Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Leap of Faith

Every now and again, that decision that has been plaguing you in the back of your mind begins to keep you up at night. You no longer simply "think about it" but begin talking about it to others. Generally it's to test the waters and see if anyone other than yourself thinks you're crazy. Little by little you begin consciously and unconsiously to put things in place to make the decision possible: going over the pros and cons, removing negative thinking and people of out your life and finally stepping out on faith and going for it.

This is what has happened to me. And after umpteen years of working for someone else, I've finally make the conscious decision to do my own thing and leave my very secure 9-5 and write full-time.

For those of you who have seen my writing history you may think--why the hell was I working a job in the first place. Well, a lot of it was security and having smaller children and to be honest, I actually liked my job. Something many folks cannot say. But, I've made the move and as of August 12, I will be officially "unemployed" for the first time since I was 19 years old. A scary but exciting thought.

I do hope that it will make me more productive (I have no choice--gotta write my ass off now!) But I am stepping out on faith and believing that I can do this and do it well.

All good thoughts and prayers are welcome!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hustle and Flow--Have Black Folks Been Hustled Again?

Let me say this upfront--I luv me some Terrance Howard. Loved him in "The Best Man" as the irreverant Quincy, loved him as Ralph Abernathy in "Boycott." Now, accoriding to critics, he is in the performance of his career as the pimp turned rap star in "Hustle and Flow."

The camps are divided on this one: yes it is a movie about pimps and hos but it's also a movie about having a dream and going after it. On the other side of the fence are the advocates for quality and equity in the media and holding up a pimp turned rap star is not a character that should be applauded--that the negative images that the movie projects overshadow any good.

On a personal note, I have a problem with the notion that the only image that can be projected and have dreams is a black pimp. I'm sure they have dreams like everyone else... and maybe, just maybe it is the only way the could find to make a living. But come on!!!

There is a lively debate going on at

I would love to hear opinions on the movie and how African Americans are portayed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

To Book Fair or Not

Book fairs for every manner of books abound. There are fairs, conventions, cruises, author-only and reader only events. How do you choose? What events are most beneficial to you as an author or a reader?

Cost is certainly a factor. When planning your event calendar it is truly important to get the most for the bucks. But a great deal of that is contingent upon what you want to get out of the event. If you are a reader are you simply looking to meet your favorite author, hook up with your friends and online buddies, find new books or attend seminars that will increase your own chances of publication? If you are a published author or aspiring one, are you looking to meet agents, editors or fans or pitch your next great American novel?

Most writer organizations host annual conventions (i.e., RWA, Romantic Times Book Lovers, Novelist Inc., Romance Slam Jam, the list goes on).

What is becoming more popular are cruises hosted by authors for their fans. These are for die-hard lovers of a particular author's work. A time for fans and fanclub members to get together and share their love of their favorite authors work.

Some events are driven by big name authors. Others attempt to showcase new voices and emerging genres.

The field is vast and there is something for everyone. But in choosing which events to attend, always try to bear in mind what it is you want to accomplish by attending. Is it going to be beneficially for you on some personal level and what the costs actually include.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Bag of Tricks

In the aftermath of the ugly bombings in England, New York City today launched a campaign that will allow police to randomly stop and search folks traveling on the New York City subway system... buses are next.

For the most part, I'm with folks on wanting to be safe. But how far is too far? With the Government approving 14 of 16 points of the revised Patriot Act, we are in for some shit folks. Let's be for real.

Example: with all the training the intelligence agencies (and I use the term loosely) has had in allegedly being able to spot "suspicious" people they have yet to "randomly" capture a damn soul that ever had anything to do with terrorism. NO One!!!! Even when they had suspected terrorists under watch, those suckers still got away with whatever they wanted to do. Meanwhile your 90 year old grandmother is being strip searched in the airport!

Little by little our civil liberties are being eroded and by the time we wake up and smell the coffee we will all be walking around with microchips embedded in us so that our activities can be monitored.

George Orwell must be standing up in his grave saying "I told you so." But even he could not envision what has become of American society.

So... is this latest effort on the part of the American government to do random searches on the buses and trains legitimate, or simply another way to legally profile individuals under the guise of keeping us safe--another bag of political tricks??

If you asked me, they wouldn't know a terrorist if they came up and slapped them in the face.

What is your opinion?

Beware... random searches are on their way to a neighborhood near you!


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Value (de-value) Of Street Fiction

There has been much debate, sometimes heated over the surge of street/urban fiction into the marketplace and its impact on the black literary market. Much of it is self-published, poorly written on several levels and tend to applaud the lifestyles of drug dealers, hustlers, prostitutes and the like. Of course, there are a few that are relatively well written (rare).

The concern however is not the staggering numbers of these books but rather their content and the impression that they leave on the most vulerable of readers--young adults who buy these books in mass.

Are these urban books yet another reflection of the fall of black cultural society? Is it indicative of who we are and what we have become, or is it simply yet another fad that will at some point fade from view?

Many advocates tout that "they are just happy that black folks (especially kids) are reading. Bullshit. That's like sitting your kid down in front of hip-hop videos for hours with the vulgarity of the language and the exploitation of women and not expect those visuals to have an effect on the viewer.

But again, these urban books are about the all-mighty dollar, no matter the effect it has on the population. It is the same mentality of drug pushers--"it's not personal just business and if you happen to get hooked well I'm more than happy to keep supplying you."

It's a problem.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

(Left) On Friday, July 15, Shunda Leigh of Booking Matters Magazine hosted a great event for my visit. Here is a picture of me (center) guest (left) and author Kendra Norman Bellamy hanging out for a minute.

(Top) Here I am in California (San Francisco) at Alexander's Books with Bernard (event manager) who hosts lunchtime signings.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hotlanta Live

Wow, the past few weeks have gone by like a whirlwind. But it's been all good. This weekend, I was in Hotlanta!!! One of the nicest events I've attended in a while was hosted for me by Booking Matters Magazine. Shunda knows her stuff and certainly put together an amazing evening. It was a full house and I'm pretty sure everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I did! And as soon as I figure out how to upload my pictures from my brand new digital camera I will share them. LOL.

Gotta give a shout out to Tee Royal from RawSistahs who trekked from damn near South Carolina to join me for the evening.

This coming weekend is the Harlem Book Fair, and yes I will be out there as well--working my day job for the library and doing my author thing as well. Whew.

Pictured above is me with some of the ladies at the Booking Matters Event on July 15. Seated next to me is Shunda Leigh who organized the event.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Courageous Hearts is a special edition collection of my very first three (full length) novels for the Arabesque line. The collection includes: Temptation, Scandalous and Deception.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Jet Lagged by Happy

Just getting back from the West Coast. Spent the past few days in Oakland and San Francisco as part of my tour for GETTING HERS. Had a great time and more important met some really wonderful people. I definitely have to thank Christine Ellington from Same Page Promotions for once again setting up a successful tour. While I was traveling for almost six hours to get there, I had the opportunity to read Camika Spencer's new book He Had It Coming. Parts are truly hilarious as a group of sistahs in a book club kidnap an obnoxious male author and demand that he change his upcoming book entitled "Bitches." There were a few holes in the story and some uneven transitions but it definitely put me in a mind of one author in particular (who will remain nameless). I only wish I had the nerve to do the same thing! LOL.

Anyway, if you are an author and ever decide to visit the West Coast definitely use Same Page Promotions. Top notch!

Well, I've run out of reasons not to finish my I guess it's back to the keyboard.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Those Darn Deadlines

Well, once again, a deadline has come and gone... without my novel. Sigh... Every contract I promise myself that I will do better this time, and alas, I don't. Sometimes I wonder if it's some kind of self-conscious sabotage.
In any event, I have a novel to finish really fast. And a short story that is also "past due." With two full-length novels due in September my literary ass is in a sling.

So rather than continue chatting... I think I will finish watching my movie and figure out how I'm going to accomplish so much in so little time.

All prayers are welcome!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Come on and Hang Out!!

Booking Matters presents....Friday Night Mystery Dinner
with bestselling author


(Donna's New Bestseller is "Getting Hers")

which will be available for purchase at this event by B's Books & More

Event being held on Friday, July 15th @ 7pm

Showtime Cafe' (Patio)
687 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA 30312

The Event is FREE - we are asking guest to order dinner from Showtime


Monday, July 04, 2005

The Essence Fest

Just getting back from the Essence Festival and I had a grand old time. The folks were out in record numbers and doing their thing as only black folks can. Another writer friend of mine, Gwynne Forster commented on her blog about the rate of obesity among black women that was rampant in New Orleans. I've added my comments to her blog. It is apparent that obesity is a national illness among blacks and especially among our youth. It is frightening as well as the most unsightly display I've ever had the displeasure of viewing. This unhealthy path is yet another road to our slow demise.

But other than that, I got to the Queen herself Ms. Aretha, Alicia Keyes who turned out, and John Legend who is in my humble opinion unparalled as a new artist. The boy can blow hands down! If you have not purchased his CD do so without haste.

The booksignings at the Convention center went very well and my new novel is now in the hands of many more people.

Later this week I will be heading to California (San Francisco) so those in the area, do stop in. I will be at Alexanders Bookstore on Friday at noon and several other locations. Check my website for locations (

Then next week (july 15-16) I will be in Atlanta for the National Black Arts Festival, signing at Medu Books on Saturday, and doing a Dine with the Author on Friday, sponsored by Booking Matters Magazine. I hope you will join us.

Well that's the round up for now.