maurice’s smooth, polished coffin was placed inside the hearse’s double door. At the same time, an attendant lowered the steps for Neville to disembark. His grim, sorrowful expression broke through her stoic resolve.
“No, she murmured softly, “no.” She pressed a fist against her mouth to hold back the sobs. But instead of standing with them, Ayo broke from her friends and ran to the hearse. “I’ve got to go with him.” No one stopped her when she pulled open the front door to the hearse and slid in beside the driver. “I can’t let him take this ride alone.”
Later, alone in front of his open coffin, Ayo spoke softly to her husband. She caught the tears that ran freely down her face. “Remember how we danced to that calypso, “Wet Me Down?” Her sob was bittersweet. He would appreciate the joke, but he was gone and they couldn’t laugh together. “I love you so much, Maurice. You gave me everything – true love, a life full of joy, and most of all, our beautiful Kedar. This isn’t goodbye, my love. It’s just farewell until we meet again. And we will. You and I will be a part of each other for eternity.”
In the days after his memorial service, dusk was especially difficult. She remembered their second date. They stood together, watching the sun set over DC’s Tidal Basin. “Dusk and dawn are my favorite times of day,” she told him. “They remind me of the never-ending wheel of life.” But these days, dusk represented nothing but the beginning of dark.
“I can’t see past each day that begins and ends without Maurice,” she confided to Gemma, who urged her to move closer to their home in St.Ann’s. “You need to be with people who care for you and for Maurice. You know that’s what he would have wanted.” Ayo’s quiet, barely controlled despair frightened her friend.
But she couldn’t; she needed to be in the space they shared, with his clothes, his cameras and books, their bed; everything just as it had been on the day before he left for Meridia. At night she would pray to sleep at least until dawn. Through her grief, Kedar was her only solace. “What am I going to do here,” she asked herself one early morning, watching the coral and blue dawn blend into a new day. As much as she loved her new home and country, she knew she couldn’t stay there without Maurice. It would take just one more lonely rainy day to send her spinning over the edge. And then who would care for Kedar?
Three weeks later, after tearful farewells, Ayo and Kedar touched down at National Airport. Justine took a slow drive through the city – up 18th Street, onto Columbia Road and then onto Harvard Street, into the circular driveway of Harvard Hall, her art deco condominium.
“You’re home again. See how much Maurice loved you? How many men give their wives a deed to their own condo as a wedding gift?”
“I know,” Ayo sighed, struggling with the rush of emotions. “I was living here when I met him. He said ‘we can’t let go of the place we fell in love, now can we.’ And because of his love, I can come right back where I started.”
When she stepped inside, Ayo was overwhelmed by a sweet, almost physical sense of homecoming. Everything was in its place, exactly as it had been two years ago with the exception of one silver-framed photo that traveled on the plane with her. She set it on the small table next to her bed. It was of Maurice, his dimpled smile bright and beautiful forever.
She walked through the rooms and onto the sun porch, holding Kedar against her heart. This is where she would heal, raise her child and celebrate the memory of her husband. She was home, again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If You Don't Mind, It Don't Matter (Or Does It)?

Earlier today I watched Whoopi, Barbara, Joy, Sherri, and Elizabeth (Lawd, help this woman!) dissect the older man/younger woman dynamic. They trashed Rush Limbaugh’s Neanderthal statement that no one wants to see a woman age in public. (As opposed to aging in private behind baggy boxers, oh he of the little blue pill)? But what else should we expect of Rush?

Shonell Bacon, today’s guest blogger, examines the issue in reverse. How does the older woman/younger man dynamic affect a relationship – all aspects of a relationship? If you’re in a similar situation or know someone who is dealing with a May/December dilemma, read this post! Truthfully, for women and relationships of any age, her advice is not to be missed.

While you’re reading take special note of this quote: “One woman I know who is going through this EXACT same issue – among others – is Ayo Montgomery, the strong-willed main character of Niambi Davis’ debut novel…” Shonell is uniquely qualified to speak of Ayo’s hopes and fears. Everyone knows Bilal, the love of Ayo’s “prime of life”, but Shonell is one of the few people who knew Maurice, the great love of Ayo’s youth. Read what she has to say Click here to read more http://www.chicklitgurrl.blogspot.com

Shonell really is everywoman, a woman dedicated to the craft of writing. Many years ago, I remember her as more than generous with her talent, her time and advice. It’s still true today. Here’s more about Shonell and why you should subscribe to her blog: Educator-everywoman Shon Bacon created the blog ChickLitGurrl as a way to express her angst as she tried to break BACK into the publishing industry as a solo author, but she quickly realized that she cared more about words and writing and talking about writing with other writers than she did waxing pathetically about her rejection woes. Thus, ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING was born. You can find her here:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summertime - Voice Your Choice

Maybe the Weather Channel’s meteorologist for the Eastern Shore is suffering from heat stroke, because there is no way he or she could report a temperature of 75. As my father would say, it’s hotter than a burnt boot! But just like Ayo Montgomery, I love the summer. True, the sun shines in the winter as well, and there might be a case made for the sunlight on snow, but not for me. There is nothing like the bright, hot summer sun. And like Ayo, I’m an early riser. Many times daylight will find me on the mini-porch on the side of my house with a cup of coffee and a book. Today, however, my very special reading material was a review of From Dusk to Dawn by Monique (Deltareviewer) Bruner. What a way to begin the morning! She begins by speaking of vacation plans...

"When was the last time you took a vacation? As you make preparations, you are in total control – where to stay, what to see, everything is timed to the second. Until you fasten your seatbelt and realize that your ride will be a bumpy one. Well, that is exactly what Ayo Montgomery is going through. Ayo has finally recovered from her husband’s untimely death, her son leaving for college and the fact that her body product business is flourishing. She didn’t miss the male companionship until she laid eyes on Bilal Abdul-Salaam. Her nicely laid plans took an upswing making her life far more complicated and unpredictable.

Bilal is a peculiar businessman searching for the women of his dreams. As he takes a last minute appointment to help a friend, he finds his soul mate. Their initial meeting was a plane wreck waiting to happen. But their second chance encounter could be their first class ticket to love. That is if they can overcome societal (age, religious background, and culture) and other familial differences – they just might fly off into the sunset.

Ms. Davis flaunts her magnificent writing skills by offering a well crafted story, impressive attention to detail along with a dash of ethnic history. There is so much more than romance offered – you have suspense, explanation of the Muslim faith, details in family conflict, and sensuality. The secondary characters are extraordinarily written and add to the content of the storyline. The conflict made this story realistic and will embed these characters into your heart. Romance readers pick up From Dusk to Dawn because this is definitely worth the trip to the book store."

Be sure to check out more of Monique's reviews at www.myspacecom/realpageturners

Speaking of vacation, if the temperature is below 65, count me out. To put it bluntly, I’m not spending money to be cold. No skiing, snowboarding, winter wonderland for me. Give me the beach or the deck of a sailboat cruising around St. John, Cane Garden Bay, Tobago or Isla Mujeres. Or by the pool shown in my picture (December 2006 and I was in heaven)!So here’s a couple of questions: if someone showed up at your door with a suitcase full of pretty clothes and an open ticket to anywhere, what would be your vacation destination of choice? Has your dream vacation ever turned into a living hell?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oh, Those Reviews!

Before I was a published author, I read a lot about reviews and how they should be taken. I agreed (and still do) that they shouldn’t be taken personally, unless they are in fact personal. But the minute I joined the ranks of published authors, I’ll admit that the sharp elbow of emotion nudged some of that “understanding” out of the way. I held my breath for weeks; I believe the same is true for many authors, whether they’ve published one or one hundred books.

Today I received a wonderful review from Tavares Carney of The Culture Clique Book Club. She writes “I particularly enjoyed Bilal’s persistence and reliance on his faith in winning Ayo over, and although Ayo is strong-willed, her vulnerability made her character more true to life. Bilal was able to love Ayo the way she needed to be loved.” That’s just what I hoped readers would take away from the story. Here is Tavares’ complete review.

In From Dusk to Dawn, author, Niambi Davis, takes us on a tumultuous love journey between main characters, Ayo Montgomery and Bilal Abdul-Salaam. Ayo, budding entrepreneur and single mother to a college-age son, Kedar, believes she is too old and set in her ways to be in a relationship at this point in her life; therefore, she definitely is not looking for love. With her primary focus on her skincare product business and seeing to her son’s needs, Ayo is all but blindsided when Bilal enters her world. Bilal, an eccentric gentleman, becomes smitten with Ayo the first day he walks into her home. From their initial encounter, Ayo and Bilal fight the feelings they have for each other. Later, they let their guards down and the two seemingly become one. Throughout their relationship, Ayo and Bilal face familial challenges and health complications that threaten their bond.

What I like about this atypical romance story is the fact that everything isn’t peaches and cream between Ayo and Bilal. I particularly enjoyed Bilal’s persistence and reliance on his faith in winning Ayo over, and although Ayo is strong-willed, her vulnerability made her character more true to life. Bilal was able to love Ayo the way she needed to be loved. What I most liked about From Dusk to Dawn, is the fact that the main characters did not succumb to societal views regarding the age difference in their relationship.

I would definitely read another book by Ms. Davis.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Against All Odds - Southern Comfort

I can’t say it enough – there is something that draws me to the South. Part of it is history, and the other part the land – places like Sapelo, St. Simons, and beautiful Tybee Island, shown in this picture, and which Pearl Cleage fans will certainly remember. Two weeks ago I caught a severe case of Savannah-itis. On that same trip, on the spur of the moment, one member of our group decided to drive from Savannah to South Carolina. Unfortunately I had to be home early the next day; it was the only thing that kept me from the state on my must-see list.
Today, I get my wish – well, in a way. The Against All Odds Virtual Tour makes a stop at the home of the Carolina Diva. I know her as an exceptional writer, a fabulous mother and a woman generous with her advice and assistance. She read an excerpt of Dusk to Dawn long before it became a 250 page book. And now that it has, read what she has to say about Ayo and Bilal and who “ain’t tryin to hear no mess.” I love it! I know you will, too.
And speaking of the South, for the entire month of June I’ll partake of some wonderful Southern hospitality as featured author with the SistahFriend bookclub. Founded in November 2004 by Tasha Martin, the sisterhood began with four members in Columbia, SC. This Book Club is a live and online reading and networking group for women that focuses on reading and discussing books by African-Americans and promoting unity through women empowerment and fellowship. Once a month, members bond as sisters and discuss literary works in settings designed according to a theme, place, or character in a selected read. I’m honored to accept their invitation – these women celebrate sisterhood and the written word in the best possible way. Please stop by and visit at