Charlie & Mandy

Aside

Bury Me When I’m Dead is the first installment in a crime series, set in 2005 in Detroit, and featuring, African-American, private investigator, Charlene Mack.

Charlie, as she’s known, is decisive, prone towards being controlling, cunning—and she BMWIDCMMMhas a massive streak of empathy. The one thing that she’s not so clear about is accepting her sexual orientation.

In Bury Me When I’m Dead, Charlie is hired to find a missing person who has embezzled from her company, the search leads her to Birmingham, Alabama where she comes close to death and closer to a decision about her sexuality, with the help of a provocative, green-eyed, beauty, named Mandy Porter.

Mandy’s a decorated cop.  She’s always been an out lesbian which adds further tension to her new relationship with a closeted, Charlie.

Excerpt—Bury Me When I’m Dead

The two sat in an awkward silence. Charlie looked at her watch. Her plane didn’t board for another hour. Mandy took a sip of wine and savored the taste. They stared at each other for a while. Neither flinching.
“I really, really like you Charlie.”
“The feeling is very mutual.”
Mandy reached for Charlie’s hand and their fingers intertwined for a few seconds before Charlie pulled away.
“No one cares about two women holding hands, you know,” Mandy said with irritation.
“I’m not like you. I’m self-conscious about public displays of affection.”
“Would you be if I were a man?”
“Maybe not,” Charlie admitted. “I’m going to need some help with that.”

Mandy had accepted Charlie’s admission of bisexuality. She’d known other women who described themselves as bi, but she believed it had more to do with being afraid to come out of the closet than ambiguity. She took another sip of wine.  “Is it different, Charlie? To tell you the truth, that’s a surprise to me.”
“It can’t be that much of a surprise.”
“You’ve been distant lately. Not returning phone calls. I thought maybe you wanted to break things off.”
Charlie fidgeted in her chair, looked at Mandy, looked away, then held her in an earnest stare.  “I’m afraid of what I’m feeling. But there’s no denying that I’ve fallen in love with you.”

LibraryJournal blurb

A Writer’s Ode to Hamilton-An American Musical

Me at Hamilton

Me at Hamilton

Only for my birthday, a visit to the Great White Way, to see the show called Ham–like the theater nerd I am.
The price I paid was serious, to have the full experience. I can’t explain, was I insane?    But, oh…the show was all that’s claimed.

The music, lyrics, genius- born; design & lighting, three snaps up.
And if the hooks were not enough, choreography did all its stuff–
with pops and slides and steps and quakes, and slo-mo moves owning the stage.

Lin-Manuel was sure not messin’, when he conceived this history lesson.
Messages/themes both past and present:
Power, freedom, human condition, jealousy, legacy and ambition.
Lovers and Kings & fathers and sons.
“Immigrants: we get the job done.”

Hamilton dance movesGreat work changes how we see things.
Moves the needle in creating.
Borrows, samples, adds new heights, morphs the art and rocks the mic.
My great takeaway is this: Art must always be ambitious.

Take the form and give it bling.
For this writer, this play’s the thing.

 

A Community of Book Lovers: The GCLS Lesfic Con

I recently attended a conference of the Golden Crown Literary Society in Northern Virginia. It was my first time at the Con and I came as an author and a fan. GCLS logo

I credit the outstanding team at Bywater Books, who have published my mystery/P.I. novel, Bury Me When I’m Dead, and my friend, author Renée Bess (Breaking Jaie, Butterfly Moments, Re:Building Sasha) for nudging me to get to the GCLS annual event. They were absolutely right, it’s an amazing four-day gathering.
The first thing I was aware of was the sense of community. The Con overflowed with the good energies of Lesfic writers, and the readers who support the genre, and there’s no arms-length distance between authors, aspiring writers and fans at this ‘Respectfest’. Attendees rubbed elbows in the meeting rooms, the dining tables, the vendor area, the night-time activities (e.g. Karaoke) and the awards presentation. Authors signed autographs with gratitude and grace, and discerning readers provided insights and motivation to the writers whose characters bring them affirmation and joy.

Me, and Jewelle Gomez at the Author's Table.

Me, and Jewelle Gomez at the Author’s Table.

Diversity
The theme at this year’s GCLS conference was Cultivating Our Diversity. San Francisco speaker and trainer, DeAngela Cooks and I presented to an attentive and engaged audience about the ‘sense and sensibility’ of creating diverse characters in Lesfic. The main goal: to have our books reflect the world we live in and, thus, invite new audiences to our work.

Yet, there was much diversity in the room. I met women from a dozen states and several countries. Those who had been writing professionally for decades and others who were taking the first steps toward getting their works published. Science fiction/Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery and Romance writers read from their works. I discussed politics with a reader from Minneapolis and poetry with an established author from the northeast and shared laughs with attendees from San Francisco.

Did I Say, I’m a Fan? 
I shared Hershey Kisses with fans lined up to meet trailblazer, Jewelle Gomez, and lined up myself for an autograph from Katherine V. Forrest, the 2016 recipient of the Lee Lynch Classic Award for Curious Wine. From my own bookshelf, I brought Ms. Forrest’s second book, science fiction classic, Daughters of A Coral Dawn, and she noted as she wrote her name in a beautiful, cursive that my cover-worn book was a Naiad Press first edition, with cover design by Tee Corinne.     At the con were: Lee Lynch, Marianne K. Martin, Karin Kallmaker, Radclyffe, Georgia Beers, Rachel Spangler, KD MacGregor, Ann McMan, Nell Stark, Lynn Ames, Barbara Clanton, Dillon Watson, Carol Rosenfeld, RJ Samuel and many, many, many others.

That Toddling Town.GCLS 2017 poster
Tip of the hat to the GCLS Board for the success of this conference. Next Year’s Con will be in Chicago. Deep-dish pizza, jazz, improv, Obama-land, Wrigley Field, Magnificent Mile and, in July 2017 Lesbian writers. I’ll be there and I hope you can find a way to be there too.