Friday, June 03, 2005

One of the beautiful horizons of Hawaii I witnessed when there in December 2004 Posted by Hello

fun in hawaii Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Debt

Having trouble with the names in this one, it's a novella that I just started cause I'm blocked on the others. It's the first few pages of the story.

Thoughts, critiques and general comments are welcome. It's the first real draft of the story.


Every DEBT comes due.

That’s what the note attached to the partially opened front door of Janae Marie Devere’s condominium read.

Still standing on the front porch, Janae made two phone calls one of which was to the police. And the other was to her best friend/part-time lover, Diego Martinez.

She called the police so she could make a report. Janae called Diego so he could investigate and for morale support.

Diego Martinez was more than just a friend to her. He was the only man Janae trusted completely. It didn’t hurt that he also ran one of the top three security and private investigation firms in Detroit. She also happened to be in love with him. Janae kept it at a distance, inside the safety of their friendship, wanting but never telling him.

It was still a nice evening out so she leaned against the hood of her car and waited. She didn’t want to trample on any evidence by going inside or staying on the porch to long.

As she suspected, Diego was the first to arrive. She leaned back onto the car, palms pressed against the steel to keep from running to Diego.

"I got here as fast as I could." He said stepping his six-foot four-inch frame out of his SUV. Diego went over to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her into him.

Janae inhaled the deep, sensuous scent of his aftershave. Light and crisp, never one to overdue, you always had to get closer to smell and appreciate the scent.

"You okay lil’ bit?" he asked, his head cocked to the side to see her face. He involuntarily inhaled the scent of the rosewater spray she wore and brushed a stray lock of ebony hair out of her face.

She nodded weakly, leaning into him even more. Diego gave her a kiss on the forehead, "I’m fine. Shaken up but fine, I didn’t go inside." She leaned her head on his chest and sighed.

"Good." Diego said giving her another squeeze. He knew she was lying because she didn’t protest him calling her by the nickname she’d earned as a child that still followed her to this day and which she loathed.

With Diego came his partner and another one of their friends, Sebastian Goddard.

"Tell us everything." Sebastian spoke with a firm but gentle. He leaned on the opposite side of her on the car as they all waited for the police.

Janae never got a chance to answer and reluctantly, she moved away from the warmth of Diego’s body when the police arrived.

It was strange but the air seemed cooler somehow. She straightened and waited for the officer’s to get closer.

"You called in a complaint?" the first officer who had stepped out of the patrol car said. When he got closer, Janae was able to see that his nameplate read, W. Carlyle.

"What seems to be the problem?" the other officer said, D. Noble asked. He pulled out his notepad.

"I came home and my front door was half open." She explained to them.

"Are you sure you closed it?" Officer Noble asked.

Janae blew out a breath, resisting the urge to roll her eyes, instead, she responded, "Yes sirs. I closed and locked it after I set the security code."

"Okay. And this is your residence?" Officer Noble asked.

"Yes sir." Janae responded.

"And your name, full name please." Officer Noble asked.

"Janae Marie Devere."

"Thank you." He made a note in his note pad, "And do you own or are you renting or purchasing this residence?" Officer Noble inquired.

"I own it. I brought it a little over 2 years ago." Janae replied.

"Maybe the wind blew it open." Office Carlyle suggested, looking around the condominium complex.

"No." Janae shook her head, "If that had happened, I would have gotten a call on my cell phone that the door was open or had been tampered with." She paused, looking each officer in his eyes, "That didn’t happen."

"The lines must have been cut." Diego said.

"Or jammed." Sebastian added.

"And who are you?" Officer Carlyle asked looking from Diego to Sebastian.

"We’re friends." Diego said, stepping up behind Janae, he put his hands on her shoulders, pulling her closer to him.

"We also set up the security for Miss Devere. As well as run the MY Security Agency." Sebastian explained.

Both officers’ nodded.

Officer Noble made a note in his notepad.

"There’s also a note attached to the front door." Diego pointed out.

The officer’s climbed the stairs to the front door. They read the note, looked at each other and then called for back up.

The police were there for over three hours. They questioned Janae, glared at Sebastian and Diego, dusted for fingerprints, more questions, questioned Diego and Sebastian, searched for evidence, messing up her immaculately organized, arranged, and clean house.

When it was over, Diego simply looked at her and said, "You can’t stay here. We’ll have a team over in the morning to go over everything."

"First of all, that’s not necessary. I’m sure I’ll be fine here." Janae told them, "The police went over everything. How are your people going to be able to get anything now?"

"’Cause they’re good. Among the best in the city, if not the state and the Great Lake region," Sebastian explained without hesitation. "And they’re the top in their fields and areas of expertise as well as having been trained by the best. That’s why we hired them."

"Okay. Save the sales pitch for someone else." She paused, looked around the room, "I’m sorry. I’m tired. And I really don’t know who would do this or why? I’m a party/event planner and organizer not someone typically on the list of people who alienate others to do this." She sighed, ran a hand through her ebony hair, "Can you just leave now? I really want to get started here."

"You’re not staying here," Diego said. He had been listening to the conversation but also was mentally going over an inventory of things in Janae’s house that he remembered. He was thankful that he had helped her pick out most of it. He planned on coming back to her place and getting started once he had had her settled at his house.

"Maybe it was a bad party?" Sebastian joked.

"Ha ha ha. " Janae faked a laugh, "Now if you’ll just leave I can try to clean up and get some sleep before your crew gets here."

"You ARE NOT staying here." Diego repeated slowly, emphasizing each word.

"Fine! Take me to the Marriott Downtown then. I just have to pack a bag." Janae said.

"No." Sebastian said stopping Janae’s assent up the stairs to her bedroom, "Leave it."

"Then what the hell am I going to do for clothes?" She said, glaring at him, hands on her hips, from her place on the landing.

"You have clothes at my place that you’ve left." Diego told her, "And before you protest, you’re staying with me. That way I can better protect you."

"Yeah, that’s the reason you want her to stay with you." Sebastian muttered under his breath.

Diego stepped outside to make a phone call and set things up for the next day with their people.


Across the subdivision parking lot, a rented Chevy Blazer sat with its lights and ignition off. The car was backed into the space. The driver leaned forward intently watching the interaction between everyone and all the activity going on at Janae’s.

She watched as some neighbors came out to gawk and a few went over to her, hugging her. She growled, her eyes turning black from their natural gray color.

The car was silent except for the noise from the driver tapping her fingers on the dashboard.


"I noticed you didn’t protest too hard when Diego suggested you stay with him." Sebastian said.

"He didn’t suggest, he ordered." Janae reminded him.

"If it’s a problem, you know my place is huge and way too big for just one person. You can always stay with me." He offered.

"No. That’s okay. Diego’s place is closer." Janae gave him a smile.

Sebastian shook his head and laughed, one of these days those two were going to let the other know how they felt and their relationship was going to go from casual sex and best friends, more than friends to the next level. He knew she was lying but didn’t call her on it, because in actuality, his apartment downtown was closer than Diego’s house which was on the city’s west side.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pitching a Novel

Informative and insightful piece on pitching a novel.

As with anything, this is just one resource and may not work for everyone. What I do, use what I can and discard the rest.

The Divine Chocolate of Being Romance

The Divine Chocolate of Being Romance by Monica Jackson

Good article/blog that gives a lot of food for thought.

Passive versus Active

Another great resource and something I struggle with.

A great definition --
From the Guide to Grammar and Style by Jack Lynch.

Passive Voice.

The active voice takes the form of "A does B"; the passive takes the form of "B is done [by A]."

There are two problems with the passive voice. The first is that sentences often become dense and clumsy when they're filled with passive constructions. The more serious danger of the passive voice, though, is that it lets the writer shirk the responsibility of providing a subject for the verb. Dan White gives an example:

"I'm sorry that the paper was poorly written." If you're going to apologize, apologize: "I'm sorry I wrote a bad paper." The active voice forces one to be specific and confident, not wimpy. And the stakes can be higher when you're talking about atrocities worse than bad papers. This is why nefarious government and corporate spokesmen are so fond of the passive voice: think of the notorious all-purpose excuse, "Mistakes were made." Then think about how much weaseling is going on in a sentence like "It has been found regrettable that the villagers' lives were terminated" — notice especially how the agency has disappeared altogether. It should make you shudder.

In your own writing, therefore, favor the active voice whenever you can. Instead of the passive "You will be given a guide," try the active "We will give you a guide" — notice the agent ("We") is still there.

Don't go overboard, though. Some passives are necessary and useful. In scientific writing, for instance, sentences are routinely written in the passive voice; the authors are therefore given less importance, and the facts are made to speak for themselves. Even in non-scientific writing, not all passives can be avoided.

Don't confuse am, is, are, to be, and such with the passive voice, and don't confuse action verbs with the active voice. The real question is whether the subject of the sentence is doing anything, or having something done to it. I have been giving is active, while I have been given is passive.

Grammer Slammer

A great resource.

Sometimes we all need a little help. And admittedly grammer isn't my strongest suit, I use way to many commas.

Any other grammer resources you want to share?

Writing the Ethnic Romance

A great article I wanted to share.

Warning - Chain Letter Circulation - Ignorance Part II

Personal Notes— -- where u can see this online (one of the many places) -- rebuttal (sorta)

This is circulating again, came around in 2002 now it’s back. It’s meant more to inflame then enlighten and it should be taken with a grain of salt.

There is much more that we don’t do for each other. We have been known not to help, to give bad advice to sabotage or to sabotage decent, good friendships and relationships out of spite or jealousy.

We ignore each others in times of need and we turn a deaf ear, turn a cold shoulder, shut others out when we need a friend, an ear or whatever out of fear or to keep ourselves closed off from those who care about us. – (And that’s just what I’ve witnessed personally)

But I also know that it is not true, the majority while some may fit a few, why are those the ones people are judged by? And this isn't just in the african american race/culture/heritage but in many others as well.

I don't watch the news cause it is subjective, the camera has one lense and it points in one direction and shows one view, a bit like writing.

And on that token, as a writer, even before I started seriously writing, I read. Why did I start to read? because I wanted to see what intriqued my sister so much. She'd get so ingrossed in her books that she'd ignore me.

Why am I posting this? To open a discussion for one, to educate for two, and three, because ignorance in the form of intellegence really pisses me off. My question is why?

BLACKS DON'T READ THEY ARE STILL OUR SLAVES ===============================================================
I don't know if the article appeared in the news or was on a New York radio station or not but it is really a sad peice of work because much of it is so true. All is not true because some of us do read!!!! THIS OUGHT TO MAKE YOU MAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! READ AND WEEP! Please Note: For those of you who heard it, this is the article Dee Lee was reading This morning on a New York radio station. For those of you who didn't hear it, this is very deep and true! BLACKS DON'T READ. This is a heavy piece and a Caucasian wrote it. BLACKS DON'T READ! THEY ARE STILL OUR SLAVES we can continue to reap profits from the Blacks without the effort of physical slavery. Look at the current methods of containment that they use on themselves: IGNORANCE, GREED, and SELFISHNESS.

Their IGNORANCE is the primary weapon of containment. A great man once said, "The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book."

We now live in the Information Age. They have gained the opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their fight for freedom, yet they refuse to read. There are numerous books readily available at Borders, Barnes&Noble, and, not to mention their own Black Bookstores that provide solid blueprints to reach economic equality (which should have been their fight all along), but few read consistently, if at all.

GREED is another powerful weapon of containment. Blacks, since the abolition of slavery, have had large amounts of money at their disposal. Last year they spent 10 billion dollars during Christmas, out of their 450 billion dollars in total yearly income (2...22%). Any of us can use them as our target market, for any business venture we care to dream up, no matter how outlandish, they will buy into it. Being primarily a consumer people, they function totally by greed. They continually want more, with little thought for saving or investing. They would rather buy some new sneaker than invest in starting a business. Some even neglect their children to have the latest Tommy or FUBU. And they still think that having a Mercedes and a big house gives them "Status" or that they have achieved the American Dream. They are fools! The vast majority of their people are still in poverty because their greed holds them back from collectively making better communities. With the help of BET, and the rest of their black media that often broadcasts destructive images into their own homes, we will continue to see huge profits like those of Tommy and Nike.

(Tommy Hilfiger has even jeered them, saying he doesn't want their money, and look at how the fools spend more with him than ever before!). They'll continue to show off to each other while we build solid communities with the profits from our businesses that we market to them.

SELFISHNESS, ingrained in their minds through slavery, is one of the major ways we can continue to contain them. One of their own, Dubois said that there was an innate division in their culture. A "Talented Tenth" he called it. He was correct in his deduction that there are segments of their culture that has achieved some "form" of success. However, that segment missed the fullness of his work. They didn't read that the "Talented Tenth" was then responsible to aid the Non-Talented Ninety-Percent in achieving a better life. Instead, that segment has created another class, a Buppie class that looks down on their people or aids them in a condescending manner. They will never achieve what we have. Their selfishness does not allow them to be able to work together on any project or endeavor of substance. When they do get together, their selfishness lets their egos get in the way of their goal. Their so-called help organizations seem to only want to promote their name without making any real change in their community. They are content to sit in conferences and conventions in our hotels, and talk about what they will do, while they award plaques to the best speakers, not the best doers. Is there no end to their selfishness? They steadfastly refuse to see that TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE (TEAM)!

They do not understand that they are no better than each other because of what they own. In fact, most of those Buppies are but one or two paychecks away from poverty. All of which is under the control of our pens in our offices and our rooms. Yes, we will continue to contain them as long as they refuse to read, continue to buy anything they want, and keep thinking they are "helping" their communities by paying dues to organizations which do little other than hold lavish conventions in our hotels. By the way, don't worry about any of them reading this letter, remember...'THEY DON'T READ!!!!'