I went out of town this weekend. My husband was so upset with the football game (it was so bad apparently, they fired the coach afterwards). He said he started to watch one of the millions (and millions) of Christmas movies I had on the DVR but just couldn’t bring himself to … not without me there. lol I couldn’t help but think of that old Secret commercial. lol. Husbands say the darndest things
1- I’m rethinking my life as a writer. Damn, she can write.
2- I’m still midway through it … listening to it while running errands, cooking and washing dishes. Last night I was in the kitchen when Iris & August step out of the closet and Caleb is there.
I was Ralphie and my kids were the dad.
Woke up today and it was 57 degrees! Hallelujah! My new Miss Moss planner stickers with the gray hair came in (just as my gray hair is coming in).. I’m ready for the next installment of Catalina Cove novel and Dunkin will warm you muffin for you (insert inappropriate giggle).
FALLING FOR THE BEAUTY QUEEN
Runway and pageant coach Charlotte Pendergrass has swapped her ex-husband’s lavish lifestyle for her family’s quiet Georgia cabin. Her charismatic next-door neighbor is a distraction she’s starting to enjoy. Successful pecan farmer Richard Swayne feels the chemistry between them, but the wary single dad guards his heart. As she helps Richard’s daughter fulfill her pageant ambitions, can Charlotte make her own dreams come true?
A TIARA FOR CHRISTMAS
Kimber Reyes has been good all year—and she’s ready to be a little naughty. Back in Southwood, Georgia, to help her aunt with a beauty pageant, she’s reconnecting with former bad boy Dario Crowne. Her other mission: track down the mysterious designer of beautiful pageant tiaras. Dario is guarding secrets—and his heart. But unless he reveals both, the perfect Christmas gift might slip through his fingers…
Remember the old skit Eddie Murphy did about his mom making him a hamburger rather than going to McDonalds? Yea… I’m now that mom except this is about swag. My author friend/#GirlCrush Kassanna showed me some cool sites for swag. Since I’m signing at #RWA19 this year for #Harlequin… I didn’t want to be the only person not giving away stuff….so I brainstormed and got crafty. There will be tradition swag.. but these were too cute to not do….
I’m signing Southern Seduction. If you haven’t read it.. you can find it here at one of these many many wonderful sites.
Hope to see you there…
Christmas in July means Christmas movies on Hallmark and HMM! I am still going through my list of movies saved on my DVR. Check out my reviews over on my FB page if you’re interested. It’s exciting.. but what’s most exciting is the countdown to the 2019 Holiday movies. I am totally looking forward to it. It seems everyone is getting wise with the diversity. This year there’s going to be a Hanukkah one (maybe 2)! So far there isn’t a time and date for the 2019 list but this is what I’ve found so far.
Clearly I’m on a deadline because I have taken the time to even research how many movies these repeat offenders has been in.
I can’t help myself. I have goals I tell ya!
|2019 Christmas Movies||Xmas Movie Repeat Offender||Reason to watch||Diverse story||Diverse Cast|
|2nd Chance for Christmas||AA characters||Vivica Fox|
|Merry & Brite||Andrew Walker|
|The Christmas Song|
|Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses|
|Holiday for Heroes|
|A Very Vintage Christmas||Tia Mowry-Hardrict|
|A Merry Christmas Match|
|Christmas Town||Candace Cameron Bure|
|Christmas in Rome||Lacey Charbet|
|A Christmas Wish||AA characters||Pam Grier,|
|Five Cards for Christmas||Chad Michael Murry|
|A Very Country Wedding||Harlequin Book|
|A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby|
|Christmas in the Wild|
|Holiday Rush||African American||AA Cast|
|The Knight Before Christmas||ehh|
|A Family Under the Christmas Tree (WIP)|
|Christmas Duet||African American||Rome Flynn|
|Two Turtle Doves|
All this Christmas talk gets me all in the mood for some holiday romance books. I feel like I just might be a Christmas Repeat Offender #DebbieMacomberGoals
PS… there are 23 weeks and 5 days until Christmas.
Next month you’ll be able to get your own copy of Southern Seduction.
I love to add food into my books. I wouldn’t call myself a “foodie” but I do like to eat…a lot. If you’ve read any of the Once Upon a Tiara series you visited The Cupcakery. Each season this bakery develops a cupcake to die for. Yes, as the author, I have made all of these cupcakes at one point in my life. Since this series is winding down, I thought I’d share the tiara for the hummingbird cupcake. By the way… did you know that this particular cake originated in Jamaica? #DessertHistory
Maggie Swayne, a one-time-beauty-queen, tops her hummingbird cupcake with a pineapple tiara. It’s fitting of course. No matter what Maggie’s going through…which right now is being cut off from the family-funds, she’s going to make her way….one way or another.
How did she make the pineapple tiaras you ask.. Well let me show you!
1-Let’s start with an apron… this can get messy.
2-Find a not-so-ripe pineapple. The firmer.. the better to slice.
3-Trim off the outside of the pineapple.
4- using the tip of a potato/carrot peeler,
dig out the “eyes” until it looks like this
5- Turn the pineapple on its side and slice super thin slice through the core and then lay flat on a paper towel
6. bake at 250 degrees for an hour. Flip after 30 minutes. When the hour is up, you may need to flip again. If they’re still wet, continue baking at 15-minute intervals. These are going to be sticky to the touch and that’s okay. You don’t want them juicy. Once they’re crispy/dry enough, pull them out and push them into a cupcake pan. While they’re drying, this will give them that upright crown appeal.
7. Let them dry over night.
8. Once they’re dry, crown your cupcakes!
Cool note.. they’re totally edible.. but don’t expect that candied-dried taste that comes from a trail mix.
Don’t forget to pre-order this fantastic deal!
I’ve been paired up with the fabulous Pamela Yaye this month. Check out her books.
Not ready to say goodbye to the sparkle? Check your local stores for the latest installment of the Once Upon a Tiara series, Tempting the Beauty Queen 👉https://tinyurl.com/ycgzpk62
Why are we fighting to sit at a table where we are not wanted…by the majority?
Let’s imagine there’s a dinner and a presentation. You may be allowed to sit at the table but you’re not allowed to eat. If you want to eat, you have to sit at a smaller table mixed with a bunch of people you don’t know but are placed there simply because you have similar hue.
What am I talking about? The RWA Ritas. Every year the members of RWA pay $50 to submit their release of that year if they want a chance at winning a RITA.
RWA acknowledged in a statement that basically, no Black author has won a Rita. Just to be clear, Beverly Jenkins (I say her name and bow down like Wayne and Garth “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy”, won RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award without ever winning a Rita.
If you follow twitter you will find that many Authors of Color #AOC are upset at this glaring mark.
In January of 2017 a group of #AOC got together and decided we are all going to
1-Judge the RWAs
2-Enter an eligible book. I was a part of this group.
As we all know by now, I have 6 kids in my house, 21, 17, 15, 14, 14, and 13. Five boys, one girl. Four of them are my nephews and they are growing like weeds. So between feeding 5 boys and keeping them in shoes that fit and are not torn at the bottom (the asphalt is a killer on their soles at our basketball goal). One kid plays soccer, two ran track, one does mock trial and debate. Between my kids’ schedule, work, my books on deadline, I managed to make time to read the seven entries I was given.
I gave everyone a fair shot and read from front to cover. Two of the authors in my group made it to the finals… so yay! But I also noticed, not one book given to me was written by a Black Author. It wasn’t until AFTER the Ritas were announced that we began to scratch our heads. Mind you… there are like at least 10 of us who entered and judged. That’s of the ladies I know. … not including the #AOC who may have entered (we don’t all know each other). But given that plenty of authors were upset… I believe there were more than 15 entries.
Now, with me being a newbie author and first time entering, but some of the folks I know who entered didn’t final. I’m like What the Entire EFF!!
So let’s fast forward after the hint of #RitasSoWhite got out, the statement came out and some truly nice, genuine authors offered to pay the entree fee for #AOC. And in this case I mean African American authors because two Latinx authors finaled. Alexis Daria and Priscilla Oliveras and their books are yummazing!
Back to the entree fee… it sparked more conversation. One fabulous author broke down the entrees of AOC/POC vs Non-AOC and times the number of people reading, percentages, math work, carry the two… anyway… as you can see, it sparked more conversation.
The twitter conversation brought up how Harlequin is ending their Kimani line. I am a Kimani author. A lady popped on and said she always thought that Kimani’s were for AA people only and what can she do to help? My initial knee-jerk reaction while at the orthodontist’s office with my son was to list my Kimani sisters and said start there… but I asked first.. what her favorite trope was. Click here if you want to see a list I found and I’m going to weave in some recommendations later on.
I do not want this lady to think I am knocking her or making fun of her for thinking Kimani books are only for African American women. She did reach out for some recommendations. But when I want to buy a book, I read the blurbs. I love anything Presents…but I don’t pull my hand back from grabbing Caitlyn Crews’ latest off the shelf because she is white and I am not. I don’t pick my movies that way. I like a challenge. I like to see what the heroine is up against and go from there. How are they going to to fall in love, back in love, and whatever. Folks, we all fall in love. We all fall for a type of guy. These guys exist in every color. It’s not rocket science.
Let’s go back to the tropes. Love a Small Town romance? Globe trotting romance? Science fiction? Fantasy? (don’t get me started about the co-worker who didn’t really get into my books because they’re not relate-able yet she devoured vampire books.
BUT an author decided she had an answer for it all. Separate awards. For reals folks! Here is the blog… Here’s the picture that conjures up in my mind though
(photo credit goes to http://talesforallages.com/)
Does she see the dangers of going BACK in time like that? Multicultural is not a genre. Was this person afraid that by giving #AOC a chance…that it would take away from her? Did the judges who didn’t score #AOC high so they’d place worry that their spot at the table would be taken? Did the success of The Black Panther freak people out? Please take a moment to read this article where the success was said to be Hollywood’s worst nightmare. *le sigh*
And everyone has a feeling on diversity. NPR got in on the discussion. The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem And we found out a few hours after that posted…the interviewer was given SIX names. Five of the authors were African American and one was a POC but not African American. The topic was about the exclusion of African American romance authors. Can you guess who the interviewer chose? I’m not surprised. I once saw a clip of this TV show (it was canceled) but the horrible ex girlfriend made the comment… “I want to eat Ethiopian food without being around Ethiopian people”..I mentioned the show was canceled, right.
I have this question. Why are we getting our feelings hurt… getting frustrated over seeking acceptance from folks who DON’T want us? In high school, did we keep trying to sit at the table where there were no seats? Or they flat out said
Why bring in our own table and invite those who WANT to sit with us–no matter the color/creed.. and what else do we say with that? Religion too. No one will be judged… unless you order your tea unsweetened, bite into string cheese rather than pull it apart, and/or sleep with socks on your feet.
I want to start my own group! Lower the membership fee. We’ll have a monthly bracket for the romance that come out that month. Each author will advance in their trope. Best Hometown Hero. Best Alpha Hero. Best.. you get it.
And we’ll name this table ..Be Our Guest.. or Best Guest.. oh! whatever!
clearly this is a work in progress but uh…
At this table we’ll have those who “get it” and those who are “woke” and down for the cause.. the cause being ROMANCE… the HEA Darlings!
Remember my favorite tropes.. these are just a few and my recommendations of #AOC if we share the same taste in these tropes.
- Alpha hero – our hero defines “Type A” – he’s driven, assertive, and in control of the world around him, except where his lover is concerned.. Ummm, aren’t they all?
- Athlete – sure, there are the big four – baseball, basketball, football, and hockey – but there are plenty of other sports around for one or both of our lovers to play. Sheryl Lister’s Still Loving You (football), Maureen Smith’s Denver Rebels series (hockey), Jamie Wesley’s Make the Play (basketball)
- Best friend’s sibling – usually, the heroine is the younger sister of the hero’s best friend (but other combinations are possible!) The sibling has always been taboo, but true passion upsets the status quo. Jacquelin Thomas’s Return to Me
- Billionaire – usually an alpha hero, this character can buy anything s/he wants, except for true love. Angela Seals’ Her Sweetest Seduction Pamela Yaye’s Seduced by the Tycoon at Christmas
- Disguise – one or both lovers pretends to be something s/he isn’t – an expert in the workplace, a member of a family, etc. – but s/he falls in love while in disguise and is forced to continue the ruse. Sean D. Young’s A Husband by New Year Nicki Night’s Desire in a Kiss
- Enemies to lovers – our lovers are enemies (business rivals, part of a family feud, law enforcement and criminal, etc.) until they realize the depth of their romance. Niobia Bryant’s A Billionaire Affair Phyllis Bourne’s Feud Brenda Jackson’s The Rancher Returns
- Fling – our lovers intend their relationship to last for a short time (from one night to a specific longer period, such as a vacation or a work project), but their relationship grows beyond those limitations. Nadine Gonzalez’s Exclusively Yours Sharon Cooper’s When Love Calls
- Friends to lovers – our lovers have been friends for some time, but only now are discovering that they want something more from their relationship. Sherelle Green’s Waiting for Summer , Sharon Cooper’s A Passionate Kiss
- Jilted bride – our heroine is left at the altar, but she discovers true love with the hero. Try KM Jackson’s Insert Groom Here
- Law enforcement – at least one of our lovers works in law enforcement (bounty hunter, FBI, police, etc.) Deborah Fletcher Mello’s Seduced by the Badge D. Camille’s Her Shield
- Marriage of convenience – our lovers are determined to marry but they feel no love for each other; rather, there is some business or social reason that compels their relationship. Yahrah St. John’s His San Diego Sweetheart
- Matchmaker – a matchmaker unites two lovers. This story can either be about how the two lovers make their relationship work, or it can be about how the matchmaker falls in love with one of the matched lovers. Farrah Rochon’s Deliver Me Carla Fredd’s Matchmaker
- May/December – our lovers have a substantial age gap. When a woman is the older lover, this is often called a “cougar” relationship. Kaia Danielle’s A Secret Desire
- Military – at least one of our lovers works in the military (Army (including Special Forces), Navy (including Seals), Air Force, Marines, etc.) Rochelle Aler’s Vows Brenda Jackson’s Bane
- Office romance – our lovers work together, either as co-workers or as employer/employee. Bridget Anderson’s Something About You Zuri Day’s What Tastes Like Love
- Performer – one of our lovers is an actor or a musician, with the temptation of other people in his/her field, often with the challenges of frequent travel. Synithia Williams’ A New York Kind of Love
- Politics – one of our lovers is a politician, works on a political campaign, or works in a government office, frequently under the scrutiny of media and with need for an impeccable reputation. Candace Shaw’s Her Perfect Candidate , start off with Cheris Hodges’ I Heard a Rumor
- Redemption – one of our lovers has committed wrongs in the past (either against the other lover, or against someone or something else) for which s/he must atone. Kathy Douglass’s How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart
- Return to hometown – one of our lovers returns to his/her hometown, either willingly or unwillingly, for a short time or with the intention to stay permanently. Danielle Burton’s He Said, She Said Kianna Alexander’s A Love Like This
- Revenge – one of our lovers is determined to get revenge for a real or imagined wrong in the past. That wrong might have been committed by the other lover or by his/her relative or close friend. Reese Ryan’s Savannah’s Secrets
- Royalty – one of our lovers is descended from royalty (or nobility); this trope includes sheikhs, princes, etc. Iris Bolling’s The Heart Always Wins AC Arthur’s Price Ever After Therese Beharrie’s United by Their Royal Baby
- Scars – one of our lovers lives with physical or psychological scars from the past and overcomes the pain of those scars with the help of the other lover. Christina Jones Love Notes
- Secret baby – our heroine is or was pregnant with the hero’s baby, but he does not know the child is his. Delaney Diamond’s Princess of Zamibia (also a Royalty story). LaQuette’s Lies You Tell
- (Wo)man in peril – one of our lovers is in physical peril from some outside person or organization; the other lover rescues him/her. Te Russ’ A Dangerous Love
This list, by far, does not equally represent the plethora of talented authors. My imaginary table is going to be filled with tons of people… folks on the list.. and folks I’ve met and read along the way.
Look! I’ve already picked out our dishes!
And remember… You don’t have to be a Beauty Queen to read my books.
Happy New Year, y’all!!
We are currently experiencing a #SnowDay here in Tallahassee, FL and so it gave me a chance to read all the inspiring articles in this month’s Pink Heart Society about #rebranding. My #KimaniSisters did their thing and now I’m sitting here hitting the backspace button on an idea I want to pitch…I’m seriously curled up under the covers feeling all inadequate after seeing how on-the-ball these ladies are! Y’all know I suffer from #AuthorEnvy (lol.. it’s a real thing! I promise!). As we all know, Kimani is closing and the questions are flowing from people….”So what now?” Um yeah, I don’t have the foggiest idea. These ladies have their shit together!
Like.. yeah..I saw on Harlequin’s Milestones how I’m celebrating book #5 along with some other spectacular authors (some of them are to blame for a big chunk of money disappearing from my wallet lol…you know who you are!). But if you got to their amazon pages…they have SO MANY other books in the works pre-and-post Harlequin Kimani.
So back to this blog about rebranding. I took a lot of their words to heart and want to thank them.
Ac Arthur –#Rebranding – The 3 ‘R’s of Starting Over
Zuri Day – #Rebranding – The Brand That Binds
Cheris Hodges – #Rebranding – Black Love Matters
Lindsay Evans -#Rebranding – Explore Other Avenues
Synithia Williams -#Rebranding – When One Door Closes
Reese Ryan – #Rebranding – Spreading the Love by Writing for Multiple Publisher Imprints
But if you get a chance .. here’s my article. I’m so honored to have been asked to participate.