Monday, November 30, 2020



Long before my family and I sat at the dinner table overlooking a spread of macaroni and cheese, turkey, dressing, kale, cranberry sauce, and potato salad, I felt thankful. It seemed a month-long theme, which I had summed up with this list: Makeup, race, and oven mitts. I’ll explain it.

A week before Thanksgiving, I had a casual conversation with a friend. We discussed makeup. Now, she’s pretty without it, but I reach for my undereye concealer to take a brisk walk! The conversation veered to something more essential than covering up one’s dark eye circles, though. It was about embracing who we are on the inside.

The next day, as I shopped for skincare, still aware of yesterday’s conversation, a woman carrying an assortment of wrinkle creams and cleansers asked my opinion about the products she contemplated over. We both concluded that finding the right item for our needs was quite a chore. “In the end,” the woman said, “it’s all going to sag. It’s about what’s on the inside anyway.”

Was the universe trying to tell me something?

The day after Thanksgiving, my family and I went for a brisk walk. My daughter Faith was more concerned about beating her dad at a race he’d promised her. As they took off, I could see them both trying their hardest to pass the other.

“Who won?” I asked when I caught up to them. My daughter happily announced herself as the victor, raising her arm high into the air. My husband was winded, bent over with his palms planted on his knees. A moment later, I asked my daughter how’d she do it. She calmly said, “I paced myself. I did exactly what he’d told me to do.”

It was a metaphor for many of life’s issues.

MAKEUP: Make sure to beautify your heart. Be willing to empathize with others, judge less, love more, be kinder.

RACE: Pace yourself through life, projects, relationships, and even the awareness to slow down and rest.

OVEN MITTS: Life’s intensity can feel like an inferno, but we are protected and don’t have to carry a load of turmoil, grief, and sadness. We can cover ourselves with all that elevates us to press on.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Let the warm thoughts continue through the rest of the year and into 2021!


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Wednesday, September 30, 2020



Earlier this month, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a private serenade from the violinist, Cale Brandon.

With a few guests seated in our backyard, socially distanced, Cale took his bow and slid it across the strings of his instrument, and I swear, beneath the sky with a setting sun, the heavens opened! It was truly romantic.

Per my request, the serenade ended with a song I love by the composer, Joe Hisaishi, Memory. Afterward, I shared a running joke about myself. “Everything is about death with you,” a friend teased. “What can I say, I’m fascinated by the subject. After all, at least one character from my books usually gets the ax.”

The group at our anniversary chuckled. “Wouldn’t you know it,” I said. “The song we just danced to, Memory, was from a foreign film. And you guessed it… about death!”

In truth, it is not so much that death intrigues me but what one does with his or her life before transitioning is what I find fascinating. At the point of my toast, I used the analogy of music. When we got engaged, it was at a concert. During our marriage, and to this day, we have date nights. 

We’d often attended the famous Bakers’ Keyboard Lounge in Detroit. And upon adopting our daughter, Faith, the music continued when she’d take her little fingers and intertwine them through ours, making us bob our knees to a musical tune.

In closing, I lifted my glass to the crowd, and said, “Now you all are a part of the fabric of our story. Even during these tumultuous times, music is still at the helm of our lives.” I turned to hubby, and somehow managed to sidestep my usual ugly cry, and said, “Honey, I’m so happy to spend my life with you. I know we will continue to make beautiful music together!”

Thirteen days later, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Oh. I did mention this was about a celebration. Indeed, it is, phasing out from this life to the next, leaving the very best part of yourself behind is cause for a celebration, and the onset of a different kind of anniversary!


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Thursday, August 27, 2020



Recently, and for the first time, our dog Apollo experienced one of Atlanta’s severe storms. It was heartbreaking watching him whimper as he sat by the kitchen door, away from the rumbling thunder and the violent flashes of lightning.

My daughter Faith and I knew to take cover at this point. Apollo gladly followed suit, planting himself between us and placing a paw on my thigh as we huddled on the floor in our designated spot. I could feel his little body trembling just the same.

But not long ago, I too had been in Apollo’s position with a more severe storm, windows vibrated, winds whistled, heavy rain down poured at a slant, all the while the weather alert on the television delivered a minute-by-minute countdown! Anyone who has studied film or creative writing knows this tactic for heightened excitement and fear. I was living it.

My daughter, nestled close to me on the floor in our protective corner and said to me, “Mom, I’m scared.” Little did she know I had tears welled up in my eyes, and I was thinking, me too! But I had to be brave for both of us. As our storms go, we lost power. I’m a pro now, though. I walk through the darkness to where I keep all the candles for situations like this, and I light them, freeing a way for us to see clearer. The same analogy has been true for my characters in each of my books.



Karen Williams’s storm is a mound of secrecy from her deceased mother and her sister. There’s so much resentment she has built up over the years. For years, this poor behavior plays itself until she decides to try a different path. But when the hidden truth unfolds, it sends her spiraling. But can she see her way clear to the light?



Brenda Fairbanks grew up disbelieving people and their true motives. It is no surprise she now exhibits the same behavior in her marriage. When she thinks the worst and decides enough is enough, will she make her way through the darkness to get at the truth and forgive?


To to Amazon to find out how these characters maneuver through the darkness in hopes of getting to the light.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Her Own Words

Imagine my delight when readers started to ask, “How’d you get the idea for your story?” The question comes up often enough to where I am now giddy to share the origins of my first book Moment of Certainty with you all!

 Moment of Certainty came to me when I sat in the doctor’s office. Earlier in the day, a light temporarily blinded me in one eye.  While waiting to be seen, a nurse tended to an elderly woman in a wheelchair.  (I could still see with my good eye!)The nurse bent down, gently touching the woman’s shoulder as she spoke. The elderly woman smiled.

The gesture intrigued me with possibilities delving into their relationship. I wondered about each of their personal lives. Where’d they come from? What brought them to this point in time?  For me, the story never comes to fruition until the characters’ have burrowed under my skin.

Hence, the feisty, petite, Karen (Keekee) was born.  Her physical appearance formed in my head when I watched a dance show, and a petite dynamo with blown-out hair took control of the stage. In my protagonist’s own words, here’s her first-ever interview:

INTERVIEWER: So, how’d you come about?
KAREN: I guess ‘cause I’m flyy.

INTERVIEWER: I understand you weren’t necessarily liked in the beginning.
KAREN: Well, dang, you ain’t liked either asking me questions like that.

INTERVIEWER:  I didn’t mean to offend you. What I’m saying is you had a very compelling arc, one that eventually won over readers to where they cheered you on.
KAREN: Who told you that?

INTERVIEWER: It’s on Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, and other sights. Readers said so in their own words.
KAREN: I suppose. I was told I have layers, you know, like an onion, based on how Mama raised me, and how Val treated me.

INTERVIEWER: Since you brought her up, tell me more about Val.
KAREN:  Why’d you ask me like that? Like Val’s special or something? Well, Val is special, but she’s special to me, you know what I mean? At this point, people will have to judge for themselves about Val. I know how I feel but, well. It’s complicated.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about Hershel, the neighborhood friend. Ah, the question made you blush. Why?
KAREN: ‘Cause. What can I say about Hershel? The dude is tops in my book. We connect more than anybody. When other people wanted to change me or be somebody I ain’t, Hershel accepted me, never judged me.

INTERVIEWER: What about Ms. Blout. After all, you were assigned to her. Did she stand-out over your other patients?
KAREN: Oh, my God. Ms. Blout. You know I used to call her Satan’s Grandma. But, Ms. Blout, she knew a lot of people before she got, you know, sick.

INTERVIEWER: It seems there’s something deeper going on. Yes? You’re shrugging your shoulders.
KAREN: I just think you gonna think of Ms. Blout as a rose, either the soft smell-good part or the thorny part.

INTERVIEWER: Judging from your story, you’d gone through so much, you and Val, and it’s quite a remarkable story, one in which you allow readers a front-row seat.
KAREN: I don’t know. But, I try not to let just anybody hang with me, get to know me.

INTERVIEWER: This story, I understand, is inspirational, one with a twist at the end. Did you suspect the ending?
KAREN: Nope. I was like a dope-on-a-rope.

INTERVIEWER: Will we see more of you? Will there be another book? Many readers have stated they’d love a sequel.
KAREN: Don’t know, but I got plenty more to say and do, so I can handle my part. You gotta talk to the lady who wrote the book, not me.

To learn more about Karen’s story, along with Val, Hershel, Ms. Blout, and more, go to my website:

Friday, May 8, 2020


At ten, I didn’t realize my fierce letter-writing efforts with my pen-pal would contribute to my path to becoming a novelist.  Back then, Eisenhower graced an eight-cent stamp, and all I cared about was spraying the right scent on the floral pages I labored over.

The letters spanned close to thirteen years of correspondence. We wrote about the boys we liked, and the ones who broke our hearts. We gossiped about the goings-on of singers and groups like the Silvers and the Jackson 5, contemplating who we thought was the cutest.

As I grew into a young woman, the letters became infrequent, while my life’s journey took center stage.  I’d found it difficult to focus on the type of writing I wanted to achieve, mostly dabbling in poetry and article writing while still maintaining a journal.

By the time the letters stopped, I attended college and pursued writing. My first published article appeared in Essence magazine. But, did those pen-pal letters help? What did it all mean for my writing future?

Today, I am a published writer, happily writing novels. I love the labor of shaping a story into something my characters tread through.  One day, though, I plan to write a book about my pen-pal and the letters we so eagerly wrote ending them with a phrase that went something like this:

P.S. Hugs, kisses, baby doll dreams. Stay cool, keep the faith, will write again soon.

Check out my books! Go to:

Sunday, March 29, 2020


Like most, my hubby and I didn’t foresee the pandemic that bulldozed its way into our lives and across the world.

Suddenly, our walks through the park became more relevant and checking one another’s health each day, now the norm.

The moment I find myself sinking, I refill my cup by meditating and gravitating to my writing. I continue to read books and watch old movies, in addition to goofing off with my family.

Even neighborhood walks remind me that we are all in this together. Yet, we’ve always been in this together. The human race. Life.  

These days, neighbors wave and speak more while delivering a knowing nod. I smile back and perform a hop-skip walk over yet another large area of sidewalk chalk artwork.

We will all get through this. I’ve seen it over and over amid the toughest of times; we have it within us to rise to the occasion of being kindhearted and connected. Now that I think of it, this is cause to celebrate!

Feel free to check out my books, Moment of Certainty / Never Too Late on, or my website:

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


In addition to writing books, author Russell is an entomologist and a soil biologist. She jokes, stating, “Which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs.” She admits that nature and books have, for some time, been a passion of hers.

“I was a kid when I read The Lord of the Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels.”

She adds, “When I discovered cozy mystery and crime novels, I fell in love with Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.”

I had a chance to delve into The pact of the White Blade Knights for myself.   What a satisfying read! Author Russell has a way of drawing you into the story with characters Tyon, Hazel, and Aleximanus’ at the center, a web of good and evil that keeps you guessing at every turn. The author uses beautifully constructed metaphors that practically dance as she unfolds the layers of each character.

From the start, you understand Hazel’s desire for Tyon, and the complexities he presents with allowing her to get close to him. With awesome description, the reader becomes enchanted almost with how eloquently the story flows through the plot.

Hazel, now working for Tyon, is drawn into unforeseen danger. Aleximanus, who breathes sins, is the arch enemy of Tyon. As the story unfolds, it is Hazel who denies herself the truth. But will she discover it fully? Will she find love after all? I highly recommend this book, and other books by author Russell!

I had the pleasure of interviewing this author. I must say her wit and charm are delightful! Here’s what she had to say:

Given the fact you began writing as a young girl, what influenced you more regarding your endeavors, a parent, friend, or fantasy stories?

After reading The Lord of the Rings, I wanted to be like Tolkien (so silly of me, LOL. There’s only one Tolkien.) Still, I can remember the awe while I was reading and the feeling of wanting to do the same, to be able to picture a scene only with words.

I wrote my first novel when I was 10. Well, for me it was a full novel, haha, but the word count was merely 800 words. Anyway, it was the story of a space bear that lived on a planet populated by bears. Each bear had the coat of just one color, while the protagonist had a multi-colored coat, and everyone gave him sideways glances for that. He started a quest to find someone who could dye his coat and turn it completely brown. He traveled up and down the galaxy and found nothing.

At the end, he said, “Screw it,” and he kept is multi-colored coat. Now, before you think that the story has a moral, that it’s about accepting yourself, etc… let me tell you this: it doesn’t. I just got tired of writing and ended the story there, LOL.

Are you encouraged or disappointed by aspects of the writing business for indie authors?

Both. I like the freedom of choosing all the details about the story, the cover, and the type of writing style I want. I have some books traditionally published and while I love my editor, sometimes I have to change my style to adapt it to the publisher’s house style, and I feel like my voice is different.

But, promoting a book is expensive, time consuming, and not rewarding at all. I’m not good at it, LOL.

What are the biggest pitfalls you see new authors slipping into?

Ha! Not knowing how to promote their books (like me). You can’t be just a writer, you have to be a publicist, a marketing expert, a statistical analysis expert… it’s a bit too much.

What inspired your book, The Pact of the White Blade Knights?

I did a lot of research on the Victorian Era for The Heart Collector and Clockwork Victoria (Coming soon) and I loved it. I also collected a lot of material so I wanted to write something else set in that historical period. Also, I’m a bit lazy, LOL. After all the effort that research took, I thought to use it as much as possible before starting research on something else.

Want to keep in touch with this author? Check out the following links:

Monday, January 6, 2020


Most people attempt some sort of a New Year’s resolution with good intentions, only to have their goals fizzle faster than Alka Seltzer Plus tablets! Yet, how do we stick to our plans for tackling new home improvement projects or bettering ourselves in the area of education or shedding a few pounds? Let’s face it: Sometimes life can get in the way, forcing us sideways when we want to go straight.

Early on, I used to jot down a long to-do list, changes I wanted to make, and hardly checking off any by the end of the year. It felt overwhelming and I simply gave up. Over the years, I’ve mastered the process. Here are my suggestions.

1)      Small lists work wonders. I limit my objectives to two or three, which allows me to remain focused. I don’t feel overwhelmed with seemingly impossible tasks that I may not complete.
2)      I am reasonable with my goals. I don’t tell myself I’ll run a marathon when I don’t enjoy walking more than two miles. (I barely will complete one!)
3)      Often, I incorporate my goal/s with my daily meditation so that I am reinforcing my plans regularly. They are always at the forefront. Because of this, I tackle some aspect of my ambitions, drawing me closer to my desired result.
4)      Depending on the resolution, I may use a vision board. For right-brainers, this works wonders because you see your plans before you with pictures, objects, and cut-out lettering.

Finally, I leave you with this sentiment as you trek through the New Year: Honor your gifts. Set realistic goals. Do the work. Don’t give up. Sidestep negative energy. Respect your dreams. Have integrity. Embrace individuals from diverse backgrounds. Cling to your faith. Meditate. Focus on helping others. Learn to relax more. Laugh. Be the light when you enter a room. Celebrate your uniqueness. Keep your word.