Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kimberla Lawson Roby


Your characters are so easy to relate to and realistic. Thank you for writing such entertaining novels and projecting Black women in a realistic light. What was the first thing you wrote and were paid for?


The first novel I wrote and was compensated for was BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. I first self-published it (after receiving tons of rejection letters from agents and publishers) and then it was sold to a small press in Baltimore, MD called Black Classic Press.


When did you realize there was an audience for your books? Frankly, there are many women doing ‘African American Chick-Lit,’ but none are doing it quite like you. How did you find your “niche,” which makes your writing different from the rest? And, are you comfortable with the term ‘Chick-Lit,’ OR how would you best describe your writing style?


Thank you for offering such a kind compliment. I first realized there was an audience for my work shortly after my first novel was released. What I heard from readers was that the reason they felt they couldn’t put it down was because they were able to relate the characters and the storyline to their own lives or to the lives of friends or family members. Then, in terms of how my work is categorized, I hear anything from contemporary women’s fiction, chick-lit, contemporary Christian fiction, etc. It pretty much just depends on how each individual reader tends to see it and which book they are reading.


Is there a particular time of day or night, when you are at your writing best and what is your writing process (i.e. do you type on a computer or do you write long-hand or record into a recorder)? Do you wake up in the middle on the night with an idea and jump out of bed to get it on paper?


Sometimes the early part of the day (9 or 10 AM for me) works very well and sometimes early evening. When I’m writing my first draft, however, I write all-day (nearly ten hours) every day until it is finished. Then, I go back and do my edits and revisions before submitting it to my editor. I do type on a computer when I’m writing the novel but sometimes I’ll write long-hand when I’m first writing the outline. Then, as far as waking up in the middle of the night with an idea, this does happen, but I never get up to write it down—although, sometimes I wish I had!


How much of the material in your books is taken from your real-life experiences or those of people you know?


With every novel I write, I always include bits and pieces of myself. For example, if a character is out to dinner and orders a certain kind of salad or entrée, it might be one of my own favorite foods. Or, if a character has certain moral values, those values might be similar to what I believe in. Then, in my fourth novel, IT’S A THIN LINE, I based two of the characters on myself and my mom as my mom really was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor.


How important is it for African American women to develop, nurture and maintain their relationships/friendships?


It is very important for all women to develop, nurture and cherish their relationships and friendships. My husband is the best of my best friends, but I could also never imagine being without the women in my life who are certainly my best friends, too. Over many years, they have each become more like my sisters and not only do I need their friendship, I wholeheartedly depend on it. I would do anything for them the same as I know they would do for me.


When did you realize that you had “made it” as a writer?


I sort of realized it when my third title, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, sold far more than my first two titles had, and I went to New York and met with eight major publishers over a three-day period. They were all interested in acquiring my next two titles and submitted bids to my agent during an auction that she ended up holding for my next contract.


What topics have you yet to explore that we can anticipate in coming novels.


I still have so many topics that I want to explore, and actually, I just finished a novella that centers on childhood sexual molestation. This is by far the most different story I’ve written, but it is probably the most important. It is also my hope that it will be informative and helpful to people everywhere, no matter who they are.


How important is the support you receive from family and friends?


The support I receive from family and friends means everything and without it, I never would have gotten to where I am today. When I first wrote BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and received all the many rejection letters, I was basically prepared to give up. But then, my mom kept encouraging me to keep trying and my husband encouraged me to start my own business so I could publish the book myself. They both had such strong confidence in what I was trying to do, and it really did make all the difference. Then, my brothers, other family members and friends have always supported me in such a tremendous way as well, and I am beyond thankful for that.


Last, but not least, can you give us a “sneak peek” of “The Best of Everything?”


THE BEST OF EVERYTHING centers on Alicia Black Sullivan, the eldest child of my recurring character, the Reverend Curtis Black. Alicia has recently married a wonderful man named, Phillip, who is also her father’s assistant pastor, but the only problem is, Alicia has a serious shopping problem. Alicia pretty much wants what she wants when she wants it and is willing to do whatever she has to in order to get it. What readers will find is that Alicia is definitely her father’s daughter.


Finally, thank you for doing what you do. You’ve got a fan for life!


Thank you so much for requesting the interview and for reading my work!


Bio of Kimberla Lawson Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby

New York Times Bestselling Author, Kimberla Lawson Roby, has published eleven novels which include, ONE IN A MILLION, SIN NO MORE, LOVE & LIES, CHANGING FACES, THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, A TASTE OF REALITY, IT’S A THIN LINE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, HERE AND NOW, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press. Her novels have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times and those in The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble,, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

In addition, Ms. Roby’s first novel was nominated for Blackboard’s 1998 and 1999 Fiction Book of the Year Award, and she received the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE. She is also the 2006 and 2007 recipient of the Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and her fifth novel, A TASTE OF REALITY, was a 2004 finalist for the Atlanta Choice Awards sponsored by the Atlanta Daily World. Additionally, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING received a 2004 Patron Choice Award from the Central Mississippi Regional Library System.

Each of Ms. Roby’s novels have dealt with very real issues---in BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, social status, gambling addiction, and infidelity; in HERE AND NOW, single motherhood, infertility, and sibling rivalry; in CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the first of the Reverend Curtis Black series, corruption within the church; in IT’S A THIN LINE, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and care-giving of a parent; in A TASTE OF REALITY, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace with subplots exploring sexual harassment; TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING and THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, continuations of the Reverend Curtis Black series; in CHANGING FACES, overweight issues, a female illness, damaging secrets and a devoted friendship between three women; in LOVE & LIES and SIN NO MORE, the Reverend Curtis Black saga continued and in ONE IN A MILLION, a woman learns the best news and the worst news of her life all at the same time.

Ms. Roby resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her twelfth title, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, will be released on January 13, 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nikki Thomas of KBLX at Kwanzaa Gift Show, December 13 & 14, Marriott Downtown Oakland

Nikki Thomas and her adorable daughter at the Kwanzaa Gift Show this past weekend.

Stay tuned for more photos from Edward Miller Photography.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Making Music at Macdonald 80 Shopping Center

Wells Fargo Opens New Branch at Macdonald 80 Shopping Center in Richmond, California

Photography by Edward Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Kwanzaa And Gift Show, OAKLAND Marriott Convention Center

23rd Annual
Kwanzaa & Christmas
Gift Show 2008


Bring the whole family!


11 AM - 8 PM

Oakland Marriott Convention Center
10th & Broadway Oakland, CA 94607
$5.00 per person - Children under 12 Free

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kimora Draws A Crowd

"Baby Phat"

Kisses From Kimora

If The Shoe Fits. . .Buy It From Kimora. . .

December 10, 2008

Kimora Lee Simmons made a guest appearance at Macy's Hilltop Mall in Richmond, California. Kimora has put her name on everything from perfume to clothing to . . .yes, ladies - shoes!

Photography: Edward Miller Photography, Richmond, CA (510) 237-0473
copyright protected

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Kimora Lee Simmons Comes to Macy's Hilltop Mall, Richmond


President and Creative Director of Baby Phat inspires with her glamorous,
over-the-top style

WHAT: Macy’s Hilltop customers can meet Kimora Lee Simmons and get a
signed autograph. The first 200 customers to make a $75 Baby
Phat purchase will receive a $20 Macy's gift card and a
stationary kit from Baby Phat. Customers who bring in an
unwrapped toy for YES (Youth Engagement Service) will receive a
special thank you gift from Kimora. YES assists low income
parents and their children of all ages in the Richmond area.

Kimora’s influence in the world of fashion is undeniable while
her savvy as a businesswoman has made the former runway model a
worldwide brand phenomenon. Through her success as a model
Kimora developed her renowned sense of style, which propels her
as a designer. She is the instrumental force behind the brands’
creative designs, ad campaign strategies and marketing

“Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” debuted on Style and E! Networks
in 2007 and became the #1 rated program on cable television of
women between the ages of 18-34. Kimora stars and executive
produces the reality sitcom, which chronicles her life.

WHEN: Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Macy’s Hilltop
Juniors’ Department
2500 Hilltop Mall Rd
Richmond, CA 94806

*While time permits. No personal items, please. One signature per customer.
Baby Phat purchases must be made December 11th, only at Macy’s Hilltop.
While supplies last.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays

Hogwart Hotel -

Made by the Pastry Chefs at Le Meridien Hotel, 333 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Cadillac Records" Opens Today to Rave Reviews

Starring Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright and Beyoncé Knowles.

Directed by Darnell Martin. (

Rated R

Check it out this weekend!!

Ms. Bonita's Berries

Pure Decadence

Rest In Peace - Odetta Holmes, simply known as "Odetta"

Odetta Holmes

Sunrise: December 31, 1930
Sunset: December 2, 2008

Odetta, was an African-American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist. Called by man "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement." Ms. Holmes, 77, died in New York City this week from heart failure.

Many thanks to Barbara Rodgers for sharing this photo. The picture was taken backstage at the Alice Arts Theater in Oakland in 1999. Barbara said that even though Odetta was nearly 70 years old at the time she put on an energetic performance and was very gracious upon their meeting.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sistahs Getting REAL About HIV and AIDS - December 1, 2008

"Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS"
5th. Anniversary Billboard Campaign
In Commemoration of World AIDS Day
Monday, December 1, 2008
West Grand and San Pablo Streets

Big "props" to 100 Black Women of the Bay Area


Contact: Cathy D. Adams

CDA Consulting Group

(510) 653-4085


November 25, 2008

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Oakland Bay Area Chapter and CAL-PEP to host Free HIV Testing for the 5thAnniversary of “Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS Billboard Campaign” in comemoration of World AIDS Day

December 1, 2008

(Oakland, CA)- The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Oakland Bay Area Chapter (NCBW) and The California Prevention and Education Project (CAL-PEP) will provide Free HIV Testing and host a press conference for the 5th Anniversary Billboard Campaign for “Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS”, on Monday, December 1st in commemoration of WORLD AIDS DAY at the corner West Grand and San Pablo Avenues in Oakland, California. The press conference will start at 12 Noon. Free HIV testing will be provided from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The purpose of this press conference is to educate black women across multiple sectors about the impact of HIV/AIDS in the African American community to stimulate concrete and effective action to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among black women in America.

“Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS” billboards will be posted in the following locations:

Bayshore Blvd WS 400ft S/O Sunnydale F/N – 3, San Francisco

3rd St WS 50ft N/O Egbert F/S – 2. San Francisco

International Blvd NS 50ft W/O 76th Av F/E – 1, Oakland

Martin Luther King WS 11ft S/O 39th St F/S – 1, Oakland

Jefferson ES 70ft S/O 11th St F/N – 1, Oakland

Mac Arthur NS 75ft E/O Parker F/W – 1, Oakland

Telegraph WS 130ft S/O 31st St F/N – 1, Oakland

W Grand NS 50ft E/O San Pablo F/E – 1, Oakland

The billboards are sponsored by a grant made possible through Catholic Healthcare West.

The billboards has been a great vehicle for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Oakland Bay Area Chapter in partnership with CAL-PEP to continue to promote HIV/AIDS awareness while promoting free HIV testing in San Francisco and throughout Alameda County.

CAL-PEP is a community-based organization that specializes in HIV and AIDS prevention and education and wants to raise awareness about the state of emergency of HIV infections among African-Americans in Alameda County and educate community members on techniques and behaviors that can make the disease 100% preventable!

Oakland has the highest concentration of HIV cases in Alameda County and nationally of new HIV infections that occur each year over half occur in people 25 years or younger. AIDS is also steadily increasing among African American teens. African American teens make up only 16% of U.S. teenagers, but accounted for 69% of new AIDS cases among teens in 2005 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Knowledge of one’s status and HIV/AIDS education is crucial to the prevention of HIV and AIDS. CAL-PEP’S Executive Director, Gloria Lockett, a nationally known educator, believes that “AIDS is 100% preventable” and CAL-PEP encourages everyone to get tested.

CAL-PEP will administer the OraQuick rapid HIV test free of charge. No needles are required (oral sample only, no blood) and results are provided within 20 minutes. In addition to testing, HIV test counselors will provide risk reduction counseling during the twenty-minute wait. Safer sex tips and safe sex kits will also be provided for all those being tested.

To get a free HIV test at anytime contact Sonya Richey at CAL-PEP at (510) 874-7850. For information about NCBW’s “Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS” billboard campaign please call (510) 287-2534 or call (510) 653-4085 or log on to the website

Photos property of Edward Miller Photography

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


OAKLAND - The African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, which is dedicated to honoring black and other ethnic sports legends, will induct former 49ers great, Delvin Williams and six other retired professional athletes at its Annual Bay Area Induction Ceremony at The Temple on the Hill 4620 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland 94602 on Saturday, February 7, 2009.

A native of Houston, Texas, Delvin Williams was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1974, after graduating from the University of Kansas with a BS in Education. During three of his four years with San Francisco he led the team in rushing yards, setting the 49er's rushing record (1203 yards) for a single season in 1976. In a single game during that season, he had 34 carries and 194 yards and was named NFC All-Pro.

In 1978, Williams was traded to the Miami Dolphins, were he set their single season rushing record with 1258 yards; a record that stood for 25 years. When he was named First Team All-Pro, he became the first player in NFL history to:

· Rush for 1000 yards for two different teams,

· To set rushing records for two different teams, and

· To be named to the Pro Bowl for both an AFC & NFC team.

After retiring, Williams turned his energy and experience as a professional athlete to helping underprivileged youth by promoting sports and developing drug abuse prevention programs, including founding and running, including founding and serving as executive director of "Pros for Kids," which pairs professional athletes and young drug offenders. He organized a consortium of community, private and public sector organizations to create an employment clearinghouse called Jobs for Youth. Williams has also served on the boards of several organizations in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Among the community leaders who will be honored at the AAESHOF event will be Barbara Rodgers who will receive the Wendell Smith Media Award for outstanding contributions as a journalist. For nearly 30 years, Barbara Rodgers was one of the most recognizable newscasters on CBS 5 Eyewitness News. Starting in 1979 Rodgers quickly became a popular, award-winning anchor, reporter and show host and was the co-anchor of CBS 5's popular weekend newscasts with the late Doug Murphy from 1987 to 2000.

Before leaving in 2008, she was co-anchor of Eyewitness News at Noon and host of Bay Sunday, a weekly public affairs program where she interviewed dozens of newsmakers, community leaders and celebrities, including Spike Lee, Terry McMillan, Delroy Lindo and Jamie Foxx. She also was a reporter for the Jefferson Awards, given weekly to citizens for their outstanding public service.

Rodgers has received numerous honors for her work and community service, including the Frederick D. Patterson Outstanding Individual Award from the United Negro College Fund (2008), seven Emmy Awards from the Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS); five Excellence in Journalism Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists; and awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the (San Francisco) Peninsula Press Club and The Society of Professional Journalists. In 2004, she received the "Pioneer Award" from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the Governor's Award from NATAS, the highest local award a journalist can receive.

The complete list of inductees and other honorees will be announced on December 1st and can be viewed at

The Annual Bay Area Induction Ceremony will begin with a "VIP Reception with the Stars" at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 8:00 p.m. This is the AAESHOF's major annual fund-raiser proceeds of which fund the Hall of Fame's After School Youth Intervention Program. It helps students from economically challenged backgrounds fund their education through our "Academia Achievers Award Program." The AAESHOF has assisted over 350 students to date through this program.

The AAESHOF is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and is dedicated to the development of opportunities for young, less fortunate youth to gain exposure to positive aspects of life.

Sponsored in part by:
Ethiopian Airlines
Wells Fargo
LaHitz Media
Outback Steakhouse.

Tickets can be purchased at

For more ticket information: Kim Meltzer at 818-516-1459, KidKesty Productions, kim@kidkestyproductions or Arif Khatib,, 510-508-3309. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Contact Jackie Wright at 415 824.3990 or

Monday, December 1, 2008

Renegade for Peace and Justice - Own Your Copy Today

Barbara Lee - In Person Book Signing "Renegade for Peace"

Barbara Lee - Author Signing Event

Saturday, December 06, 2008. 4:00 PM
Book Passage
Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 927-0960