Friday, May 20, 2016

For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure - "The Blackbirds" by Eric Jerome Dickey

New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers his next delectable, erotic romance
"They call themselves the Blackbirds. Kwanzaa Browne, Indigo Abdulrahaman, Destiny Jones, and Ericka Stockwell are four best friends who are closer than sisters, and will go to the ends of the earth for one another. Yet even their deep bond can’t heal all wounds from their individual pasts, as the collegiate and post-collegiate women struggle with their own demons, drama, and desires.

Trying to forget her cheating ex-fianc√©, Kwanzaa becomes entangled with a wicked one-night stand—a man who turns out to be one in five million. Indigo is in an endless on-again, off-again relationship with her footballer boyfriend, and in her time between dysfunctional relationships she purses other naughty desires. Destiny, readjusting to normal life, struggles to control her own anger after avenging a deep wrong landed her in juvi, while at the same time trying to have her first real relationship—one she has initiated using an alias to hide her past from her lover. Divorced Ericka is in remission from cancer and trying to deal with two decades of animosity with her radical mother, while keeping the desperate crush she has always had on Destiny’s father a secret… a passion with an older man that just may be reciprocated.

As the women try to overcome— or give into— their impulses, they find not only themselves tested, but the one thing they always considered unbreakable: their friendship."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An E-Interview with Tia Williams, author of "The Perfect Find"

Tia Williams "The Perfect Find"
First of all, congratulations on your latest novel, “The Perfect Find.”  It’s always nice when a new novel touches on a subject, or subjects, that transcend the “color line,” so to speak. That said, was there a particular incident in your own personal life that was the catalyst for the book?

Tia Williams:
Thanks! Yes, I wrote this book during a really difficult point in my life. I’d had everything I’d ever wanted – the magazine career, the book career, great home life, dream apartment– and then I lost everything. I got laid off, and very sick (for a very long time), and divorced. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really keep a full time job for a couple of years – so I shut the world out and invented Jenna Jones! She was sort of my alter ego, a character who was going through her own reinvention. Jenna’s a 40-year-old superstar fashion editor who gets fired by her magazine, dumped by her fiance, and loses all her money in one week! Writing Jenna’s story as she navigates a huge, scary career comeback in the new digital world, fights to get a hold of her life again, and deals with falling wildly in love with a totally unlikely soulmate – it was so cathartic. I lived vicariously through her. And she inspired me to chase my own comeback!
How hard was it for you to break into the world of beauty, as a woman of color, and what were some of the barriers and stereotypes you had to overcome?

Tia Williams:
I was definitely an anomaly when I was a beauty editor at magazines like Elle, Glamour, and Lucky. There weren’t a lot of us in the room, and certainly not in beauty. There were definitely some challenges! I had to know everything about white beauty, while educating everyone on black beauty. I was sometimes mistaken for a dresser when reporting backstage at fashion shows. And then there were the publicists you only communicated with on the phone (this was the 90s and Aughts!), and then when they met you in person and saw you were black, suddenly you’d start hearing the “homegirls” and “girlfriends.” But I never saw this as anything deeper as being the silliness that comes with the territory of being an “only.” The upside is that you’ve gotten in the room, so you have the opportunity to make change.
I grew up on Seventeen, Glamour and Essence as my “go-to” magazines for beauty and style advice.  And I’m talking paper.  I still subscribe to both print and digital editions of magazines and newspapers.  How has the digital age changed the fashion and beauty industry for the better and for perhaps, the worst? How has social media played into the job market for print journalists?

Tia Williams:
It’s changed everything. I grew up in the print magazine industry, and now digital rules. It’s a learning curve, definitely, when all you know is print. When I went from being a beauty editor at magazines to, I had no idea what I was doing. What was a “clicky” headline? “SEO”-friendly key words? I was lost. And so is Jenna! After twenty years in print, she’s so in over her head at her new job, at a street style online zine. Everyone’s 23, and social media savvy, and she doesn’t even have Facebook. She thinks gifs cause strokes. She’s a rookie at 40, which is where a lot of my magazine editor friends have found themselves, with the industry changing so much.
They say “40 is the new 30.”  Are “they” telling the truth?  And do you think that the older woman/young man relationship is still scrutinized more heavily than vice-versa?

Tia Williams:
40 is the new 27, girl. But only in terms of energy and spirit (and, in my case, musical taste – because all I listen to is Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, and whatever, that Bieber album is fire). The value of being 40 is having the wisdom you didn’t have at 28. And yes, older women with younger men is always scrutinized more heavily. Which is a huge theme in The Perfect Find! Jenna falls into this wildly passionate, soulmate thing with Eric, who is almost half her age. Everyone is scandalized – and it’s because we live in a patriarchal society! Men are supposed to be the alphas, the ones in charge, the teachers, the leaders. So, it makes sense when older men are with younger women. When women are the older ones, it usually looks like a predatory thing, or sexual desperation. Which is ridiculous. Love is love. By the way, younger men absolutely adore older women. It’s kind of nice to be worshipped, now and then
Jenna “crosses the line” between her professional and personal life.  In your opinion, is that still a line you don’t cross or has society relaxed its feelings about that in the same way we embrace “business casual?”  

Tia Williams:
I don’t think workplace romances are encouraged. It reads as unprofessional. Like, you can’t control yourself in the office? There are zillions of men out there, you really had to pursue a thing with the dude in the next cubicle over? Control yourself! Jenna and Eric try to fight her feelings for as long as she can, but then they just explode. And it was so much fun building up that tension!
Lastly, Anna Wintour has endured through the decades.  And for that matter, so has Iman.  Are they the exception or the “new norm?”

Tia Williams:
New norm! Women only get older, more interesting, sexier and richer (in experience and wisdom, not financially, though in many cases the latter’s true, too!) as they get older. I feel more self-possessed at 40 than I ever did in my 20s. I wouldn’t trade it. Though I would like my 1998 ass back. 
More About Tia:
For fifteen years, she was a magazine beauty editor (at YM, Elle, Glamour, Lucky, and, and in '05, created one of the first beauty blogs, Shake Your Beauty. She's the best-selling author of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA and the IT CHICKS series, and co-wrote Iman's THE BEAUTY OF COLOR. Currently the Copy Director at Bumble and bumble, she lives in Brooklyn with her diva daughter - See more at: "ShakeYourBeauty"

"The Perfect Find" published by Brown Girls Books Publishing

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Beyonce Serves "Becky" Ice Cold Lemonade, and in the words of Shaggy, "It Wasn't Me!"

They say revenge is best served cold.

If we are to believe that Beyonce's latest "video/biography" "Lemonade" is based on truth, which I do, then I'd say revenge is best served as cold lemonade.

I was very impressed with Queen Bey's latest.  It's art like we've not seen from her or anyone in a while.  Made me think about the '70s and Gil Scott Heron.

And if the album itself wasn't enough to set tongues wagging about her marriage, her dad, Blu Ivy and everything in between, how about when Rachel Roy thought it would be really funny to tag her instagram post with "Good Hair Don't Care."  Not only did the joke backfire on Roy and cause her to have to shut down her Instagram for a time, it may have also been career suicide to a large extent for this quite talented designer.

Of course, never to be outdone, or to let us have anything of our own, I'm standing by for the deluge of tee-shirts, mugs and the like which steal from Beyonce's most recent hit with hashtags of #becky, #lemonade, #goodhair and on it goes. 

What Beyonce did with this piece of work was not only make great music and art - she reclaimed any power that the haters in the general public may have thought they had over her success.  

Yes, as Queen Bey most aptly coined, "The best revenge is your paper."


LINA - Live at "The Mint" in Los Angeles, One Night Only, Friday, April 29, 2016 (presented by Jadar Entertainment)

Click HERE for Tickets 
The Mint

Doors open @ 7:30 - Show starts @ 9:00

Lina is a gifted international singer, songwriter and actress with the voice of an angel.   Her unique style is an effortless blend of neo soul, jazz, r&b, classical, and opera.   Follow Lina on Twitter


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rest In Peace, Prince

  • June 7, 1958
  • April 21, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Whatever Happened to a Good Old-Fashioned Fist Fight? The death of former New Orleans Saints' Player Will Smith

William Raymond Smith III (July 4, 1981 – April 9, 2016)

There was a line that Warren Beatty read in the movie "Bullworth," which said in part, "If you don't put down that malt liquor and chicken wings. . ."

I'd like to add to that and say "If black men don't put down their guns and start using their heads, our race will soon be extinct."  Maybe that's an exaggeration.  Maybe it isn't.

The death this past weekend of beloved ex-New Orleans Saints' player Will Smith by another black man, after what appears to be an incident of "road rage" brought that movie to my mind.

"Bullworth" came out in 1998.  It's now 2016.  18 years later and we're still dealing with the same issues.

There used to be a time when real men didn't need guns to settle their differences.  At worst, there was a "fist fight" and the best man won.  I don't condone violence of any sort, but when did black men become so "hard on the outside, yet soft on the inside," that they couldn't handle themselves without lethal weapons?

Blame it on the rap music, blame it on the white man, blame it on the boogie.  Bottom line - we need to have a serious conversation about where this ends.

Prior to the last couple of years, I've really not had a particular stance on gun control.  Now, I do.  It's obvious that people feel empowered to do things while "carrying heat" that they wouldn't feel empowered to do if they weren't.  

Gun control may not happen overnight and it may not be the only solution.  But what we're doing now isn't working.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

"The Perfect Find" by Tia Williams (edited by Victoria Christoper Murray) - Free e-Book Giveaway

It's here.  "The Perfect Find" by Tia Williams ("The Accidental Diva").  And you can read it for free.  I'm giving away, in conjunction with, an e-copy of Tia Williams' latest novel.

All you have to do is send me an email, HERE!

Will a forty-year-old woman with everything on the line – her high-stakes career, ticking biological clock, bank account – risk it all for an intensely lusty secret romance with the one person who could destroy her comeback, for good?

Jenna Jones, former It-girl fashion editor, is broke and desperate for a second chance. When she’s dumped by her longtime fianc√© and fired from Darling magazine, she begs for a job from her old arch nemesis, Darcy Vale. The beyond-bitchy publisher of, Darcy agrees to hire her rival – only because her fashion site needs a jolt from Jenna’s old school cred. But Jenna soon realizes she’s in over her head. She’s working with digital-savvy millennials half her age, has never even “Twittered,” and pretends to still be a Fashion Somebody while living a style lie (she sold her designer wardrobe to afford her sketched-out studio, and now quietly wears Walmart’s finest). Worse? The twenty-two-year-old videographer assigned to shoot her web series is driving her crazy. Wildly sexy with a smile Jenna feels in her thighs, Eric Combs is way off-limits – but almost too delicious too resist. 

Written by the bestselling author of The Accidental Diva, The Perfect Find is a scandalously sexy, laugh-out-loud funny, utterly quotable saga about star-crossed love and starting over.