Eli's Way cover2COMING … Sooner or Later (you know I’m terrible about predicting these things), the sequel to ‘Ivy’s League’


From ‘Eli’s Way’:

On October 12, 2009, Eli Thomason awoke to the clear and certain knowledge that he was no longer in love with his wife. Like opening his eyes the morning after suffering through a long and uncomfortable fever, he felt the absence of that love and the lightness and emptiness in his heart where it once had been. It happened just that suddenly.

He sat up in bed and took a breath, allowing the feeling to settle inside him, examining it for authenticity. It was true—he didn’t love Stacy anymore.

She’s gone, he whispered.

Later, when he was busy and occupied with his day, the full dimensions of the realization would have dulled a little bit, but the core of his new understanding would remain—his marriage was as good as over.

What did you say?

Next to him in bed, Stacy rolled over and mumbled, looking up at him with sleepy, half-open eyes. She was just as pretty as she had always been, and now, like this, even sexy. But he felt nothing for her. The evening before had been rough and tension-filled, as most of their evenings now were.

Nothing, he said.

Stacy turned over and hugged her pillow in a way she had not hugged him in ages, already uninterested in him and whatever it was he might have had to say.

She was gone. From his heart, and now, Eli knew, soon to be gone from his life as well.


And on Tuesday February 2nd, 2015, Eli Thomason woke up with the clear and certain knowledge that he was in love in Ivy Livingstone, and would be for the rest of his life. He didn’t know how he knew, but he just did. Only three weeks since their long separation over the holidays, and one week since he had begun sleeping in her bed again, and yet he knew.

“Why don’t you do it here?”


“Yes. Do it in the basement. There’s a lot more room, and if you’re going to be spending the entire day watching football, at least I get to know that you’re nearby.”

Only partly dressed, Ivy stuck her head out of her dressing room as she stepped into her skirt. She paused as she awaited his response. Eli smiled at her, his gaze scanning the length of her legs, clad in dark, opaque tights. Jaden was at his father’s so they could take their time getting ready for work and have breakfast together. Ivy still preferred that her son not wake up with Eli in the house since they hadn’t quite broken it to him that “Mr. Eli” was a little more than a “friend” to Mommy.

But having him host a Super Bowl party at her place certainly sounded like the kind of thing a woman would be comfortable with only if she was planning for a man to be around for a long time. Particularly since Ivy herself couldn’t care less about what was up in the NFL on any given Sunday.

“What’s the hesitation about?” she laughed, emerging from her dressing room and grabbing a silk blouse off her armchair and shrugging it on. “You’ll get to use that basement you helped me fix up. Or is it that you don’t want your friends to meet me?”

“Some of my friends can get real rowdy on Super Bowl Sunday,” Eli warned, though his misgivings went much deeper than that.

“So what? Don’t all men get rowdy on Super Bowl Sunday? The only condition I have is that you not expect me to fetch and carry buffalo wings, and chips and beer and what-not. Another thing that happens to men during football season is that they turn into Neanderthals and start ordering their women around.” She winked at him and went looking for her pumps.

While she executed her search mission, Eli reached for his overnight bag and grabbed his undershirt. He had a job clear on the other side of the Beltway and would have to leave in half an hour if he wanted to be at the job-site before his guys got there. But for that time constraint, he would have wanted to have more of a conversation about this. Hosting a football party with a bunch of dudes at Ivy’s house shouldn’t be that big a deal, but it was. Last night he noticed when he opened the fridge that she had added some of his favorites to her grocery list, and in her bathroom, there were new toiletries, an extra toothbrush, razors and other items he invariably forgot to bring when he spent the night.

For Ivy, these things were a natural progression of their relationship and she didn’t make a big deal or attach any expectations to them. But Eli did. They had stumbled a little coming out of the gate, but now he felt as though they were as strong a unit as he’d ever known. And if he’d learned anything about Ivy, he was pretty sure she was ten steps ahead of him, and probably already knew what he had only that morning realized—that any outcome other than the two of them being together was unacceptable.

Catch up by reading ‘Ivy’s League’! Available now on Kindle and Nook.

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Strong Enough promoMost Sundays I just post a sample and let it speak for itself. This time, I wanted to tell you a little more about why I wrote this book. I had a couple of creative inspirations, as I mentioned in a previous blog, and this book came out of me and poured onto the page in less than a week because of that inspiration. But in addition to the folks that helped this idea germinate, for a while I’ve observed something interesting: while some Black women have been bemoaning the lack of “good men” there is a segment who see that problem from a unique perspective–meeting men who are perfectly “good” but who think that by virtue of  her individual success somehow, she would not consider them as partners. And of course, there’s always the segment of friends and family who are beating that drum as well and reinforcing the “scarcity of men” message, but particularly for women who are successful in their own right.

I have a friend who was planning to buy a house and her mother told her not to because then “men will think they can’t do anything for you that you can’t do yourself.” Her mother was basically telling her not to price herself out of the market! (She went ahead and bought the house, by the way).

Another variation on this theme comes when, like Ivy, a successful woman meets a man whose own success is comparatively modest and he starts hearing our society’s mantra in his head about men having to be the breadwinner and provider so the relationship goes awry either because he begins to feel competitive with his woman, or simply insecure. And of course it’s not always the man’s fault. I personally know a couple women who thought they were prepared to be in a relationship with a man with less than them, and who later found out that it was they who were hearing that mantra about men providing and they who came to resent their man for not being that person. One friend complained to me about her man not being able to cover the full cost of an expensive tropical vacation she’d planned for them.

Now, of course my little book doesn’t give any answers to this dilemma, but it was a lot of fun describing all the troubling questions that arise. Anyway, I hope you’ll check it out. And to help encourage you to do that, here’s a little snippet of ‘Ivy’s League’.

From  ‘Ivy’s League’:

He was there for almost thirty minutes, standing by himself near the bar before Ivy noticed he was gone. And when she did, Eli watched her look frantically around the room like someone who had just realized they misplaced their car keys or phone. Then she stood and finally located him, her shoulders sagging in relief. Leaning over to whisper something in Ryann’s ear, she gave a brief wave to Bernie and the other guy and then headed toward him.

“What’s the matter?” she mouthed when she was directly in front of him.

Over her shoulder, back over at the sofas, Eli saw Ryann shake her head and roll her eyes.

“I’m tired, Ivy,” he said loud enough so he could be sure she heard him. “It’s been kind of a long day.”

“Okay, so let’s go. Why didn’t you say something?” She took his hand and after one last wave in the direction of her friends, they left.

In the truck, Ivy immediately slid her shoes off her feet and curled them beneath her, using her coat as a blanket and resting her head on his arm. Eli’s minor irritation grew. He needed her to recognize his mood and respond to it; he didn’t want to have to tell her he was feeling crappy. As unfair as it was, that was what he felt like right now—and if Ivy wasn’t half-drunk and hadn’t been spending all her time with her friends she would have detected his mood ages ago. Because that was the way Ivy was with him—attentive, nurturing, intuiting what he wanted in and outside the bedroom.

In just a matter of weeks, Eli was strung out on that, and on her. He wanted her all the damn time, and it frustrated him that in watching her with her friends tonight, he realized something—it wasn’t the same for her. She had a complete other life without him in it. If he wasn’t there, she would find a Bernie to fill his slot in an instant.

“How much did you drink?” He was picking a fight and he knew it. But if he was uncomfortable, he was damned if she wasn’t going to be uncomfortable too.

“I can’t even remember. We started early, like I told you. Ugh. I better get lots of water in me tonight.”

“Right. Because I don’t want you hung over at my mother’s Thanksgiving dinner.”

At that, Ivy sat up and looked at him. “I’ll be fine for tomorrow. All I need is a lot of water.”

“Because you’ve done this before, I guess.”

“Done what before, Eli? Gone out with friends and had a couple too many. Yeah, I guess I have. But only very occasionally. Unless you forget, I have Jaden most of the time, so it’s not like this is a habit or something.”

“And what about that Bernie guy? Him hanging on you like that, is that a habit?”

“Eli.” Ivy’s voice was firm and she sounded completely sober all of a sudden. “Stop it. What is it? What’s really going on?”

And at that, he deflated. Eli’s heart contracted with a strong emotion he recognized all too well. Except this was stronger, deeper than anything he’d felt before. This was so strong, so deep he could almost feel it choking him. She knew him. She knew him. It had been no time at all, and she could read him like a book.

“Bad day,” he managed. “That’s all.”

Ivy reached out and touched his cheek. “Sorry to hear that, baby,” she said, stroking him there. “Want to talk about it?”

Eli told her about the check bouncing and about the overdraft, about his fears for the winter and about Zion’s school fee. On any other day, he might not have thrown that part in, but what the hell? The weight of it felt like too much sometimes, and Ivy was always there, wanting to lighten the load.

“I’ll take care of it,” she said unexpectedly.

“Take care of what?”

“All of it. I’ll loan you some cash until you clear things up, and then …”

“No. I’m not letting you pay my son’s school fees. My bank fees.”

“I’m doing neither of those things. I’m loaning you some money for a couple weeks, and that’s all.”

“What’s the difference?” Eli snapped, his voice sharper than intended.

“The difference is I’m not giving you something you wouldn’t otherwise have, I’m just helping you stop the bleeding until you can catch up with the person who put you in this mess.”

“And if I don’t? If they don’t pay me right away? Then I’ll owe you.”

“And wouldn’t you rather?” Ivy challenged. “Wouldn’t you rather owe me than Woodmore? Than the bank?”

“No,” he said. “I wouldn’t.”

“Then you’re an idiot,” Ivy said. This time she was the one who snapped.

She pulled away, leaning against the passenger side door rather than on him, and neither of them spoke for the rest of the way to her house, which was saying something since the ride was not a short one. Once there, Ivy got out before him, walking barefoot to the front door and letting herself in, leaving it open for Eli to follow.

He had spent many nights here before, and was familiar with every room now, but tonight it felt foreign. Its … niceness was an affront. The high ceilings he admired, the granite countertops in the kitchen and pristine floors throughout were all trumpeting his failure and crying out her success. Eli dropped his overnight bag at the foot of the stairs leading to the second level, considering whether he should stay.

“Do you want one?” Ivy was standing in front of her Viking refrigerator, holding a bottle of water up to him.

“No thanks,” Eli shook his head. “Look …” he began. In the kitchen, her back to him as she stood in front of the open fridge, Ivy froze, waiting. “I think I’m just going to head out. I need to be alone tonight. Tomorrow I’ll just come before dinner to get …”

“No.” Ivy turned and shut—no, slammed—the refrigerator door.

It was Eli’s turn to freeze.

“You’re staying here,” she said. “That’s what we planned and that’s what we’re doing. I’m not letting you go off somewhere and lick your wounds because you had a bad day and God forbid, I’m in the financial position to help. No, Eli. We are not doing that. You’re not leaving.”

He gave a brief laugh.  “Ivy, what the … what’re you going to do? Physically prevent me?”

She came from behind the kitchen counter and stood in front of him. “Of course, I can’t do that,” she said, and her lips were trembling.

Feeling like an asshole, Eli put a hand at the side of her face. “Look, don’t … don’t cry or anything, a’ight? You just don’t understand, Ivy. As a man, I can’t …”

“Stand the idea that I might have something you don’t? That I can help when you need it? No, I don’t understand—you’re right. What if the situation were reversed? Would you want to help me?”

“Of course. But that’s what a man is supposed to do!”

“And a woman is supposed to be her man’s helpmate.”

Eli exhaled and ran a hand over his head, removing his knit cap and resting it on the foyer table. His coat he removed and hung in the coat closet. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ivy’s shoulders relax now that she knew he wasn’t leaving.

“C’mon,” he said, taking her hand and grabbing his bag. “Let’s just go upstairs and get some sleep. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.”

By her slight hesitation, Eli knew that Ivy’s impulse was to insist that they stay and talk it out. But it didn’t matter how long they talked, or what she said. He wasn’t taking her money. To do so would make him feel small, and that wasn’t what he wanted to feel with her. That was too much like the place he’d been before.

‘Ivy’s League’ is available now on Kindle and Nook.

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Thursday Teaser: Ivy’s League – AVAILABLE NOW.

Ivy bed promo flat largeFrom ‘Ivy’s League’:

“Eli … stop. You know I can’t stay any longer. Your mother’s going to be here any minute with …” Ivy gasped at the sensation as his tongue made contact. She was already incredibly sensitive and a little sore from the night before.

But god that felt good …

Eli …” She looked down at the mound that was his head, moving beneath the sheets; and almost of their own volition, her legs spread wider, instead of closing which was what her brain had instructed them to do.

Her overnight stay had been unscheduled and unplanned, taking place after a Woodmore Praise Chapel during which both their kids had performed. Gavin attended, and afterwards asked whether Jaden could spend the night, and so with a couple of hasty text messages to Eli, Ivy inveigled him to make similar arrangements for Zion if he could. Then there was a speed-race down the Capital Beltway to his house, where they both barely got in the door before he was on her. Ivy’s face was pressed against the wall, her pants unceremoniously yanked down, and her underwear ripped until it was a useless rag.

But the interlude was destined to be brief because it was a weekday morning and Zion was on his way back here with his grandmother to get dressed for school; and Ivy had to run home and pack a bag for Jaden and meet his father in the parking lot at Woodmore to hand them over since this was his weekend.

The sun had not yet risen and it was bitterly cold. Around Eli’s house, there were several mature trees, and though few of them still bore leaves, Ivy could hear the wind through the branches, making it difficult for her to come to complete wakefulness. The last thing she wanted was to leave this bed, and this man who now was sliding up along the length of her body, his hand on her inner thigh, stroking and coaxing.

“One more time,” he breathed.

“Eli, we can’t.”

“One more,” he said again.

He nudged against her, and Ivy realized that he wasn’t wearing a condom. He froze, and that was when she knew he realized the omission too. They were face to face now, and their eyes met. Eli’s held a question. Without saying a word, Ivy answered him, arching slightly upward off the bed and allowing him to slide deep inside her.

Damn you feel good,” he said, pushing even deeper and clutching her ass with both hands.

Ivy pulled her knees toward her chest and wrapped her legs high up and around his back. Eli increased his pace, thrusting hard and long and deep. The pressure and pleasure and rhythm all rolled into one delectable and indescribable sensation, and Ivy’s eyes lost focus.

“You with me, baby?” Eli asked breathlessly, sounding, Ivy thought, a little panicky.

That was quick, and unlike him. But she could certainly relate. Without the latex barrier, every feeling was so much more … vivid. Eli was about to come. He didn’t want to do it without her, and from experience Ivy knew he would hold out to the point of discomfort to avoid it.

Through her pleasure, she smiled. Oh Eli, she thought, this macho bullshit has got to stop.

Struggling to focus, she raised her head and licked his earlobe, then took it between her lips and gently sucked, tugging it once, twice, and then …

“Goddammit!” Eli grunted and went stiff as a board. For the first time, Ivy felt his release deep inside her. It felt right, the way their lovemaking was supposed to be. She clenched tighter, pulling him in and holding him there.

She opened her eyes still smiling, but Eli was not.

“I told you don’t do that!” he hissed.

Ivy giggled.

AVAILABLE NOW. #2 AA Literary Fiction.


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The Book Where Nothing Happens


I like books where nothing happens.

I know, I can feel you rolling your eyes and thinking, “What on earth is she on about now? And where is that Acosta book she’s been promising forever?” But stay with me … Though Ivy's LeagueI am as much  a fan of books where there’s lots of action and surprises I especially love books (and movies) where there is the slow evolution of characters as they realize something about themselves, their lives and their relationships. That happens sometimes in the middle of a crisis, but sometimes it happens in slow stages, as they’re going about living their daily lives. Something small may happen to trigger big changes.

So recently, after reading a few books like that, I decided to write one. And I have to give credit where it’s due–this book happened because of women I know, because of experiences in my own life and in no small part because I read a book called. ‘The Reeducation of Aria Jackson’ by Angelia Vernon Menchan, and another called ‘A Natural Woman’ by Lori Johnson, and also because of something Aja Graves said in passing which she now tells me she has no recollection of.

I mention these inspirations because it’s not often that you know from whence you’re stealing your ideas as a writer, so when on the odd occasion I have that level of self-awareness, I like to holler it out. Anyways, ‘Ivy’s League’ is a mashup of ideas from all those people. It’s a book about a woman not unlike most of the women I know, and about a man, not unlike some of the men I know. And its about their slow coming together. Other than that, not much of anything happens. But I had fun writing it, and hope you’ll have fun reading it.

‘Ivy’s League’ will be on Amazon on Monday, September 21st and on Barnes & Noble shortly thereafter.

And yes, Miri Acosta and her education are still on the way. Soon.

About ‘Ivy’s League’

By any measure, she is a success. By any measure that is, except her own.

Ivy Livingstone has entrée into Washington DC’s political elite, lives in an exclusive neighborhood and sends her son to a sought-after private school. But her beautiful life is a gilded cage. She is independent, but alone. And unfortunately, very few men are confident enough to believe they are in Ivy’s league.

Eli Thomason has all the confidence in the world, except when it comes to his own judgment about women. And his attraction to Ivy Livingstone proves him right. She is everything he shouldn’t want: a woman above his station and beyond his means. He overreached once before and still lives with the heartbreaking consequences, so why does he find it so difficult to leave Ivy alone?

And if their own baggage isn’t enough, Ivy and Eli have to contend with that of everyone around them, hell-bent on confirming their worst fear: that the bond they’re beginning to build can’t possibly last.

From Ivy’s League:

“What’s going on, girl? You all alone finally?” Ryann answered her phone without greeting.

“Yup. Gavin and Jaden just left. Now I’m bored.”

“Call up your little Toolbelt Stud and tell him to come over,” Ryann laughed. “You don’t know when you might get another chance, since Gavin is only a seasonal father.”

“I’m sorry I mentioned him to you at all,” Ivy said, though she had been thinking along the same lines herself.

“Why? First time in months I heard you talk about a man!”

“Because now you’re going to pressure me to do something you know I’m not comfortable doing.”

“Look, the worst has already happened,” Ryann argued. “Your goofy ass fell out and showed your literal ass, so it can only get better from here.”

Ivy laughed and idly reached down, yanking up the leg of her sweats and running her fingertips over the scrape on her knee. “So you think I should just call him and … what? Ask him out on a date?”

“Why not? It’s the twenty-first century, Ivy. Women who wait around for a man to make the first move wind up … waiting around.”

“I don’t know,” Ivy said. “What if he has a girlfriend?”

“Then hopefully he’ll say so from jump and you won’t almost get cut up by some pissed-off chick from Southeast showing up in your driveway at two in the morning looking for her man.”

“You scare me sometimes, you know that? That sounded way too detailed to be made up on the spur of the moment.”

“Who said it was made up? I didn’t ever tell you about …. Oh crap. I have to go, girl. I see one of my targets walking through the lobby. Let me go see if I can talk to him. He should be good for at least two hundred grand for the Foundation.”

“Okay, I’ll call you later.”

“Don’t,” Ryann said. “Don’t call me until and unless you’ve called that man first. And you better have a good story to tell too, or I’ll hang up on you.” And then she did just that.

Ivy walked through kitchen, picking up the remains of her and Jaden’s early breakfast, dumping leftover food in the trash and the dishes in the sink. Looking around her, she admired her kitchen.

Large and sunny, the surfaces were all white granite, the cabinets, dark oak. She had paid a pretty penny to have it renovated when she moved in, proud of the accomplishment of buying her first home, and filled with a bursting sense of endless possibilities. She would entertain; friends would sit around the center island with long-stemmed glasses filled with the best chardonnay. She would serve goat cheese and Scottish smoked salmon on rosemary and basil crostini, and they would all have clever conversation about the Obama Administration.

But once she and Jaden had moved in, Ivy grew weary of the constant din of construction, and more than that, wary of the numbers being quoted to her by unscrupulous contractors for whom a single woman of means was like blood in the water to man-eating sharks.

She had gotten as far as the kitchen but still had the basement to go, and there was a stubborn recurring clog in her guest bathroom that made her have to steer overnight guests to her master bath instead. It hadn’t been a huge problem thus far because overnight guests were rare. Only her mother, her Aunt Gwen, and Ryann when she had too many glasses of pinot, ever needed to spend the night. One day, though, Ivy would have to get that bathroom fixed.

One day. Or ….

Ivy paused, leaning over her sink and biting into her lower lip.

It was what Ryann would call a “bitch-move”—calling Eli up and telling him she needed some work on her house just so she could see him again. But the fact of the matter was, she did need some work done on her house and the chance of him actually cheating her on the price was slim-to-none since they kind of knew each other. And he probably went to Woodmore Church and was in the Men’s Auxiliary or something. Guys like that didn’t cheat single mothers out of their hard-earned money did they?

Finding her purse, Ivy fished out the business card he’d handed her just before they parted. The card was simple and tasteful, with none of those superlatives (fast, excellent service!) that made her instantly suspicious. Instead it consisted of just six words, and a phone number in a simple, unadorned script.

Thomason Home Improvements

Repairs. Remodels. Restoration.

The card stock was expensive and dense though, so Eli Thomason clearly recognized that the simplicity of the words had to be offset by a subtle nod to quality of workmanship. She smiled, liking him more by the second.

At the school, even though she had a mission to get Jaden’s birthday stuff down to the Café and get to work, she had been almost excruciatingly aware of him walking just behind her, except for when he held the doors open for her—or standing just over her shoulder. It was ridiculous, but he just felt … solid. A strong reassuring presence that a woman could lean into, bury her face into his chest and just … cry.

Ivy shook her head. What a ridiculous thought! Why would she need to cry?

Her life was good. People probably envied her. She had a four-bedroom house in one of the best neighborhoods in the Washington DC suburbs, where the value of real estate only ever increased; her son was handsome and healthy and well taken care of; she had friends (a few anyway) and a career that gave her the chance to influence causes she cared deeply about. And on her best days, she felt pretty, didn’t carry an extra ounce of weight, was in good health and fairly young. Why on earth would she need to cry?

Shoving the question out of her mind, and pushing even further down the possible answers to the question, Ivy reached for the phone. She hadn’t given Eli her number because he didn’t ask, so there was a good chance he might not answer. Hesitating, she dialed the number but did not hit the ‘send’ button.

Happy Reading!


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Shaking Things Up

Books-and-red-wineI’ve decided it’s time for a change. A couple of changes in fact. The first is that I’m forming a book (& wine) club, starting with one in Washington DC. The concept is simple. Good books. Good wine. Good conversation. And of course, good ambiance. The setting will be mellow and intimate; in a private event room in a lounge, wine bar or similar locale. Attendees will have at least eight weeks to complete the book, which will be issue-oriented women’s fiction, or something amazing and provocative that comes out in the non-fiction realm like Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, or the intriguing Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (thanks Tammy Jackson!).

I think I’ve roped a couple writer-friends into helping make these events happen in more than one city, hopefully simultaneously, and maybe we can make a movement out of it!

What inspired me was a couple book club meetings I’ve been to recently, where quite apart from the conversation about books, there was really mind-blowing, stimulating conversations about the world. And books are, for me, always a really great conduit to those conversations. I don’t mean to suggest that these book & wine club meetings won’t ever have fun conversations about the latest hot indie (and other) authors, but they will primarily be a good way for us to go deeper, and ask questions like, ‘Is Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith Black America’s revenge fantasy?‘ I’d love to talk about great literature, but also want people who’re interested in talking about great ideas.

The plan is to have the first meeting this fall sometime. I’ll post more as it develops, but if this thumbnail sketch sounds good, look out for more soon!

story editingNow to the second thing. Occasionally I get email from writer-friends asking for me to beta-read, or copy-edit. And the answer is always ‘no’. Copy-editing is not my forte (are you kidding me?) but, nor is it an interest of mine. And I don’t use beta-readers and don’t much want to become one. Beta readers are a writer’s end-users who react to a finished product. But what I do on occasion is read for other writers to help story-edit. Story editors help shape the narrative in both form and effect. For me, playing this role usually works best when I know the writer well, or at least get a chance to talk to them about the mood and tone they’re trying to get to. When I’ve done this, I give feedback about whether the tone they mentioned they want to strike came through for me, whether the characters were consistent, whether the narrative voice is effective and the story arc works.

Beginning this fall, I’m going to be offering story-editing services for a fee. I do this for free now (and will continue to on occasion) because it’s fun to help shape a narrative and share ideas and get truly invested in someone else’s story; and because honestly, I learn just as much as if not more than I impart, and have my own writing enriched by paying attention to that of others. But now, I think it’s time to monetize this activity because, hey, who doesn’t want to get compensated for their work? But more than that, because in doing so, it forces me to apply more focus and seriousness to an activity that before now, was something I did casually for a friend or two while I had my morning coffee, or a break at work.

So if you’re out there and looking for someone who will do more than find typos (because for that I am definitely not your girl), consider hitting me up at I’ll roll out more about this later, as well, but feel free to reach out now if you’re interested. In the meantime, as always ….

Happy Reading!


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SAMPLE SUNDAY: ‘The Education of Miri Acosta’

Eduardo promo

FROM ‘The Education of Miri Acosta’:

“So, are you going to help me or not?”

“Help you with what, Eduardo?”

“The social media nonsense.”

Miri smiled in spite of her earlier resolution to freeze him out. It was a good thing he couldn’t actually see her smile. It would betray how much of a pushover she was.

After managing to get through the entire Sunday dinner a few days ago without saying more than two dozen words to Duardo, her sense of triumph was almost immediately thereafter supplanted by a very hollow feeling when she recalled that the team was moving to a couple games out West, and she would likely not see him again for several more weeks. Talk about biting off her nose to spite her face.

Each morning since, she woke up pretending she wasn’t hoping he’d texted her, and each lunch hour felt barren and uninteresting. Miri had just about given up hope for their friendship when her phone rang. It was far too late for anyone to be calling unless it was an emergency—well after eleven p.m.—but she hadn’t the willpower to simply ignore him. Back when they’d been actually communicating, when he was away they seldom spoke on the phone, most often connecting by text. The chance to hear his voice, particularly when she wouldn’t see him for so long was too much to pass up, so Miri answered, trying to sound casual, and a little sleepy when neither of those things could be further from the truth.

The truth was, she’d been in bed for well over an hour, with all the lights off save one, and the television on, waiting for the Sandman to show up and lead her to slumber. She’d just about given up on him and was planning to try reading a novel when her phone chimed.

“If you don’t help me, I’ll have to pay a consultant. My agent tells me that’ll run me somewhere around ten thousand.”

“Ten thousand?” Miri sat up in bed, outraged. “That’s ridiculous. No not ridiculous, it’s insane.”

“Well what do I know? I guess I’ll have to pay it. Unless you want to help me out.”

“You don’t need anyone to help you out, Eduardo. A ten-year old can do this stuff. And you must have Facebook, right? And Tumblr? You …”


“No? Not even just for you and your friends back home to keep in touch?”

“Everyone I want to keep in touch with, I keep in touch with. Facebook never made much sense to me. It basically keeps you in touch with people you never made a real effort to see in the real world. And probably for good reasons.”

Miri rolled her eyes. “I love Facebook. And Tumblr, and Instagram, and Snapchat. You get to make your own little virtual village. You admit the people you want in your village and you ignore the ones you don’t want in your village. Social media is one of the most important things to happen in the digital age.”

“You sound like an expert.” There was a smile in his voice. “So you’re the perfect person to help me.”

Miri sighed and leaned back against her pillows once again, resting the phone against her ear. Next to her bed, there was a half empty mug of chamomile tea. Tepid by now, it was supposed to be helping her get to sleep. Now she was grateful it hadn’t worked. But strangely, just hearing Duardo’s voice had settled something for her; she was relaxing and suspected that once their conversation was done, a sound sleep would follow.

“Hey. You still with me?”

Aside from being relaxing, his voice, in her ear while she lay in bed, also made her feel a little naughty, like she was doing something wrong. Miri was suddenly hyperaware of her nipples, and how they felt brushing against the fabric of her tank top. And she had the urge to slide a hand down her stomach, and between her thighs. What if she did? What would it matter? It wasn’t as though he would know what she was doing.

“I’m here,” she said.

“You’re being quiet again,” Duardo said, sounding suspicious. “Like you were last Sunday at your brother’s house. Did I … is something wrong?”

“Something like what?” Miri played with the lacy edges of her underwear. Did she dare?

“Did your brother tell you I talked to him?”

“He did.” Miri slid her hand beneath the waistband of her panties, tentative at first and still hesitant to let the genie out of the bottle with Duardo’s voice in her ear.

“And is that why you …”

“Why I what?”

For the first time in her life, she wondered whether she should wax. Like, wax … completely. Nessa said she did, and that it made sex more pleasurable. Made everything more pleasurable. Of course, Miri had never actually had sex, and had only her imagination to tell her what the “everything” referred to.

“Miri. You sound strange. What’s the matter?”


What was strange was that they had been on the phone for only about five minutes, and yet she was moved just by the sound of his voice to do something that she seldom did otherwise. Now, parting her legs and touching herself, Miri was stunned at how wet she was, how sensitive. She couldn’t do this with him on the phone, because after the lightest touch, she was already having a difficult time remaining completely silent, and not giving in to the urge to moan.

“So?” Duardo prompted.

“So … what, Eduardo?”

“Stop calling me that,” he said, sounding somewhat testy.

“Calling you what?” she laughed lightly. “Your name?”

“You stopped calling me ‘Eduardo’ since the second time I laid eyes on you. Now all of a sudden you address me the way my parish priest would?”

If Miri didn’t know better, she would think he was upset with her. But why? Moments before, he seemed fine. And besides he was the one who was out carousing with blondes in short skirts. But she wouldn’t think about that right now, it would upset her groove and the slick, slow rhythm she was beginning to establish with her right hand. Slowly, her eyes fell shut as she moved her fingers in circles, stroking herself. A slight moan escaped her lips and she held still for a moment, waiting to see whether he had heard it, and would react.

“Okay, it’s late,” he finally conceded. “I just want to know whether you’ll do the social media set-up for me. Just tell me that much and I’ll let you get off.”

Miri couldn’t help it. She erupted in surprised laughter, halting her motions for a moment because if she kept it up, she really would get off.

“What the hell is so funny?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all. Yes, I’ll do the social media set-up for you. Although it’s really idiot-proof and if you just took a couple hours, you could do all of it yourself. The hardest part will be gathering all the images you have on your various devices, and …”

“I don’t have time for that.”

“You literally could have done some of it in the time it took us to have this conversation.”

“And what if I just wanted to have the conversation?” he asked. “What if the social media stuff is only part of the reason I called?”

Miri opened her eyes and froze for a moment. “So I didn’t scare you off by being so mean on Sunday?” she asked, before she could consider the wisdom of the question.

This time it was Duardo’s turn to laugh. “Last Sunday, that was you ‘being mean’?”

Well, as mean as she could manage, anyway.



“Why?” Shit. Now what was she going to say? That she saw a picture of him with the blonde and was jealous?

Jealous. Yes. That was what she was. She’d seen a picture of Duardo with a woman he was more than likely involved with, and it made her positively green. The woman-in-the-little-white-dress probably didn’t need to surreptitiously touch herself while listening to Duardo’s voice from across the country. The woman-in-the-little-white-dress had probably experienced Duardo’s fingers doing to her what Miri now had to do for herself.

There it was. Thinking of him with someone else made her … jealous. Now what the hell was she going to do about it?

“You’re right,” she said quickly. “It is late. And I have work tomorrow, so how about we talk later this week about getting you plugged in?”

“Hey, wait a minute. I want to know why you were …”

“We’ll talk again soon, okay?”

He said nothing in response, but in the silence, she could feel his displeasure.

“One thing I need you to do though?” she said.

“Yeah. What?”

“While you’re away, take pictures. Places you go, things you see, even meals you eat. Take pictures with your phone and then save them for when I see you next, okay?”

“Sure. But wh…”

“Duardo. I really do have to get some rest.”

Miri ended the call before he could get another word in, and quickly shut off her bedside light, sliding even deeper under the covers as though hiding. And then for good measure, she turned off her phone. It took her a few minutes, lying there in the dark, to admit that there was no way she would fall off to sleep unassisted.

Sighing, Miri reached down once again, closed her eyes and summoned the image of Duardo’s tanned arms, the outline of his muscles under a grey t-shirt—for some reason he favored grey—and the look he sometimes gave her that almost fooled her into thinking that he wanted her too.

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What Had Happened Was …

The Education of Miri Acosta coverSo you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been away for a while. Not literally, but figuratively. I haven’t blogged, haven’t done as much online promotion of my work, and definitely haven’t been writing with the same regularity. Instead I’ve been reading, working, falling in love with my partner and out again, and in love again … and so on, playing, traveling, hanging with friends, making some enemies (yeah, for real) and living, basically. And so there it is–not sexy, but that’s my excuse for not getting ‘The Education of Miri Acosta’ out this month. More about that later, but for now, let me just say … I’m back in the saddle and rearing to go.

I guess I could leave it at that, but I’m not going to. I want to tell you what I’m going to be up to next, because as solitary as the writing part of writing is, the rest is a group exercise. You read what I write (thank God) and you sometimes like it, and sometimes you write me notes, leave me comments and give me the fuel that gets me through the rough spots, or the encouragement to up my game next time. And a lot of readers give me ideas–for characters and plot points I might consider, or even entire books I might write. I can feel a lot of you out there rooting for me, waiting for me, and believing in me, or I’ve seen you, posting the gentle social media nudge to ‘get back to work already’.

All of it is appreciated.

There’s something writers don’t always tell you but I’m going to let you in on the secret. You ready? Here it is: there was a time when we wrote furtively, secretly, quietly and alone (some of us still do). We wondered whether there would ever be another soul, besides a lover, a friend, or a family member who read what we wrote and cared about it. We silently suffered with the knowledge that though the writing itself was fulfilling, it wasn’t always enough–we wanted someone else to hear our voice on the page and tell us it was good. That’s the secret. The ‘pressure’ we moan about, the pushes and nudges to ‘get back to work already’ are part of the dream, almost as much as the writing itself. To know that you contribute to the richness of the human experience with your words alone? Man, for me there is no high higher than that.

So now that I’ve admitted that I am not so cool that I can pretend not to give a shit what readers think, back to my plans. ‘The Education of Miri Acosta’ is next up. August was the plan, but it’s now mid September. I won’t give a precise date because you know I never meet those deadlines anyway and it causes me heartburn when I know people are waiting and I’m not delivering. But about the book: I like this one. It’s more ‘pure romance’ than anything I’ve written in a while, about young love, crazy passion; learning that who you are is not who you may have planned to be, and figuring out that book smarts don’t equal emotional intelligence. It that strikes your fancy, read the blurb on Goodreads, here.

Following Miri’s story will be the one I’ve been dying to complete, Lorna Terry’s comeuppance, which is working titled ‘Art and Soul’. In that one, the mother of Riley, (who you may remember from ‘Commitment’, etc.) meets her match in a somewhat younger lover who is not intimidated by her radical feminism, and who forces her to face some of the consequences from her choices in the past; and to confront the possibility of a very different future than the one she envisioned. Meet Lorna and her intrepid younger man by reading these shorts: ‘Forty-Six’ and ‘Stalemate’.

And finally, on the encouragement of a writer-friend, and because I’m a sucker for people’s requests for “more” of a couple, I am working on Jamal and Makayla’s follow-up to ‘The Come Up’, this one titled ‘The Takedown’, will follow the very real challenges to the unlikely (and some say mismatched) couple’s relationship. It’ll also follow Jamal’s ascension to the pinnacle of his career, and Makayla being thrust even deeper into a life she’s ambivalent about at best, and outright distrustful of at worst. For me, the cool stories happen when a couple is together but external and internal conflicts work against them–the stuff that comes after the ‘I-love-yous’ are said and believed. This book will hopefully be one of those ‘cool stories’.

So that’s where I am. Until I get something out there, visit me on Facebook, or Pinterest. Send me email, post something on this blog. I know you’re out there, and I am most definitely listening.

Happy Reading.


Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments